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Monday, January 28, 2013

What’s your medical know-how and do you know how? by Bonnie R. Paulson

Well, HELLO! And thank you so much for having me!

Let’s get started by taking a fast quiz. (Do you hate me?)

  1. A humerus is:
    1. An arm bone.
    2. A leg bone.
    3. Something at a Greek restaurant.
    4. Something your boyfriend likes to bring home and gnaw on while he watches sports.
  2. Blood is made up of:
    1. Red cells, white cells, and plasma.
    2. Red cells, white cells, and water.
    3. Red food coloring and that sticky corn-starchy stuff.
    4. Something your boyfriend likes to sip on while he watches sports.
  3. Cranium refers to:
    1. The brain or head.
    2. The butt or tail.
    3. A game you can play with two or more people.
    4. Something your boyfriend likes to eat out of.
  4. DNA stands for:
    1. Deoxyribonucleic acid.
    2. Di-nucleic acetaminophen.
    3. Dude, nobody argue with me.
    4. Something your boyfriend has a serious mutation in.
  5. Bones are made of:
    1. Calcium predominantly.
    2. Chalk and rocks.
    3. Puppy dog tails.
    4. Something your boyfriend beats on the drums.
If you chose mostly As, you have a basic grasp of the medical information you might need for writing everyday characters. This could come in handy, especially if your characters break a bone or need a surgery.
If you chose mostly Bs, um, there’s no nice way to say this… I have a feeling you second guessed yourself. It’s common, but it’s the last thing you want to do when you’re a writer and trying to get in good with the readers. You never know how educated your reader is. You need to sound like you know what you’re doing.

If you chose mostly Cs… I have nothing for you. Seriously.

If you chose mostly Ds, holy crap! RUN! Because your boyfriend is most likely a zombie, a vampire, or a werewolf! Or a cannibal. Whichever one, you’re not safe and I suggest running like crazy! Go now! Unless of course he’s Predator and that’s just hot. (He’s my main crush).

The most important thing to remember when writing anything scientific or medical in your work, whether it be fiction or nonfiction or even journalistic in approach, you need to make sure you have your spelling accurate and the context correct.
Nothing is worse than reading a great love scene, you’re into the moment and enjoying the tension and chemistry of the characters when out of the blue, you see this line, “Perspiration glistened on his iris.” Uh. Right. Do you know what an iris is? Yeah, it’s the black part of the eye. If you’re perspiring on the iris, you better get to the doctor right away, ‘cause something isn’t right and you have no business doing it in a romance novel. I shuddered when I read this line in a real book. Shuddered and didn’t read any further.

Inaccuracies can cost you readers and might even kill your characters. I also read a book once where at the end of the romance – a love story between two doctors, one of which had cancer – on the last page, the hero says to the heroine, “I’m so glad the tumor was malignant.” And that was it.

ARE YOU SERIOUS? Malignant means death – or at the very least lots of treatment. I sat there and stared. Reread that line. Reread it again. I just went and looked up that book and reread it again! Seriously. That author just killed their character. At the end of a romance. No HEA there.

My point? Do a titch of research and you’ll do fine. Science can be rewarding and awesome to read, especially if the author sounds like she/he knows what they’re talking about.
BIO:  Bonnie R. Paulson mixes her science and medical background with reality and possibilities to make even myths seem likely and give every romance the genetic strength to survive. Bonnie has discovered a dark and twisty turn in her writing that she hopes you enjoy as much as she has enjoyed uncovering it. Dirt biking with her family in the Northwest keeps her sane.



Leti Del Mar said...

What a great post! When I'm not writing, I'm a Science teacher so it kills me when I see scientific inaccuracies. You give some great tips!

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Thanks Leti! What science do you teach? Can I just say you're my hero?

Asa Maria Bradley said...

Great post, Bonnie!

Love the tie-in with science. :-)