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Body Trauma: A Writer's Guide to Wounds and…
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Body Trauma: A Writer's Guide to Wounds and Injuries

by David W. Page

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Not proving to be very useful. It has information, but almost more like an emergency field guide than a writer's reference. For instance, I just tried to look up how long a person would be in a cast after breaking a leg, thinking I could modify the break to make sure I got the length of time I needed, but that information isn't there, just the immediate care requirements for a broken leg. It's been the same with everything else I've wanted to look up.

Usually I'm trying to look up something specific in order to give more detail and realism to an injury I already know about. I also have to deal with fantasy and sci-fi characters with a variety of enhancements, etc. This might be more useful to a mystery writer who needs immediate-care information, or is looking for an injury to give a character in order to move the plot along. ( )
  FFortuna | Nov 9, 2011 |
Every fall when NaNoWriMo comes around, I spend hours reading the forums. There are all kinds of interesting, bizarre and arcane queries, including many people searching for data on medical symptoms and treatment. It's difficult to write realistically without experience and that's the whole point of the Howdunit series.

Page spends quite a bit of time talking about the hospital itself - the trauma center, the doctors' pecking order, the ABCs of trauma and a diagram of an ER's trauma bay. Interesting stuff. However, it assumes that your character actually goes to the hospital. I was also interested in the symptoms/care of a field-treated wound and didn't get much data there. The book deals with injuries by system: head, abdominal, organs, extremities, etc and there's an index for quick searching.

Page gives many scenerios throughout the book detailing why it might be opportune for your resident to screw up this procedure or how your plot could go if your character had this injury, etc. In my case, I knew how my character became injured, I just wanted data to flesh out the scene. Sometimes I found his suggestions irritating and other times I found that his prompts actually did set my imagination in motion.

Bottom line: it's a decent reference, a good starting point, but you could be just as well off with Google or Wikipedia. ( )
1 vote VictoriaPL | Jan 24, 2011 |
The good news is that the book provides excellent information on all kinds of bodily trauma in a good mixture of layman's terms and medical jargon.

The bad news is that it could have been better and covered more topics.

I'm not talking about rare diseases or highly unusual circumstances. I'm talking about the fact that in the section about the chest trauma, there is nothing about heart attacks (but it addresses "cafe coronaries," which mimic heart attacks). The section about animal attacks discusses bite wounds from dogs to horses, but has nothing about claw attacks or trampling. The writing at times is awkward, too, and works too hard to hand ideas or scenarios directly to the reader. Um, no. I'm reading this to flesh out scenes already written. If I want writing prompts, I can find them here on my own (give the reader some credit!) or get a book specifically on prompts.

However, it's still an excellent resource books for writers of any genre or anyone who needs to understand some basic instances of trauma. I found the chapter on head trauma to be especially good for my own research purposes, but I littered the entire book with post-tab tab bookmarks for future reference. I thought the last chapter on organ transplants seemed unnecessary, but as I read it, I added a bookmark there, too. I'll be keeping this book in my library, with the hope that someday a new, more comprehensive (and less patronizing) edition will be released. ( )
1 vote ladycato | Mar 23, 2009 |
This is one of the most useful books I own. It helps a writer pick out just the right horrible injury to almost, but not quite, kill the fictional character in a way most useful to the story. ( )
  spiletta42 | Jan 26, 2007 |
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0898797411, Paperback)

This reference book has much to offer many. Indispensable for the novelist, with gore-filled chapters and multiple car crashes spewing limbs and guts, Dr. David Page's opus will also be treasured by medical enthusiasts, hypochondriacs, and those who like lively bathroom reading. From trench foot to crunched legs, massive hemothorax to flail chests, Body Trauma is educational, comprehensive, and a jolly good time.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:24:53 -0400)

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