I am having difficulty with making situations seem realistic. To a certain extent, artistic licence is to be considered, but it gets to a point where things can be a little too contrived. This is leaving me at a dead end because good ideas are being put by the wayside for being too unrealistic. Things have to match up and I’m not understanding how to achieve that. Take the piece I’m writing now for example. The idea is that it’s a short story on the subject of heart transplant. My original plan was to write from the perspective of the mother of the deceased (a twenty-four year old male) and the perspective of the transplant recipient (a woman, also in her twenties, who feels indebted to live her life to the full from then on). My first issue arose when I did a brief research period on the subject of heart transplant which proved pretty fruitless. It seemed to me, despite what television programs would have us believe, that the majority of transplants are performed on people who are either extremely young or extremely old. Typical, I thought. I also preferably wanted the heart disease to  somehow be self-inflicted so I could incorporate a feeling of guilt into the scenario. I wanted to explore that she felt unworthy of the heart. Other than genetic factors however, I could find no realistic cases of self inflicted heart disease in a twenty- something year old. I decided, after much frustration, that I would leave this section of the story to artistic licence and made a short and undecided reference to the woman smoking cigarettes in her teen years. 

 The second issue arose with the mother. This was a different issue altogether and one I couldn’t find such an easy answer to. My hope was that the mother, outraged at having lost her son so young, would track down the recipient of his heart and vent her anger. This was to tie in with the previous idea of self-inflicted heart disease that had  gone so pear shaped. When the time came however, I could not think of a believable reason for the mother gaining access to the recipient. Realistically, the mother of a donor would never be given the name of the recipient for privacy reasons of both parties. The only way I could find around this issue was for the mother to be conveniently left alone in the corridor after the doctor had gone home and left his office door unlocked. He had also conveniently left his filing cabinets unlocked. To top off all of that, the recipient of the heart happened to be in a hospital just down the road. I feel that all these things together are just far too contrived. It saddens me, because I love the idea of the story, it’s just so difficult to find a realistic way to convey events. I would love to hear how other people cope with this problem? Until then however, I may just carry on writing and hope that artistic licence can get me to the end of the story. 

Olivia x


4 thoughts on “Unbelievable

  1. I think the reader is able to forgive a lot if the writer does it well. I think it’s possible to suspend some realities in order to tell a story as long as it’s gripping and well written. I try to stick to facts as much as possible, but sometimes you gotta embellish or the story doesn’t end up going how you need it to. The other option is writing to truth and then reworking your story to fit.

  2. I’ve thought a lot about what goes into my stories as well. You want to make everything plausible! But what would happen if say the mother was a friend to a nurse or worker in the hospital that could get hands on that kind of information? Or someone sympathetic to a mother that would like to talk to the recipient of her son’s heart? If you think about it I’m sure you could come up with a scenario that would work in your story!

    Good luck!!! It sounds fascinating and I’m sure you’ll come up with something that will fit.

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