Creating the plot behind “Shell Game” is a topic that practically chose itself. As an anesthesiologist, I regularly experience commonplace issues within the medical practice that are ripe for story telling. When an anesthesiologist asks What If the story and plot possibilities come to life.
A Day in the Life of an Anesthesiologist
- Grappling with what I need in terms of supplies, medications, and techniques versus what is available.
- Experiencing discord between hospital management and surgeon preferences.
- Disjointed time factors for when a complex procedure is available versus how badly a patient needs it.
Life Imitating Art
During the time that I decided to pen “Shell Game,” we were experiencing a drug shortage. Fortunately, it wasn’t life threatening or dangerous. It was just a temporary shortage of a drug that is usually available. My creative mind asked, “What would happen if we had a shortage of a mission critical medication?”
In real life, creative thinking and loaning of supplies was required by all involved. The characterization of an omnipotent doctor is reserved for television. In reality, doctors have to work together for the benefit of the patient. We communicate and compromise.
Plotting the Novel
But when it came to writing a medical thriller, I imagined a suspenseful plot. I began to research. Was a drug shortage plausible? Could hospital management be pitted against doctors? Could I convey medical complexities for average readers?
I began to sort through situations that people could relate to. For the record, most people who work in hospitals don’t know the ins and outs of anesthesia. That can be a good thing when writing a thriller. It’s a naturally terrifying topic. That’s when I decided to make a pharmaceutical issue the center of my book. After all, who hasn’t taken a pill or been touched in some way by the pharmaceutical industry?
Without giving all away, that’s how I developed the story of “Shell Game.” I had a career’s worth of insight coupled with unbelievable circumstances, and funny interactions to make it even more interesting. More to come…