Author Research (this Ain't Avatar!)
Posted 17 June 2010 - 03:22 PM
I hope you won't object to me dropping in here to ask for your help.
I'm a short-story and novel writer based in London.
My first novel has just been acquired by Random House Germany.
Which means I'm getting into print, but (for the time being, at least) I won't be able to read the bugger.
Isn't life just full of ironies?
Anyway, I'm planning and researching my next novel.
And - you guessed it - one of the main characters is quadriplegic. I've already written a short story based on this guy - and I'm ready to incorporate him into something bigger.
My style has a lot of humour, but it can be dark.
And itís important to me to represent my characters authentically. To that end, I'd love the opportunity to talk (online, over the phone or - ideally - in person) to anyone whose condition is similar to that of my character.
About my guy:
Robert was paralysed after an accident. Possibly a sporting (rugby) injury.
He has no movement below the neck. But - maddeningly - he still gets erections.
He has a girlfriend but that relationship is being put firmly to the test.
He types with his mouth.
He is depressed.
Now this story is based on a friend of a friend from 15 years back. And I imagine things have moved on a great deal since then.
I want to know about apparatus, equipment and so on.
Is the mouth-typing a realistic/authentic activity. (the story is written from this character's point of view, from his bed. And the way the guy types is a constant reminder of the restrains and frustrations he faces)
What medication is he on?
What kinds of emotional/physical therapies does he undertake?
What is a typical day like?
How long in bed?
How long in a chair?
What kind of compensation did he get?
Guys I know there are a ton of questions here and I know the answers will be various and sometimes complex. But the more I know, the more I can accurately portray Robertís life.
If anyone would like to talk, I would be eternally, massively grateful.
I can't guarantee the book will even get published in English - but if it does, wherever it does, your name will be in the acknowledgements.
Apologies for waffling and
Thanks for your time
Posted 17 June 2010 - 04:06 PM
Posted 17 June 2010 - 06:25 PM
The short story featuring Robert is pretty rough as it stands, and doesn't reflect the way I want to develop the character in my novel.
However, and in the spirit of sharing, here's a link to a story called 'Best Foot Forward'.
5 years ago I had surgery to remove a benign tumor from my spinal cord, the operation was a great success, but during my convalescence and the associated physiotherapy I had the inspiration for this story. I hope it makes you smile.
Posted 17 June 2010 - 11:55 PM
All you have to do is read through the gigabytes of threads on this site and you will find many examples of answers to your questions. A lot you have to decide, such as compensation, carers, depending on how you want the story to go. Truth is stranger than fiction, so mine this site.
Posted 07 July 2010 - 09:29 AM
I'd like to take this opportunity to apologise if I've offended anyone by appearing blasť or glib about spinal cord injury Ė it certainly wasnít my intention. Re-reading my post, however, I feel like Iíve blundered in here, a complete stranger, asking a ton of questions about something I know little of, and that I might have come across as insensitive.
Thanks to those of you who replied, and apologies for my clumsy approach.
Posted 07 July 2010 - 08:15 PM
Posted 08 July 2010 - 11:20 AM
No apology needed. As an ex-writer I know one must get into the character they are telling of and walk the ground where an event happened to get a feel for the story....No better place to go than to the source and when it comes to sci this is a target-rich enviroment...I applaude your sense of realism...
Thanks Snakeye, much appreciated
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