Painstaking research

In the buildup to the climax of my novel Finnegans Afoot, my protagonist, Ann Finnegan, stumbles while on a hiking trail and cracks her knee on a rock. She also bruises her forearm in the fall. I did this to put her out of commission so she wouldn’t go with her husband on a hike the following day. He makes an important discovery, but by staying behind, Ann Finnegan makes a corresponding discovery, and together — if they can ever put their heads together — a drug ring can be squashed.

Her injury was also a way for me to write more descriptively. I imagined the pain and ache she would feel, and I tried my best to put that on the page.

Just as suddenly as Ann Finnegan fell on the trail, I managed to do a bit of first hand research that has helped me understand her pain vividly. While walking on a flat bit of sidewalk near my home, I happened to step in a puddle of water created by a lawn sprinkler. My foot went out from under me instantly, and before I knew what had happened, my knee slammed into the sidewalk. I didn’t see stars, but I sure felt a surge of pain in my knee.

Fortunately I was only about a block from home and managed to limp there, with blood running down my leg. (Ann Finnegan had a whole mile before she and her party reached their car parked at the trail head.) While washing up my knee — nicely abraded with big round scabs now — I discovered that somehow in my fall I had also struck my forearm and cut it up a bit too.

I consider this an example of the painstaking research I will do for my art.

Explore posts in the same categories: Finnegans, Humble efforts

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