Monday, June 7, 2010

Got a Medical Question?

True confession: I HATE research. Did you ever wish you knew a lawyer or an accountant or a doctor so you could ask them all your questions pertaining to their area of expertise? I wish that all the time, which is why I was so excited recently to find fellow blogger Lydia Kang at The Word is My Oyster.

I'm in awe of Lydia. She's a wife, mother, writer, blogger, and part-time doctor. Wow - and I thought I was busy! Not only that, but Lydia runs a cool feature on her blog called Medical Mondays. You can email her a medical question (for writing purposes only), and she'll find the answer to your question. How cool is that?

I'm in the very early planning stages of a new novel that involves a blood donation. Before I could go much further with the plotting, I needed to know if there is a certain blood type/quality that would make finding a donor difficult, and if it's possible to do a blood transfer on site, from one student to another. I emailed Lydia and she emailed me with the answers within a couple of days. I'm not going to tell you what she said - you'll just have to go over to her blog and check it out, because she used my question as her Medical Monday question today! I hope you'll hop over and meet Lydia (click here) if you haven't already - you'll be so glad you did!

How about you? Do you enjoy research or is it a necessary evil? Do you have any research resources you can share?

39 comments:

Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lindsay (a.k.a Isabella) said...

Oops, sorry for the above. Not having a good day with my comments getting posted. Arghhh.

I saw your question on Lydia's blog. Lydia is awesome. I asked her a medical Q for my MS and she gave me some fantastic help.

As for research I don't mind doing it, but if I can avoid it then I will. lol.

Sharon K. Mayhew said...

I love Lydia's blog! She is brilliant. Susan, you know me well enough to know I love love love research!

Southpaw said...

I love Lydia's blog too! She is so kind to be so helpful. Now we need to find a lawyer and a technician and a...

Piedmont Writer said...

I saw that this morning. That's awesome. I asked her a question too. I don't know if she can answer it for me or not. I asked another doctor on another blog but they didn't know what I was talking about.

Sandy Shin said...

I love Lydia's blog, and am seriously in awe of her, also. I kinda want to be her when I grow up. :)

Research is definitely fun, depending on the subject. It becomes evil, however, when I use it as a mean of procrastination.

Lynn said...

Lydia does have sweet blog! I like research too. I also like writing essays that require research, and even don't mind writing the research paper.

Old Kitty said...

Oh wow!! there you go Susan Fields! Your donor and recipient have to be type O's to make life difficult!!

Amazing!!! Thanks for the link to this fab blog - it's very kind of Lydia to be doing this so if I ever have a medical conundrum - I'll be sure to seek her out - thank you!

Research is definitely a necessary evil - and I will say, the first port of call is your LOCAL LIBRARY!!! :-)

take care
x

Joanne said...

I read Lydia's post earlier and learned so much. I enjoy research, and see it as a tool to really add layers to a story and its characters, depending on the type of research involved.

Faith E. Hough said...

Thanks for this!
Personally, I adore research...yeah, I'm weird that way. My favorite resource is the Library of Congress--they are seriously amazing. I emailed them with a question I had regarding super-obscure info about revolutionary war espionage and they emailed me the day later with links, attachments, and book recommendations!

Jemi Fraser said...

I do like research when I have the time. When I don't I want to pull out my hair. Thank the mighty writing gods & goddesses for people like Lydia! :)

Lola Sharp said...

I HATE research...but LOVE Lydia's blog!

Happy Monday :)

Jojomama said...

I'm a geek, I like research. (=

Aubrie said...

I follow Lydia's blog as well and I love reading her medical answers to things. I only like research if it's fun stuff like names, kinds of flowers, but not like science or medical stuff!

Tess said...

I actually enjoy doing some research .. it depends on the topic. I find it a nice distraction from actual work ;)

Kelly said...

How very generous of her!! That is awesome!
I go to concerts to research the music theme in my book. Yeah, that's it! :)
Research like listening to the age range you are writing for talk is fun, but research finding facts I don't love.

Lydia Kang said...

Hey Susan! I came over to say hi and I'm like blushing furiously at all the sweet comments!
I'm glad to be of help to my writing community and if you have any follow-up questions, don't hesitate to email!

Nicole Murray said...

Honestly I love research. It brings more meat to the bones of what I am writing and can help expand and change for the better a new direction in the story or character.

I liken placing story, story research and all the others bits of creativity together as basket weaving or quilt making. All getting woven or sewn together a bit at a time until there is something tangible to hold in your hands and offer to others.

And Lydia is wonderful for offering her expertise. I know I may have a few questions for her in the future.

I worked in the Mental Health field for over a decade, much of that time in direct care. This has given me a lot of my own material and a good understanding of people behavior. And some of my writing friends like to use me for the 'does this characters actions make sense' stuff. So feel free!

Susan Fields said...

Lindsay - I wish I were more gung ho on the research. I still do it, but I don't like it. :)

Sharon - I know, I so envy your love of research! Maybe some of it will rub off on me (I hope!)

Holly - My thoughts exactly! Wouldn't that be nice? :)

Anne - I didn't know there were other doctors who did this on their blogs. I hope you find your answer!

Susan Fields said...

Sandy - Yes, Lydia is pretty amazing! I can't imagine even being a doctor, wife, and mother, let alone writer and blogger besides!

Lynn - You have a rare gift it you like writing research papers! My problem with research is that it seems like I'm never done, there's always one more place to look, and I'm always so anxious to get back to the writing! I really wish I enjoyed the research more.

Old Kitty - You're so right, the library is the place to start. I actually start with children's books, because I usually need more of an overview than the nitty gritty details, and adult non-fiction books seem so daunting to me. :(

Joanne - You're absolutely right, of course, research is a wonderful tool and can really make a difference in the writing. I know it needs to be done and I still do it, but I do wish I enjoyed it more!

