Monday, September 28, 2009

Grammar Doctor

I had a fun writing experience last night. I pulled out the laptop and showed one of the scenes from my work in progress (WIP) to my doctor father-in-law.

The scene I showed him took place in a hospital, and I wanted to make sure what I'd written was realistic.

He read the first sentence of the scene. "Um. You do know you're not supposed to start a sentence with 'and' or 'but,' right?"

"Yeah," I said. "It's stylistic, but I do have to be careful I don't overuse it ... thanks."

He kept reading. "Now you want her to look really awful, right?"

"Right."

"Well, you wouldn't describe her bruise as bright purple. You'd use a word like 'deep' or something else. Bruises are never bright. They're dull."

"Okay."

He read the next sentence. "I don't know if I agree with this word choice...." He read the sentence aloud. "I don't know. I'd probably choose different wording there."

I chuckled to myself. "Okay." Apparently, I was getting a grammar and style lesson along with the medical expertise. Two-for-one deal!

The rest of the critique was mostly about medical details: if my character would actually be wearing an oxygen mask at this stage in her treatment; how badly she had actually broken her arm; details about amnesia. All in all, it was an incredibly enlightening session.

At the end, my father-in-law went upstairs to bed, and I worked on the edits he suggested. Including, by the way, the sentences that began with "and" or "but" and a complete reworking of the paragraph where he would have used different wording.

Later he told my mother-in-law, "Boy, I might have a new profession here. Professional medical expert for novelists."

I know I'd hire him!

1 comment:

  1. I would too! Perhaps you should be a medical novelist, with your professional medical expert. :)

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