Any type of writing can be exhilarating but intimidating. Stories need to be engaging, understandable, realistic, and believable. Believable. That’s an important element. You never know who is going to pick up your book and tear it apart because you claimed that Egypt is part of Asia, or that skin isn’t an organ in the body. The point is, if you’re going to write a believable story, especially a medical suspense book, you need to do your research and learn about the medical element you’ll be writing about.
The first step to writing your medical suspense novel is knowing the medical equipment. Granted, you could take the stance as simply being unfamiliar with the particular procedure or illness you’re writing about, but such an approach will often lose your readers’ attention. Instead, take time to understand the instruments used in specific procedures. Learn the names of those instruments, know how they work, how difficult they are to use, how expensive and important they are, and more. This approach will help your readers believe you and believe your story.
Basic Human Anatomy
Next, take time to learn basic human anatomy. A medical suspense book will undoubtedly include at least some basic anatomy. To captivate your readers through your description of the human body, you must personally have a basic grasp on how specific parts of the body function. You also must understand the implications of something going wrong in a certain part of the body. One thing that might be good to know is that your liver is the second largest organ overall, with the skin coming in as the first largest. It is the body’s detox center. Facts like these will help you create a more credible story.
Lastly, consider spending time in a hospital before and during your process of novel writing. Visiting hospitals will help you understand how doctors act, what nurses do, how patients feel, and more. You’ll have opportunities to feel the stress and intensity of the environment and the fear and heartache that is likely occurring in the lives of the patients and their families. By immersing yourself in the hospital experience, you’ll be better able to capture the real emotions of a suspenseful medical emergency.
Writing, as mentioned previously, is exciting and intimidating. But doing so as a well-informed author helps build your credibility and helps create a better setting for your story. When writing about medical suspense, it’s even more important to make sure you understand the basics of hospitals and human anatomy.
Read this next: Becoming a Young Author by Raeann Gillberg
Writers interested in this topic might consider my upcoming seminar on medical and psychological tips for writers, October 30 @ 10:00 am EDT – 12:30 pm EDT online at The Muse Writers Center. https://the-muse.org/event/real-med-true-psych/. Based on my experience as a physician and author.
We will discuss common medical mistakes that writers make, and how to craft realistic medical scenes that serve the author’s plot and character objectives. We will also explore psychological conditions and interactions relevant to character and plot development. Think Dan Gallagher meets Alex Forrest in “Fatal Attraction.”
The Muse offers a wide variety of high-quality seminars, workshops, and studios for writers of all levels and genres. All online and world-wide available.