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» Hatrack River Writers Workshop » Forums » Fragments and Feedback for Short Works » The Collective

   
Author Topic: The Collective
ArCHeR
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I feel like posting another one today, but I couldn't let myself only post around 13. Forgive me . If any of you would like to help with what goes in the brackets, let me know. I can't write medical jargon...

The Collective
Prologue

“Good God, what the hell is wrong with this guy?”
“We don’t know. He was running through an alley rambling on about nothing. He came out and collapsed in front of a couple coming home from a movie. His ears were bleeding and he said something about his head hurting.”
[Medical jargon, Patient dies]
* * *

Chapter 1

“John Doe? Your name is actually John Doe?”
“Yes, and don’t worry, it’s not like I get that everywhere I go or anything”
“I’m sorry. You have to realize that most people don’t meet a John Doe every day.”
“Yeah, yeah, whatever. Just give me my damn ID back, will ya?”
“Ok, ok, here. Now you’ll have to go through those double doors down the hall, and find a seat to wait. We don’t have these kind of exams very often, but when we do, it takes forever. I’ve been wondering, how did you guys get picked for this? I mean I haven’t noticed a trend with all the people here. The other times we just had a bunch of military guys, but now it’s a bunch of mail men, social workers, teachers, cops. I don’t get it.”
“Well all those people you mentioned work for the government. I work at Columbia High, and they told me and a few other teachers to stay after one day to take a test. It wasn’t like a lot of tests you see given to people. It was a bunch of memory tests and a bunch of questions that had no real connection. We had to answer fifty of them in ten minutes.”

[This message has been edited by ArCHeR (edited July 30, 2004).]


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bladeofwords
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I like it except for two little things.

The first is if you are going to be using medical jargon for when he dies that supposes that the people talking are doctors or something. From my limited knowledge of...well whatever I'm drawing this from...in this sort of emergency situation they are very technical and speak in nearly incomplete sentences. Time is of the essence, even if they aren't doctors. "He was running through an alley rambling on about nothing. He came out and collapsed in front of a couple coming home from a movie." Would probably be shorter, like, "The couple who brought him in said he came running out of the alley and collapsed at their feet." Unless the movie thing is important it probably wouldn't be mentioned. (I'm a bit long winded, sorry.)

Second, when he's talking about the test at the end it sort of has the same problem. "given to people" is obvious if it's a test and he probably wouldn't bother to say it. You say "a bunch of" twice in that next sentence and that probably could be combined somehow. The answering fifty in ten minutes just seems random the way it's tacked on to the end of the statement, perhaps try working it in better.

Jon


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Phanto
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The language feels off -- it doesn't resonate to me like regular speech. (Though, mind you, you don't write regular speech in ficiton, you write something that reads like regular speech ).

I think this might be because your dialog is being used as an info dump.

In terms of appeal, this didn't quite grab me. You see, the thing is I'm not really sure what's going on. Yes, you have this test and all that, but so much info thrown at me in such a concentrated fashion is mind-boggling.


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ArCHeR
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Yes, I seem to have a problem with starting things off where a movie would, instead of a book. Maybe I'll roll it back a day or two...
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ArCHeR
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Anyone care to help me with the ER bit? Or should I go to a Crichton fansite?
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Warrior Poet
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Talk to an ER doctor or an EMT. Consult a medical text on pathology at your local library. And yeah, maybe go to a a site that deals with that kind of jargon. Research, research, research. Whoo-hooo!

Blade Of Words is right, shorter, choppier language, under stress. Only pertinents, as time is definitely a factor.

Oh, and they would probably say "hemoraging from the ears." Maybe, I don't know, I'm not an MD.

WP


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shadowynd
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Go to your local hospital ER, if they aren't busy explain what you are doing and ask them to tell you what they would say, how they would handle it. Take a tape recorder so you don't take up too much time trying to write it down, asking them to repeat, etc. Transcribe it at the hospital, in the waiting room so that if you need to ask for spellings, translations, etc, you can hopefully prevail upon the receptionist or nurses, again, if they are not busy!

Be very nice and most of all, stay out of the way at all times.

If they are busy when you inquire the first time, ask them for a better time to return, if there is a doctor that wouldn't mind helping you.

Or, if you are fortunate enough to have a medical school/teaching hospital close by, try inquiring there for a professor/doctor to help out!

Susan


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RFLong
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"Body Trauma: A Writers Guide to Wounds and Injuries" is a pretty good reference - it's the one I use. Not always a lot of detail, but a good section on what happens in the ER.


http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0898797411/104-7919263-5284738?v=glance

[This message has been edited by RFLong (edited August 06, 2004).]


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ArCHeR
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If only I didn't have to buy it...

I'll try some things... That, or I'll just keep it like that until it's done, and then do all that.

I mean, you are talking to the guy who was going to be in procrastinators annonymous, but I never got around to joining...


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