I’ve noticed recently that most of my novels have some crisis dealing with a health issue of some kind. I think there are several reasons for this. One, I’m a doctor’s kid. Not that my dad talked about any of his patients or cases, but growing up medical topics were just there. Plus, I find them interesting.
Another, and probably more pertinent reason, is the emotional connection we as readers can have with the characters who are going through crises of health. They are common and familiar to us. We can identify with a loved one having an accident. We can feel the fear of a mother terrified her child will succumb to an illness. We know the helplessness of watching someone whither and die far too young from cancer.
These types of circumstances pull at me more than having a bad guy or guys attack the main characters. I don’t have experience with evil in that form, so it’s not something I am comfortable writing (although I have and will). It might be those sort of situations just scare me too much so I don’t want to write them. I’m pretty much a wuss and proud of it.
|19th Century Stethoscope|
|Photo from Wikicommons|
|Cabin used for quarantine in Wyoming in the 1890's. Wikicommons.|
Even though my sons never had an illness or accident that was life threatening, as I wrote the epidemic, and some of its consequences, I was moved to tears by the fear and sorrow my characters were going through. I’m a mother. I can identify. I, not only can imagine their emotions, but I can go through them myself because illness and accident can visit itself upon us at any moment.
Even though, in our modern world, we can successfully conquer most health issues, the emotions we go through are the same as those of yesteryear. Laura’s fear for Eddie and Mark, Hank’s fear for Laura, Hank going to Massot requesting another casket be built. Those resonate with each of us. We feel what the character feels. Isn’t that what we want out of our stories? At least it is for me.
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