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  1. #1
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    My Rough Start to a book I want to write:

    I'm going to copy and paste the small amount of writing I have done for the book I want to write, being for some reason it won't let me upload the file. It's about a woman who just found out she has Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. I want to get this right, so my question is how much research do I need to do? When is enough enough? I have pages filled with information about the disease so I can get everything right. Input is appreciated and thanks in advance!

    She had cancer. Bleeping cancer. She was thirty two years old. Things like this just did not happen to people like her. She was married. She had children for God’s sake.

    These were all of the things that went through her head as she sat in the chair in her oncologist’s office as she had received the news just minutes before. Acute lymphoblastic leukemia. She’d never even heard of it, never known anyone with it.
    “Mrs. James?” her oncologist started. “I know this is a shock to you, but please know we have some of the best experts in our field committed to working with you and getting a treatment plan underway.”
    “Thank you, Doctor Garcia” was all she could manage.
    “The bad news is that this is one of the more aggressive types of leukemia, but the good news is because we caught it so early, we still have a chance of beating it. I would like to start with chemotherapy as soon as possible.” The doctor told her.
    All Olivia could do at this point was stare. “Mrs. James?”
    “Sorry doctor. This just has me blind sighted.” She responded trying to hold in her tears. “Would a couple of weeks be soon enough?”
    “Unfortunately, we need to begin treatment sooner as this is, like I said before, a more aggressive type of leukemia. I’m going to need to admit you into the hospital so we can get things going.”
    Olivia felt her world as she knew it begin to crumble around her.
    “But my kids, they’re due home in an hour from school.” She told the doctor frantically.
    “Is there anyone you can call?” Dr. Garcia asked her.
    “I will call my mother and see if she can go to the house and pick them up.” She said, resigning.
    “I would also recommend calling your husband.” The doctor told her. “It’s good to have someone with you during all this.”
    “Thank you Doctor. I will make the calls. “
    “All right, and I’ll send in a nurse in a few minutes with some paperwork for you to fill out so we can get you admitted and transferred to a different room.” Dr. Garcia said walking to the door.
    “Thank you again, Doctor.” Olivia said and the doctor was gone.



  2. #2
    Senior Member Gilfindel's Avatar
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    Just a quick glance, but you're going to need to work on your punctuation. You seem to be mixing up your periods and commas in your dialog. For example, [“I will call my mother and see if she can go to the house and pick them up.” She said, resigning.] should be [“I'll call my mother and see if she can pick them up,” she said resignedly.]

    "Blind sighted" should be "blindsided".

    Read your dialog out loud to yourself and make sure it sounds natural. Most people speak in contractions ("I'll" instead of "I will"), except in formal situations, which this isn't.

    I'd leave off the sentence starting "These were all the things...". We already know these went through her mind, you told us that in the previous sentences, and it's obvious that she was just told from her reaction. In general, show us what happens, don't tell us.

  3. #3
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    Thanks so much for the input! I'll definitely do some editing! Really appreciate the advice

  4. #4
    Rogue Mutt
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    Your character must be extremely naive to think cancer never affects people with children. The better way to say that is that she knew it happened to other people but never thought it would happen to her. After all, she was always healthy as a horse, never sick even when she was a little girl. When her husband and kids came down with the flu last year she remained unaffected. So how could this happen to her?

    She sounds less like a moron that way.

  5. #5
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rogue Mutt View Post
    Your character must be extremely naive to think cancer never affects people with children. The better way to say that is that she knew it happened to other people but never thought it would happen to her. After all, she was always healthy as a horse, never sick even when she was a little girl. When her husband and kids came down with the flu last year she remained unaffected. So how could this happen to her?

    She sounds less like a moron that way.
    I'm not really sure where you're getting that she was thinking that, or did I just read that whole bit wrong?

    I do think that some more background to her medical history would add some effect.

  6. #6
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    Thanks you guys! I will fix that! I never would have thought about that before someone mentioned it, but you're right, if I'd included at least some semblance of medical history and re write that part, I do think it would sound better. Thanks again for the input!

  7. #7
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    how does this sound?

    She had cancer. Freaking Cancer. Olivia James was thirty two years old. Things like this just did not happen to people like her. She was barely ever sick, was rarely ever sick as a child. Last year when the kids caught that nasty stomach bug last winter, it had skipped right over her. Why was this happening?

  8. #8
    Senior Member John Oberon's Avatar
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    Cancer. Freaking Cancer. It did not happen to people like thirty two year old Olivia James. She was rarely sick, even as a child. That nasty stomach bug last winter nailed both kids, but skipped her. Why was this happening?

    30% word reduction, yet says the same thing. Your writing needs a diet.

  9. #9
    Administrator Wickett's Avatar
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    I think between the addition of the detail she gave, and the edit John made, that sounds much better now.

  10. #10
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    Hi,
    Do you think you could find a doctor who has knowledge regarding the disease that could help you shape up exactly what their patients go through and what the disease is really about from a more humane perspective, given online articles regarding medical information are usually a collection of mere scientific fact. I think that would generally help you get a better grasp of what you are working with.

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