Hi all, firstly, I want to say welcome to all of the new ladies and gents the followed the blog. Thanks very much and I hope you all enjoy the view into my life as a writer.
In the mean time, let me introduce you to our second brave soul: SM Schmidt.
She's also one of my newer followers, but her blog, The Non Sequitur Ramblings, has been around since 2009.
In the short time that I have followed her blog, I have come to love her weekly posts. So I hope you all go check it out.
Then, just a quick reminder to book your Fridays if you want to guest post. The list of open Fridays and my e-mail address is to your right. ;-)
OK... enough about me. Here's SM Schmidt.
Pitfalls of Plotter Research
Pretend you’re a plotter. Armed with a beautiful outline you’ll begin researching every last detail. We aren’t our characters and getting the details wrong are what make people throw books at walls. Or maybe that’s just me. Back to our scenario: research found the perfect injury for the scene where you vaguely put “Protag gets cast.” An exotic sounding Hamate Fracture is not the vanilla sprained wrist lesser authors would use. But here is where all that research can bog down the writing. Don’t see it yet? Let’s run with the Hamate Fracture some more.
The main character can’t insist on a CT scan the moment they are treated in the ER. That’s peeking too much behind the curtain where Author knows traditional x-rays miss this exotic injury. The triage resident can’t have an Ah Ha moment because it’s exotic injury. Specialists are required to diagnose it. We’re stuck following the system. Triage Resident will misdiagnose (as 80% of doctors do in this case) and our protagonist is stalled in this cycle of hospital, treatment, continued pain, repeat. So much for our plot located outside of a hospital.
Details and Facts are biting the hand that found them! That vanilla broken wrist is looking rather tempting now. So does Author go for the easy out because the whole point of this injury was getting our protagonist in a cast, not explore the medical underworld. Or bend real life (which are guidelines in fiction) and let our character get off easy? Only doctors would scoff at this bending. Doctors don’t have time to read! Problem solved!
No. Editor will smack your wrists with a ruler. Use what research dumped in Author’s lap to build a stronger bond between two of the characters. The downside? I know I’d have to keep a sharper eye on myself to avoid letting things go too conveniently. So how do we fix this scenario so it doesn’t read off a shampoo bottle? Maybe the protagonist exercises their right to a second opinion (which isn’t that common in real life). I sent protag to a hand specialist, who corrects the misdiagnosis, and my plot moves forward doctor free. At least for two months. That cast had to come off sometime.
Thanks again, SM! I really enjoyed this view of a plotter's life.