The Point at Waterview – 2nd Floor
5:00 p.m. Monday February 25th
101 Watermark Blvd.
South Side of Pearl Street
Near the Hilton Garden Inn
Critique and speaker: Kathryn McClatchy
Interested members will bring one copy of an unsigned, ~1,000-word story. We’ll roll the stories into scrolls and place them in a basket. Writers will pick a story to read aloud, and everyone will try and guess who wrote it. The person who gets the most correct guesses will win a prize!
So please come and join us for some good food and even better fellowship. Hope to see you all there!
Dr. Barna Richards has treated gunshot victims, kids with a bean in their ear, heart patients and even performed his first C-section in the emergency room.
Richards recounts the touching moments, as well as the humorous ones, in his book “44 Years in the ER.”
In one chapter, the doctor recalls a young man who came into the ER with blood all over his shirt.
“I raked around on his chest and couldn’t find a wound anywhere,” he said.
A nurse came into the room and noticed a small wound just below the man’s hairline.
“We later found out that his wife came home and caught him with another woman. She put a .22-caliber pistol to his head,” Richards said.
“The bullet penetrated the skin, traveled around the bone and lodged at the base of his skull. It never pierced his skull.” Shaking his head, the doctor said, “This had to be one of the luckiest men in world!”
Richards, now retired and living in Granbury, joined other local authors for a book signing at the Writers Bloc seminar Saturday morning held at the Waterview clubhouse.
Richards began his medical career in the Metroplex in 1963, before emergency medicine was a specialty. As an intern at John Peter Smith Hospital in Fort Worth, Richards moonlighted in the ER for minimum wage.
“About a dollar an hour,” he recalled.
Even after he entered practice, he continued working in the ER field to make extra money.
“I could work the ER all I wanted in private hospitals because the more sane, private doctors wanted no part of the emergency room,” Richards grinned and said.
He remembers calling the obstetrician on call one night when a lady came to the ER needing a C-section.
“He didn’t want to come in, and said I could do it with help from the second year guy,” Richards said.
After the incision was made, Richards said he had never seen so much blood.
After suctioning the blood, Richards said everything become clear and the procedure was a success. “The mother and baby did fine,” he added.
During his career, Richards said some of the worst cases involved young people with trauma. “Teenagers sometimes do stupid things,” he said sadly.
He added that shaken babies were also hard to deal with.
“You see all kinds of things in the ER,” Richards said. “But, you know, the ER exists to save lives.”
He has no idea how many thousands of stitches he has given, and estimates he’s seen half a million patients. He’s delivered lots of babies, including one in an elevator.
While in practice, Richards saw about 50 patients every day. “I even worked Saturdays,” he said.
He is both pleased and amazed how new technology has changed the medical field.
“In the early days, everything was a clinical diagnosis,” the doctor said. Patients answered questions so the doctor could diagnose the problem.
“We had X-rays, but that was it,” he smiled and said.
“Now there’s ultrasound, CAT scans, MRIs, flexible endoscopy, and the list goes on,” he noted. “All wonderful advances.”
On a humorous note, Richards recalled a female patient who said she had a bug in her ear.
“Her husband claimed there was absolutely no way that she had a bug in her ear,” Richards said.
When examining her ear, a moth flew out.
“Her skeptical husband exclaimed, ‘Well, I’ll be damned!” Richards said with a chuckle.
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Seven Tips on Writing Great Suspense Novels
(excerpts from Post by Tony Lee Moral on The Writer’s Dig, May 15, 2017)
Anger or aggression: shake fist, point finger, stab finger, slam fist on a table, flushed face, throbbing veins in neck, jutting chin, clench fists, clench jaw, lower eyebrows, squint eyes, bare teeth, a wide stance, tight-lipped smile.
Boredom: yawn, avoid eye contact, tap feet, twirl a pen, doodle, fidget, slouch.
Confusion: tilt head, narrow eyes, furrowed brow, shrug.
Defensive: cross arms or legs, arms out with palms forward, hands up, place anything in front of body, hands in pockets.
Embarrassment: blush, stammer, cover face with hands, bow head, trouble maintaining eye contact, look down and away, blink back tears.
Fear: hunch shoulders, shrink back, mouth open, widen eyes, shake, tremble, freeze, rock from side to side, wrap arms around self, shaky hands.
Jealousy: tight lips, sour expression, narrow eyes, crossed arms.
This is a technique that draws us in, so that as the reader we feel one with the POV character. It is as if you are that person. Authors like Maggie Stiefvater (The Raven King), Suzanne Collins (Hunger Games), and Cassandra Clare (Shadowhunters) use this technique effectively.
It is best used in novels that seek to thrill the reader or take them on an emotional journey. It is a technique that cannot be perfected overnight.
Limit your character’s knowledge and only reveal the things your character actually knows to keep readers engaged. Cut our filter words like “thought, wondered, or saw.” Just state it, e.g. She wondered how bad the tornado had been. VS. How bad had it been?
Limit your dialog tags. Use attribute tags instead, e.g. “Are you okay?” she asked. VS. Are you okay?” She reached for his hand, but he pulled it away.
Employ the ultimate show, and don’t tell. Deep POV is all about getting into your character’s head, so avoid as many instances of telling as possible.
Don’t use the passive voice. No action should be done unto someone. Someone should always do it., e.g. Her shoulder was hit. VS. He hit her shoulder.
Be careful when identifying characters. In Deep POV, your character relationships aren’t easy. Use dialog when possible, e.g. Not “John, her brother, stood next to her” but “John stood next to her.” Or “Eric, this is my brother John.”
Relate backstory with memory flashes.