Susan Fields said...

Faith - Thanks for the great information about the Library of Congress, I didn't know about that resource. Revolutionary War espionage? That sounds like a very interesting story!

Jemi - I agree, thanks for people like Lydia who give freely of their expertise! I'm so thankful to have found her.

Lola - Aha! Someone else who hates research! I was beginning to think I was the only one.

Jojomama - Based on the other comments, I'd say a lot of us writers are geeks (though, I'd say you all just have curious minds, a very important trait for a writer!)

Aubrie - You make a good point, there is some research I do enjoy. I could look up names for half the day until I finally have to tear myself away.

Susan Fields said...

Tess - I'm usually just so eager to get back into the writing that I don't like to take time out to research. I suppose I should plan my research breaks for times when I'm stuck on my wip. That might get me kick-started on the writing again, too.

Kelly - Of course you can count your concerts as research! I do feel inspired to write after listening to certain songs, so I'm sure those concerts are perfectly valid research missions. :)

Lydia - Thank you! That is so sweet of you to offer. :) I am so thankful for the help you've already given me. It was exactly what I needed to know, and your answer was very thorough!

Nicole - Thank you for the offer as well! I really appreciate that! And I like your analogy about the basket or quilt getting woven together. That makes a lot of sense!

Carolina Valdez Miller said...

So so cool! always good to have a good medical resource. I've got some doctor/nurse friends that help me out a lot, and my mom used to work as a director in a hospital, so she's helped me tremendously as well. There used to be a website that featured medical advice just for writers of fiction but it was taken down. I hope they replace it with a new one.

Susan Fields said...

Carolina - You're so lucky to have so many medical resources, and that website sounds great! I agree, I hope they replace it with a new one. Anything that makes research less painful makes me happy. :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

That was a great medical question. I saw the post yesterday. I love Lydia's weekly post.

Genie of the Shell said...

Ooh, what a great resource! Thanks for sharing it. It is SO much easier to ask an expert than try to track down an answer without messing up any of the details.

Research is a pain and takes a lot of time, but I often find that I learn such cool things that I get ideas to enrich what I've written or even take my story in a slightly different direction. Sometimes the answer to my question is "too perfect" for my story--and sometimes not, but it's necessary to know!

Bossy Betty said...

Thanks for the blog suggestion! I love research--it's a great way to procrastinate!

Talli Roland said...

Lydia's great, isn't she?

I LOVE research! The only problem is I get too distracted and end up spending hours when I only meant to look up a little fact.

Terri Tiffany said...

Wow! That is so nice of her to do that:)) I plan to pop over and read some of her blog.
I hate research--I admit. But I know some of it needs doing for every story.

MT said...

That's a gem of a find you've got there. Thanks for sharing. :) I'm going to visit her blog right now.

Susan Fields said...

Stina - I enjoy Lydia's Medical Mondays, too - they're always so educational, but also explained simply enough that I can understand.

Genie - I know there are many benefits to research, and there have been times it has taken my story in a new directin, but I still can't bring myself to like it! Maybe it will grow on me one of these days. :)

Betty - I'm surprised to find how many people really do like to research! I guess I'm in the minority. :(

Susan Fields said...

Talli - But think of all you're learning as you're exploring all the good information out there. My problem is I'm too antsy to get back to my story - I don't like the interruption, even though I know it's got to be done and will make my story much better.

Terri - Oh, good, I'm not the only writer out here who doesn't like research! It is really nice of Lydia to do this for us, I was so excited when I saw her Medical Mondays feature on her blog.

Michelle - I hope you enjoy your visit to Lydia's blog, even without the Medical Mondays, she's got a great blog and I always enjoy my visits.

Jackee said...

How cool that she used your question! I'm in awe of Lydia too. I wish I had as much energy in my whole body as she does in her pinky.

But I'm in awe of you too! Look at you go and start another novel and then look at that follower list! Go, Susan, go! You're on fire. :o)

Susan Fields said...

Jackee - I wish! If only I could find an agent and a publisher, then maybe I'd be on fire. I do wonder if Lydia sleeps - I don't know how there are enough hours in the day to do all she does. :)

Lola Sharp said...

I'm a slow reviser too. You know the saying--write fast, edit slow--so it's all good.

Lydia's my hero too. I wish I knew how she did it all.

Congrats on your well deserved award. :)

Love,
Lola

Hema P. said...

I adore research, that's probably why I began writing fiction with a historical :). So far, I have been relying on books and internet sites for my research.

Ooh, your new novel idea sounds so intriguing, Susan!

notesfromnadir said...

Susan,
Glad you gave a shout out to Lydia as she has an awesome medical blog & she knows how to give us non-medical people helpful information that we can understand!

I love research, whether online or offline. I love wading through books and magazines looking for answers to questions. I love finding out more information about people and places and time periods. It's a great way to keep on learning. Research allows you to understand your characters even better. And sometimes find new characters.

Susan Fields said...

Lola - I suspect Lydia's found out how to function on zero sleep - I wonder if she'll share her secret?

Hema - I hope the new novel is intriguing, it hasn't quite revealed itself to me yet. I've still got all the obvious plot lines going through my head, but I'm holding out for the more original ones. :) If I liked research, I'd write historical fiction, too. To me, historical fiction seems scary because there's so much I could get wrong trying to write in a whole different time period - totally fascinating, though!

Lisa - I know research is totally necessary for great writing, I'm just working on the enjoying it part. :)

Mohamed Mughal said...

Actually, I enjoy research so much that it's a problem; if my "findings" are intriguing, the thrill of learning something new distracts me from the writing itself.