Scalpel, Please!


Have you ever noticed that most surgeries happen very early in the morning?  I’ve always wondered/worried about that.  Is the surgeon really awake?  Has he had his coffee?  A good, nutritious breakfast?  Did he have an argument with his teenage daughter right before he backed the Mercedes out of the garage?

I should talk.  Here I am, in the wee hours of the morning (well, not really but it sounds so much more dramatic) with no caffeine in my system, contemplating surgery.  My victim patient is already well under anesthesia which isn’t really necessary as it’s just a bunch of words.

Ah, yes.  Time for a little cosmetic surgery on The Novel.  Cosmetic surgery like…you know…some celebrities have had.  In other words, a lot.

I’ve been walking around the patient for a couple of days now.  In truth, I have been walking up to it then scurrying away, frightened to death about what to do, what I must do.  I truly hope real-life surgeons don’t behave this way.  I’m sure they’ve got everything all mapped out before they pull on those snappy latex gloves.  Well, pretty sure.

I’ve been keeping some distance between me and the patient for other reasons besides naked fear.  I’ve been contemplating the best place to begin.  I’ve been contemplating whether it needs just a nip and tuck or an amputation.  I’ve wondered if perhaps a transplant would work – after all, there are at least six versions of this same story on my computer.  I’m quite fond of some of them; not so fond of the whole thing.

Yes!  That’s it! (Cue really horrendous German/Transylvanian accent)  I have come up with an ingenious plan (cue crazy laughter).  I will build a literary Frankenstein!  It will be a masterpiece!!! (cue more crazy laughter)

Ok, you know what this is going to look like, don’t you?  Like the result of a failed quilting class.

Maybe the Frankenstein idea isn’t so good.  More thought might be required.  It’s just that I’m impatient.  I want to get this thing fixed, sewn up, and back in action.  I don’t want to spend all summer in the operating room listening to the incessant beep of the heart/lung machine as it struggles to keep the patient alive.

Kids, this is what happens to a novel written without a plan.  A clear case of trying to run before walking (see word “impatient” above).  Because this story has been in my head for so long, I thought all I had to do was wave my hands over the keyboard and it would materialize magically. Some of it did.  Some of it didn’t.  It now has three eyes, fifteen legs, and it can no longer breathe on its own.  Hence the need for surgery.

I’m wondering if it needs more sophisticated care than I can give it?  I wonder if Dr. Sanjay Gupta is available…he’s a neurosurgeon and adorable to boot.  I’ll just make some coffee and call CNN…


2 responses »

  1. I don’t write with a plan (or plot) in place. And sometimes I do have to go back and cut out entire chapters and redo my characters. But I find that writing my characters is what allows me to get to know them, and the more I write, the less I cut out, because I get more right the first time. So even the cut material (which I save… just in case) is not a waste of time.

    I tell people, if they’re stuck with either their plot or character, to write a throw away chapter where their character does something terribly boring, like goes to work, does the laundry, makes supper… whatever. By knowing what your character is doing when life is being normal and boring, you’ll know better what he or she will do when life is exciting and/or dangerous. Your character should exist in all the moments that are not discussed in your story.

    And, just because I’m a random sort of person, do you know why surgeries are done so early in the morning? (Yeah, it used to bother me, too, that the doctor was awake that early.) It’s a proven fact that people get decision fatigue: the more decisions you make, the faster you make them and the less thought you put into them. In short, you make worse decisions as the day goes on. Not a good thing for a doctor. Also not a good thing for a judge, which is why (at least where I’m from), most court cases are heard in the morning.

    So, never schedule an afternoon surgery or court case, if there’s any way around it. Also, never go shopping for something expensive (appliance, car, house) late in the day.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s