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Help Writing a Surgery Scene

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Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:18 pm
ArahAkachi1 says...



OK, a major part of my novel is one of my characters is injured to bad for the others to heal (they have supernatural abilities but this injury is to great), and they have to take him to a nearby hospital for emergency surgery. But the my problem is, how could I write a good surgery scene for it. Any tips would be helpful.
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Thu Jan 26, 2012 7:29 pm
Napier says...



Watch a lot of hospital drama shows and don't be afraid of the gory ones!

Also, research a bit into Biology, namely the area in which the operation is taking place, to get a feel of how that part of the body works.

Also read into how other writers have tackled surgery scenes, even those that don't necessarily operate in the same way your characters do; you still have to think about atmosphere and setting.

Hope this helps!
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Fri Jan 27, 2012 7:43 pm
parigirle says...



Read other novels with similar scenes, look up the surgery you're writing about so you're comfortable with it, and don't overdo the terminology. I see a lot of people do that in their writing, trying to look professional, but all the medical jargon looks out of place unless the rest of the novel has a medical/scientific aspect to it as well.
Edit: Plus, throwing around medical terminology makes it all too easy to mix things up, and people who are familiar with medicine will be left shaking their head.

If you want help, you can PM me. I won't claim to be an expert or anything but I am going into pre-med and several of my novels have a medical theme, so I can help out a bit.
Last edited by parigirle on Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.




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Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:06 pm
Rosey Unicorn says...



I'd actually avoid medical shows. They can get their facts wrong a lot and you'd need to do a lot of cross-referencing.

What I'd do is try to find the most layman-like way of describing the anatomy you're researching. Put it in terms we'll understand, and do get the parts right. Else every med student/professional who reads it will headdesk at the accuracy.
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 9:02 am
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RachaelElg says...



Unless I'm reading incorrectly, none of your characters are surgeons and the injured character in question wouldn't be awake! So you might not have to go into details at all, just the horror that is emergency rooms and waiting to know if someone's going to be all right.
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 10:36 am
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Rydia says...



What Rachael said! I'd avoid the entire scene and concentrate on the other characters in the waiting room instead. Most none medical shows do it all the time as having a surgery scene in a genre that's none medical can feel really out of place. Waiting rooms are the way to go.
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Sat Jan 28, 2012 1:31 pm
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Balaczter says...



Sometimes the best way to get the tension of a scene is to actually not be in the scene at all! I've been studying a book in school in which one scene is about a dog being torn from its owner, taken outside the bunkhouse all the characters are in and shot for being old and stiff.
But the author didn't bring the point of view outside; rather, it stayed with the other characters who waited in a very awkward silence together before hearing the gun shot. To me, it was a lot more effective writing than just simply detailing what you know is going to happen. Arguably, you won't know how the surgery is going but that adds a deeper element of tension to the whole scene.

However, if you really want to stay in the surgery room, I'd reccomend doing some anatomy research and if you know any of your friends who have doctors as parents, perhaps ask them? Every doctor has to do rounds in surgery before they can graduate.
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Sun Jan 29, 2012 4:24 am
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AlfredSymon says...



I think Ms. Rosey is correct. Avoid medical shows. They usually get the science-stuff wrong. Reading a book about one or experiencing being in one is a better idea.

Also, if you may, you can just tell that part with the patient's perspective. It would be slow and dramatic, the pace of his blinking eyes. If you really want an action one. Try to detect the sounds within the room. As if the sounds were all troubling the doctors, adding to all the tension! Ooohhh! Even I am excited about it!


Hey, lemme review your novel after you finish it!

Looking forward to it,
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Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:01 pm
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Rosey Unicorn says...



I'm going to add something to my post and say Rachael is most likely right. Unless you're doing third person omniscient, or the surgery is being done without anesthetic (do not want to think about) then the friends will be kept out (need a sterile environment) and the patient won't know wth is going on until they wake up.

From personal experience (wisdom teeth), I can say you don't remember much from the anesthetic kicking in to a day or two afterwards. I remember the odd thing right after waking up, but my parents tell me what happened and it is a fuzzy blank. It'd be fun to use some disconnected narration.
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Sun Jan 29, 2012 3:22 pm
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Lava says...



Well, I was anaesthesized and then places on drips once.
IV that is : http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intravenous_therapy

How it felt when you're given anaesthesia: Just another painful injection. Mine was a stronger dose; I was small and they needed to remove a tiny glass particle that cut my esophagus. (And I was vomiting blood, and was thus, dehydrated)

After waking up after 10odd hours: I had a mild head-throbbing, the one that persists, but isn't awful. Just heavy.

THE IV: I was given that since I lost so much fluid.
The worst part is you feel the liquid coursing through the upper part of your arm. And everytime they injected antibiotics into me, through the liquid, you can feel the increase pulse in flow of those liquids. It did hurt.
I was discharged in 3 days.

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Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:51 pm
ArahAkachi1 says...



Thanks for the help! I'll just leave out the scene, but do the waiting room impatience. Thanks for all the advice.
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Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:43 am
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Pilot says...



I used to use this game site where you could do fake surgery, and one was a deep brain stimulation surgery. Here is the link:

http://www.edheads.org/activities/brain_stimulation/

Sorta intense. I hope it helps :)
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Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:55 pm
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ArahAkachi1 says...



JustSoNinja wrote:I used to use this game site where you could do fake surgery, and one was a deep brain stimulation surgery. Here is the link:

http://www.edheads.org/activities/brain_stimulation/

Sorta intense. I hope it helps :)


Thanks JustSoNinja! That game will sorta helpm especially since I was actually thinking of brain surgery. :)
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Wed Feb 01, 2012 7:52 pm
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Pilot says...



No problem! You can call me Ninja, by the way. I think it's cool how the scene is brain surgery. Warning though, it's sorta graphic.
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