Today I’m hosting a guest post as part of the book tour for the relaunch of The Rise of Aredor series. The author is here to share with us how she manages being a writer while also studying for a degree in Physical Therapy, two very different passions. There is also a giveaway and book sale at the end of this post, and in the comments section you can ask her any medical questions you may have! (like what would a broken rib really do to your character?)
Claire M. Banschbach: Anatomy of Writing
I’ve always been interested in science – biology, chemistry, anatomy, you name it. It was one subject I never minded, and actually loved, studying. So it came as little surprise that I chose a science based field for my degrees (Kinesiology and Physical Therapy). What is surprising perhaps, is how I also love to write speculative fiction.
I get a kick out of talking to people at conferences or book signings that ask what degree I have, expecting an answer more along the lines of English or creative writing, and then having their eyes widen when I tell them pretty much the exact opposite.
So how do I tie in science with writing? Well, my focus during my academic career has primarily been human anatomy and physiology. Which as a writer of action and adventure and not being terribly kind to my characters, comes in handy.
I’ve actually dissected human cadavers and the experience was incredible. And it gave me a personal look at muscles, organs, tissues, arteries/veins, giving me a better perspective on how the body functions. Especially if the body might suffer a stab wound to the lower abdomen for example.
Now, I don’t claim to be a medical doctor, so I do still have to look up things like symptoms of blood loss, and other nitty gritty nursing or medical details. But I know how long it might take someone to recover from a broken bone. Or if a nerve in the arm was severed, how they might hold their hand now. Or to be judicious when handing out broken/cracked ribs, or any chest injury really, because they might be in danger of a collapsed lung which is not good, especially if you have a society without modern medicine.
I’ve seen and treated a few amputees, so I know how they might adapt. And I’m an absolute nerd about prostheses. Like, it’s kind of ridiculous. 😛 I know how person might walk after a leg injury. No I’m not going to break down their exact gait pattern, because that would be really boring and no one but another PT might understand it, but I’d know how it would affect them over rough and smooth surfaces, up and down stairs. All the little things that are easy to forget in the midst of a story.
Now, I’m not saying that you have to go all out and add these tiny details to your story to make it “realistic”. Just know that if your character has a limp, they might struggle over different types of terrain.
I started writing The Rise of Aredor in high school. I had high school anatomy to fall back on, and that’s like a snowflake on top of the iceberg, so some of the injuries are borderline serious with no big side effects. Like the characters should have died or been out of commission for a lot longer. Ah, fantasy writers. 😛 But during the edits and revisions for the second editions, I had two high level degrees and a much deeper knowledge of the human body, so I was able to tweak a few things to make it more believable for everyone involved.
And now going forward, I’m a little better versed in how the body responds to injury, the phases of healing, how hard to physically push a character, strength and conditioning, and in things like spinal cord or head injuries. I’m no expert by any means, but the great thing is, I have a solid base to start from and I know how to focus my research if a topic comes up that I’m not familiar with.
Have any character injury questions? Or any other questions? I’d love to chat with you! Ask in the comments!
Thank you for guest posting, Claire! I know I have a few questions. Let’s get started with: How long does it take for a broken bone to heal? How well do damaged nerves heal back?
And for the GIVEAWAY, the Rafflecopter is Here
Claire M. Banschbach is a native West Texan. She discovered a deep and abiding love for fantasy and science fiction at a young age, prompting her to begin exploring worlds armed only with an overactive imagination and a pen while obtaining degrees in Kinesiology from Texas A&M and Physical Therapy from Texas Tech University.
She talks to fictional characters more than she should while struggling to find time for all their stories. She currently resides in Arlington, TX where she works as a Pediatric Physical Therapist.
Visit her blog to follow the rest of the tour! And while you’re there, there’s a list of short stories based on characters from the series: https://clairembanschbach.wordpress.com/my-books/short-stories-2/
And see my interview with Claire a while back HERE on the blog!