--er, my spellchecker isn't working, I hope I didn't make too many mistakes!
After writing for thirteen years, yesterday was the first day I felt like a real writer . . . and I didn't even have a chance to 'write'. Over the last thirteen years of writing, I've completed eight novels, one novella, numerous short stories, nine picture books and three easy reader type of books.
But I've always felt like a fraud.
Yesterday was different.
It started off at the swim meet when my friend Patty, a co-worker from my old hospital job and swim instructor, came to the kidlet's swim meet. We started talking and I asked if one of the 11-7 ER nurses was still working there. It turns out no, she doesn't, but we were chatting about why I needed to speak to a ER nurse.
Here's a little of the backstory of a scene I need to write for DRAGON. I've been thinking about this scene for over a YEAR! I knew what I needed to write, but I wasn't quite ready to write it. This is a very emotional scene on so many levels, with so many aspects happening at once, that I wanted to get it right. And getting it right involved research, and not stuff from the Internet, but actual conversations with people about this scene--police officers, firement, EMT, Life Flight medics and Trauma nurses. Without giving away my scene, this gives you an idea of what I was up against.
I'd been working this scene out in my mind and I had to find out if the logistics I thought out would work. Patty mentioned that another co-worker's daughter was now a trauma nurse.
What is really wow about this statement is that I remember this co-worker's kids when they were around 5 to 7 years old! Imagining that this young woman was an adult was mind boggling. Yes, I know I've gotten older, but we never think about other people's kids getting older, too!
So I contacted the mom--on Facebook with a short version of what I needed and two phone numbers where I could be reached.
The nurse called me on Sunday night. We chatted for about 15 minutes. I got some answers, but also left her with some questions she didn't know the answers to. She promised to get back to me when later this week after she goes to work on Thursday. She works nights--and so did I for years--so I understand how it all flip-flops.
Armed with the info she gave me, I thought about this scene on my walk yesterday. When I returned home, I tweeted that I needed to speak to a cop, fireman and a EMT. Then I remembered I went to high school with a guy who was a fireman--I IM'ed him through Facebook. He said to send him a list of questions.
Well, I discovered when talking to the trauma nurse that I do better actually conversing with someone about the situation because I'm constantly thinking about the scene, readjusting my thoughts and generating new questions about what might happen--and yes, jumping around to various scenarios. I've learned to warn people that my thoughts hop around like a bunny on crack.
And then I played stump the fireman for about 20 minutes. It was great fun! As I mentioned to each and every person I interviewed--this story is told through the eyes of a 12-year old girl. I need to get the logistics correct, but it doesn't have to be perfect. I want the scene to make sense on the surface--and I don't want to Hollywood it up with too many pyrotechnics, or too many injuries. And though my character will be injured and in shock, I want to get it right.
After hanging up with the fireman, I went back to Facebook and I saw another friend mention she was hanging with her hubs for the day--and I remembered that her hubs is an EMT! Bingo!
I IM'd her and she said to call and talk to her hubs.
WOW! See? This just keeps getting better and better!
I learned so much from this EMT. It turns out he now works as a flight medic, instead of just EMT. So I managed to get info about both situations. I learned some things I never really thought about--like they will be cutting my protagonists clothes off to assess her injuries. Talk about adding pubescent embarressment to the shock of the situation!
Then I had another friend mention that her business partner's son was a police officer. She called right as I was walking out the door to pick the kidlet up from school, but she gave me his phone number and said he was aware that I would be calling him.
And call him I did. He rounded out the picture of this scene, since police officers are usually the first responders to a situation. I now have the information I need to write this scene and I have four contacts I can use if I need them for additional information.
In less than 48 hours from chatting with my friend Patty, I was armed and ready to write!
. . . and then I realized I need to get my hair cut and colored today, and go to Weight Watchers and the grocery store, and the kidlet has dry land prior to swim.
As much as I want to write this scene, I can wait. Shoot, I've already waited to write it for over a year. I can wait another day . . . I think. . . but I do have small writing window after I pick the kidlet up from school to when I need to take her to dry land practice.
In the immortal words of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, "Make it so."
I think I will.