Category Archives: Research

Thank You, Baby

A guest post by Heidi Wilde.

Those of you who know me know that short fiction is not my strong suit, but it is a goal of mine to really get to the heart of a story and cut out the nonessential fluff. The 55-word story format is new to me so I did some research and found many personal sites and even an article in Family Medicine written in June of 2010 by Dr. Colleen Fogarty, a writer and a family physician. In her article she states “These stories… have been used to teach family medicine faculty development fellows. Writers and readers of 55 word stories gain insight into key moments of the healing arts; the brevity of the pieces adds to both the writing and reading impact.”

The article explains what goes into a good 55-word story and recounts one session of a writing seminar Dr. Fogarty held for other physicians and included the stories they wrote in the 15 minutes she allotted them. The familiarity of the subject matter and story components coupled with seeing their results inspired me to experiment on my own.

The night I found the article I had been called to an emergency C-section. It was one of many I’ve been called to over the years, but after reading that article I thought it would be a perfect story for a first attempt. With any emergency there is stress and anxiety and then enormous relief when you have a good outcome.

 

Thank You, Baby

“I need help in here!” the nurse called before running back to the patient’s room.

“We’re losing the baby’s heartbeat with each contraction. Is the cord wrapped around his neck?”

Please, baby, be okay. They’re the only words in my mind. Every time.

A cut.

A tug.

Overwhelming anxiety.

A cry.

Relief.

Thank you, baby.

 

After that article I visited many blogs where people had posted their 55-word stories to see if I could get a feel for the form and rhythm. There were many that affected me, some that I found myself thinking of days later, and some that just made me roll my eyes. I went back to the ones that stuck in my mind to figure out why they had had such an impact and to hopefully be able to learn from them.

Truthfully, the invitation for this post scared me and my initial (knee jerk) response was to decline, especially since I had never heard of this format before. But no improvement will occur without effort and a challenge, so I accepted. I’m very grateful for this opportunity to share what I’ve learned and created. I hope you will be able to take something of value away from my post.

 

The Storm Caster

I feel the storm’s power surging through me. It’s explosive. I stand arms outstretched while the wind, my

wind, wreaks havoc.

I could tear the trees from the ground; send them crashing into houses nearby. I could…

Then I see my neighbor laughing at me through his window.

Ahh, I remember.

I’m an ordinary man.

 

Relaxing

I step into the hottub with a contented sigh. Sinking under the water briefly, I wet my hair and face, then

float.

How relaxing!

Slowly, the water thickens. To my horror it seeps into my mouth and eyes, but leaves my nose free.

Minutes pass.

The last thing I feel: two fingers covering my nostrils.

 

Guest Writer Bio:

Heidi Wilde - with bangs!Heidi A. Wilde is a Respiratory Therapist by night and aspiring author by day. She spends her nights dragging people back from the brink of death, but she has dedicated her daylight hours to the pursuit of all things writing. Current projects include a Children’s “How to” Poetry book, a Regency romance series as well as a foray into the realm of Steampunk. She attributes the bulk of what knowledge she can claim to attendance in fabulous programs such as Superstars Writing Seminars, Dave Farland’s workshops and various conventions.

Healing in Science Fiction

It’s important to do your homework when writing, especially about science.

In the recent past, I’ve read a number of stories and novels in the Sci-Fi genre that utilize some version of a healing agent. Sometimes this is a salve or injection or maybe a bath like in Wanted. The authors of these stories try to give some indication of science behind the concoction. The explanation will usually toss around some terms including antibiotics.

Antibiotics don’t work anymore.

One hundred years ago, before antibiotics, people might get a bacterial infection from scraping their knee or slicing their finger. The infection would “fester” meaning the bacterial colonies would spread and eventually the person could go into septic shock. We called this blood poisoning when I was a kid, but basically it’s where the bacteria has taken such control of a body that it can’t fight back and will eventually die.

Penicillin changed all that.

All the sudden folks that underwent surgeries, recovered rather than going sepsis. We could do more intricate, outpatient procedures (as opposed to chopping off an infected limb and cauterizing the wound).

You get the point. Antibiotics were awesome.

But they were never a fix-all. They don’t affect viruses, fungi, algae, or cancer. Just bacteria. And some estimate that there are millions of types of bacteria. So antibiotics don’t have an affect on all of them. In fact, within a year of introducing penicillin into the medical world, scientists discovered strands of bacteria that had already become resistant to penicillin, meaning it no longer worked to ward of infection from those strands.

That’s why they developed amoxicillin and cephalexin and erythromycin and Biaxin and Floxin and Levaquin and so many more. But just as quickly as the antibiotics are introduced, bacteria finds a way to morph, change some how and become resistant. No new antibiotic has been developed since the 1980s. And the “last resort” known as Colistin is kept under lock and key, barely used just in case the bacteria develop resistance through exposure. And sure enough, it’s all ready happening.

So you see, Antibiotics don’t work anymore. At least not in the future. In fact, Dr. Fukuda of the World Health Organization stated that “the world is headed for a post-antibiotic era, in which common infections and minor injuries which have been treatable for decades can once again kill.”

Now doesn’t that sound more like science fiction than a concoction using antibiotics as a cure-all?

So what is science doing about it?

healingNow for the science nonfiction. Scientists are developing all sorts of new technology to help prevent the apocalypse. Nanoparticles as treatments and delivery mechanisms of other treatments, viruses for the same purpose, enzymes that fight antibiotic-resistant bacteria now called “Superbugs” and the development of other antimicrobial agents like small molecules that mimic the human immune system—specifically antimicrobial peptides.

Bottom line, do your homework. Don’t just spout off something that a reader might perceive to diminish your credibility.

Jace KillanI live in Arizona with my family, wife and five kids and a little dog. I write fiction, thrillers and soft sci-fi with a little short horror on the side. I’ve hold an MBA and work in finance for a biotechnology firm.

I volunteer with the Boy Scouts, play and write music, and enjoy everything outdoors. I’m also a novice photographer.

You can read some of my works by visiting my Wattpad page and learn more at www.jacekillan.com.