Sneak Peak Sunday: Chapter 2

I had so many sections to choose from to give you a sneak peak.  Chapter two is very dark.  But a man dying isn’t very bright and cheery? Or can it be?  Here is a one paragraph excerpt from Chapter Two of, “Be Still.”

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That night he stayed awake, a million thoughts buzzing through his overloaded head. Was there life after death? Would he see Shannon and Holly again? Would Travis care? Was he a good man, a good father? Did he have any unfinished business? Should he take that trip to Paris that Shannon used to dream of? Would he take any memories with him? How long did he have to live? As a surgeon for nearly three decades, Lou Gehrig’s wasn’t a disease he knew much about, and he found himself researching it at great length now. At the bleak end of the spectrum, he had months, according to the official ALS site. At the longer end of the spectrum, he had a few years … but which did he want? He tried to concentrate for an answer, but the more he tried to focus, the more wild, unruly thoughts seeped in. Would it be better to simply take the matter of his death into his own hands and die when he wanted, on his terms? The last thought took him back to the garish day of Shannon’s death. No, he couldn’t leave Travis that way. He shook off the thought and cursed himself for ever thinking it. No matter how hard he tried, there was no way to stay focused on only one issue.

 

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This is Jack shortly after he discovered he was dying from Lou Gehrig’s disease.  I’m not spoiling anything by telling you that, it’s on the dust cover, and the premise of the story.  So no inside information there.  What I wanted to do in this late night scene was allow the reader to get into the head of a man who was dying.  Does he only think of death? Does he think of life? This is pure speculation on my part as the writer, but it is where I take creative liberties, too.

This is also a paragraph where the original editor and I bumped heads.  It was felt that I did not have enough of his thoughts in the paragraph, to which I agreed, so I added a few more.  However, I did not want to go overboard because I felt it could have been too wordy.  Apparently we didn’t agree, and thanks to independent publishing, I was able to stand my ground and retain my creative authority.  Makes me wonder if I really ever want to go mainstream.

I was also asked why a surgeon would have to research ALS disease, and to rethink my stance on stating that he looked up the disease.  We really didn’t see eye to eye on much of the medical aspects presented in the story, which leads me to believe the editor never had a career in medicine.  I don’t care how much of a world renowned surgeon, top medical doctor, or well rounded nurse a person is, they do not know everything about everything…unless that is their specialty.  In Jack’s case, he is a plastic surgeon…not a neurologist or genetisist.  I would not expect a neurologist, obstetrician, gynecologist, or cardiologist to know everything about end stage renal disease, just like I don’t expect a plastic surgeon to know everything about Lou Gehrig’s disease.  With that, I again left that part in, because, in my opinion, it does make him more believable.  I hope I was right in that decision, but I stand by it and would be willing to defend it.  So happy reading.  Hope you enjoyed my very tiny Sneak Peak Sunday, and keep an eye out for, “Be Still,” this spring.

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2 responses to “Sneak Peak Sunday: Chapter 2

  1. Thanks for reminding us that doctors don’t know everything about everything–even in medicine. For a long time I put an unfair burden on my caring doctor, in that regard.

    I like that your character asks himself tough questions–excellent.

    • I tried to tell that to the editor, but sometimes there is a false sense of reality in aspects of things people do not know. It is not like E.R., Scrubs, Nurse Hawthorne, or Grey’s Anatomy. It’s more like Fear Factor! Patients do get very upset when we don’t have all the answers, or answers they don’t like, and we just can’t know everything about the body and why it reacts the way it is does. I mean, why can’t I eat spaghetti sauce, while my cousin can eat her weight in it without getting sick? Why did I get pancreatitis despite the fact that I have not one single risk factor for getting it? No doctor can answer that. Somethings will always be a mystery.
      And I really wanted to get into my character’s head. I wanted to express the questions that people have but don’t ask. I want my readers to be able to relate. Thanks for your kind review, Caddo.

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