In Others' WordsIn Others' Words

Thursday, June 16, 2011

In My Words: You Know You're a Writer if . . .

You know you're a writer if a mandatory appointment with a magnetic resonance imagine (MRI) machine becomes an opportunity to play the writer's "what if?" game.

After my first bout with vertigo back in January, I determined that the hero in my current work-in-progress (WIP) would also experience vertigo. Why waste my experience? I know how vertigo feels (akin to Dorothy's house-tumbling trip to the Land of Oz). I've even talked about a possible spiritual truth my hero can glean from his time off-kilter, thanks to a conversation with author Susan May Warren.

Vertigo decided to pay me another visit--uninvited, I assure you. This time, the dizziness has lasted three weeks and counting. An Ear, Nose and Throat (ENT) doc recommended an MRI to rule out certain reasons for vertigo, such as a tumor.

As the technician talked me through the procedure--Was I wearing anything metal?(No.) Did I want to listen to music? (Yes.)--I wondered if I could insert this experience into my WIP.

What if Seth had vertigo so badly he needed an MRI? Would he be claustrophobic and need to be sedated? (I didn't, but there were a few seconds there when the idea of sedation appealed to me.) Would he want someone to come along with him--or would he tough it out alone? What if he tried to tough it out and then found he couldn't, and needed to call someone to drive him home. Who would he call?

I tried to pay attention to the sounds--and there are some loud sounds during an MRI, believe me. At times it sounded like someone was standing outside the machine and banging on it with a sledge hammer. And then one time the noise sounded oddly like church bells. I dubbed that scan the "Quasimodo" MRI, in honor of The Hunchback of Notre Dame. 

Enough about my MRI. That's not what this post is about.

It amazed me how being a writer didn't stop just because someone told me to remove my jewelry and shoes and get comfortable on an oversized piece of medical equipment. You can play the "what if?" game anytime, anywhere. Why waste your life experiences? Plug 'em into whatever story you're working on. Of course, I realize if you're working on a novel set in the 1800s, an MRI isn't going to fit in your plot.

In Your Words: Have you ever played "what if?" with a real life experience and used it in your WIP? I'd love to hear about it!

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At 7:34 AM, Blogger Lisa Jordan said...

I, for one, would need to be heavily sedated since I am claustrophobic. Love this layer for Seth.

I had to take my son to scout camp several years ago. Hubby knew the way by heart, but I needed MapQuest. I must have clicked on shortest route instead of shortest distance and ended up bouncing down a one-lane logging road behind the back of the camp. Lovely adventure, I tell you. That experience ended up in Queen of the Shrinking Violets.

At 8:14 AM, Blogger Pat Trainum aka P. T. Bradley said...

Great post, Beth! Only a writer would take an MRI experience and figure out how to use it! I'm using Mazie, the rescued cat, in Book 3 to give someone who made a really bad mistake sympathy.

At 9:39 AM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Great experiences--and it's nice to know I'm not the only one concocting fictional events from real life. (I'd kinda suspected that ....)

At 11:50 AM, Blogger Jeanne T said...

I love it. Beth, you are SUCH a writer. :) I love the ideas and the "What if's" you got out of your experience. It will add dimension to Seth. Now, if only I didn't have to be under anesthesia for my "experience," I could What If too. :) Praying for you.

At 12:26 PM, Anonymous Amy Sorrells said...

Totally! I put at least 4 daily life events that were sorta strange (but really happened while I was writing it) into my novel. And I think it's better for them. Love this post!

At 1:25 PM, Blogger Beth K. Vogt said...

Jeanne--write about going under anesthesia ... you may need that sometime
And, Amy, I'd love to hear those "sorta strange" life events sometime!

At 4:10 AM, Anonymous Tonya said...

Love it!!! Thanks for sharing.


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