Monday, May 11, 2015

Tips for Writing Fiction from Jim Bailey, Author of 'The End of Healing"

After studying the great books at St. John’s College I dreamed of writing the next great American novel. I enrolled in a graduate writing program, where my fiction-writing teacher told me to write about what I knew. At that point I didn’t seem know much of anything, and medical school seemed like the easier option. Twenty years later, I started writing The End of Healing as a work of narrative non-fiction. When my spouse, who is also my editor, told me I was writing fiction—and suggested I’d better stop because it would take me forever—my first reaction was denial. I assured her that I was, in fact, writing creative non-fiction. As usual, though, she was right. It was over a full year later, in 2004, I realized that I was writing fiction—and that filled me with terror.  I couldn’t write fiction. That had already been determined. But despite my despair, The End of Healing was a compulsion for me, and I wrote nearly every day from 2004 until its publication. I wrote and wrote and edited and edited and learned the art of story telling over the last ten years because I had to do so. The story needed to be told. So what are the main things I have learned about the writing process over last ten years of writing my first novel that might be helpful to others who have a story they need to share?

  1. Start with stream of consciousness, but early in your writing process imagine the final product and the broader story arc to help you channel the stream.

  1. Allow your characters to reveal themselves to you over time and let them shape and even change the arc of your story.

  1. Write wherever and whenever inspiration strikes you, but also have a regular (daily) writing schedule, time, and place, even it is brief.

  1. Don’t be afraid to write a story with a purpose, goal, or a reason for telling. In writing, as in life, it helps to have a reason for writing.

  1. Make sure your story is one that you really care about in order to have the staying power to see it through to its end. Look for the story that matters most in your life. That is the story you should aim to share.

Title: The End of Healing
Genre: Suspense
Author: Dr. Jim Bailey
Publisher: The Healthy City
Purchase on Amazon
Dr. Don Newman, a resident physician at the renowned University Hospital, awakens in a windowless call room in the middle of the night to the screams of his pager. As he runs to a dark ward to attend to a dying woman strapped to a bed, Don realizes that despite having worked long and hard to become a doctor—and having sworn to do no harm—harm has become his business.
So begins Dr. Newman’s quest to become a healer in a system that puts profits ahead of patients. Abandoning his plans to become a cardiologist, Dr. Newman enrolls in an Ivy League graduate program in health system science, where an unorthodox professor promises to guide him ever deeper into the dark secrets of the healthcare industry. Along with fellow students Frances Hunt, a sharp and alluring nurse practitioner, and Bruce Markum, a cocky, well-connected surgeon, Dr. Newman begins a journey into the medical underworld.
When Dr. Newman unearths evidence of a conspiracy stretching from the halls of Congress to Wall Street and even to his small campus, his harmless course of study becomes deadly serious. Will he be silenced? Or will he find a way to save his patients and others from needless torture? One thing is certain:  the path to healing is fraught with danger. Will this path lead Don to a dead end?
Jim Bailey Author Photo
About the Author:
Jim Bailey is a fellow in the American College of Physicians and professor of medicine and preventive medicine at the University of Tennessee Health Science Center in Memphis, where he directs the Center for Health Systems Improvement, cares for the sick, and teaches doctors in training. His research appears in many peer-reviewed medical journals, including AMAJournal of General Internal Medicine, and Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Bailey has an abiding passion for the classics, medical history, and ethics, and believes that sharing our stories can heal.The End of Healingis his first novel.

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