(Image from PostSecret)
I have two external scars of note. The one on my left arm is about 3.5 inches long, the one on my right shoulder is a little longer. I got them both ten years ago this week, when a meticulous surgeon did a great job cutting out the scary melanomas that grew there.
There is much, much more to the story, of course, but I’m going to keep those cards close to my chest until the time comes to spread them out in a novel.
Realizing that I have made the ten-year mark (not completely clean, alas; I had a pre-melanoma removed last year… but clean enough to celebrate!) made me think about the power of setting to evoke strong characterization and conflict potential.
“I think all writing is a disease. You can’t stop it.”
William Carlos Williams
Today’s prompt: Write a scene in a doctor’s office. It can be one from your own life. One that you imagine a relative went through. It could be a famous person, stripped down and wrapped in a paper gown, about to get The News. Try to alternate the patient’s thoughts with details from the room. Introduce other characters; nurses, other patents, medical students, the doctor, the patient’s beloved companion, the person the character sees in the mirror. You don’t necessarily have to tell the reader exactly what is wrong with the character. Draw out the tension. Let the reader add his own tension that inevitably comes into play in this setting.
Scribble… scribble… scribble…
10 Replies to “Scars – WFMAD Day 8”
Have to be honest. I didn’t have a good feeling about this one Laurie, but I trusted my snarky demon was wrong and gave it a shot. I love it when my characters surprise me with what has to happen to them when I think I have a plan and am in control of the plot.
My little brother always had a ugly mole on his left side rib cage area. Although we never noticed that the mole changed in color and size. He was a roofer. Constantly in the sun. We as a family, hardly seen him without his shirt off. He was 28 at the time. The mole was melanoma and had became systemic. He began to have “migrane” headaches. Diagnosed as stage four cancer as he went to the local hospital. After the hospital and many brain tumor surgeries, and many bouts with chemo and radiation. He passed at the age of 29. Leaving 4 children and his wife in 2001. If only we had known then to watch for those “moles” changing colors. It was that simple. Yet, we were so uninformed. My scene from his Dr. office visits is that he made friends and they all died before him. Except one who shared his same name. (Shawn) My brother had many scars and to be honest they were like having a purple heart from the military. He was proud to wear them. Good luck to you Laurie. My facebook friend. ~ Sincerely Jennifer Sherman
Laurie, thanks for being so transparent about your melanoma survival. I was diagnosed about 5 years ago at 22, and I’m proud of my 2.5 inch scar too! I worked with middle school girls for a while, and I once had one if I liked my scar. I replied with a quiet no, and she said with all the innocent wisdom of a 13-year-old, “Well, I do. You wouldn’t be Stefanie without it.” How true. I’m so grateful for how God brought me through that time and healed me. I love your books, and I do hope one day you write your melanoma experience into a novel for teens. There’s an increasing number of young people fighting this battle and a large amount still unaware of the danger as well, and I don’t know any other author who tackles such hard issues in such a beautiful way as you. Thanks for what you do! I’m one librarian who always recommends your books! I may give this prompt a try too. 🙂
Each one of these exercises is a challenge. I didn’t think I’d be able to wrap my head around this one, but the voices in my head persevered. http://www.clarklori.com/?p=243
This evening I combined the #WFMAD with the Twitter #1k1hr and got 1008 new words down in an hour of writing!
Thank you, Laurie!
And thanks to two of my Mobile Writers Guild buddies on Twitter.
And last, but not least, thanks to my husband for manning the kidlets.
Laurie, I’m a substitute teacher, and as such I get to talk to a lot of different students. Recently, girls as young as 12(!) have been talking about going to tanning salons. This is a proven cause of melanoma, which has skyrocketed among young people who use them. If you could write a novel that touches on this subject, you could probably save some lives.
First off, thank you for being so open and positive. (If this sounds stilted and stiff, do forgive me.) Cancer is one topic that no one wants to dwell on, and yet you not only touched on it, but made something good out of it.
I loved this prompt. There are so many things to play with in a doctor’s office–the sterility of the surroundings, that inevitable mirror, fluorescent lighting, etc.–and really, it could be anyone in there. There are so many possibilities. And I know that I am supposed to craft a scene, but this was a great idea workout. I actually came up with a good storyline, and what’s more, what I think of as a good ending.
Thank you for WFMAD. This is only my first year, but I am enjoying it immensely.
I enjoyed this one although I wrote more of a reflection than a scene on this one. I’m not making it every day, but I’m writing more. Thanks!