Jerks & Irks XXXIX: My Death is Surely in the Details

With my novella, Blood in the Past off to the editor for the next few days, I’ve had a lot to think about…Like the most annoying part of the writing process (at least for this series): RESEARCH.

I had to research all sorts of little details that I didn’t think would really make a real difference, but that I wanted to get right nonetheless. What sort of hours do police officers work? When do their shifts begin and end? Was the Franklin Institute (a Philadelphia Museum) around in 2002? When was it last renovated? How are law enforcement funerals handled? What songs are usually played? Can a person shoot themselves in the head and have the bullet circumvent their actual brain? What kind of minimal damage would still occur? How does a hospital’s pharmacy department operate?

Blah, blah, blah.

The most irksome part though? My sources ending their very detailed answers and explanations with “But every precinct/hospital/case is different.”


My Blood for Blood Series takes place in a real city, Philadelphia, and many scenes took place in a real hospital, University of Pennsylvania Hospital. My sources’ information, however useful, was more generalized. So what’s an author to do?

Well, there’s not much I could do about the Philadelphia police department. It is what it is, ya know. (But I definitely plan on befriending a Philly cop during the revisions of Blood in the Paint.) The hospital, however, I could do something about. I changed it to a fictitious one. New name: West Philadelphia General Hospital. West Philly Gen, for short. The changes weren’t too extensive, so I was able to do them at the last minute before Blood in the Past went to the editor. Luckily for me, when I googled “West Philly Gen” I found that there was a “Philadelphia General” from 1919-1977 in virtually the SAME area as present-day UPENN Hospital! So, of course, I threw that in the narrative, to add a touch of realism to the setting. 😉

Problem solved!

So what do you guys think? Is a fictitious hospital (or any organization) the way to go over a real-life one? Weigh-in in the comments section!

Oh, and one more thing! Those that are signed up for my mailing list will receive an exclusive peek at the first chapter of Blood in the Past, as soon as it’s edited! If you haven’t joined yet, what are you waiting for? Click Here!



18 thoughts on “Jerks & Irks XXXIX: My Death is Surely in the Details

  1. I think if you want something to be detailed as possible, then create your own space. Why not? That’s what fiction is all about. Its great to have real life locations, but sometimes its easier to create a hospital or a school or even a town. We create the details we need rather than relying on others. More power to ya!

  2. I hate research too. At the moment my writing partner has me watching DVDs of a bbc documentary from the 70s about tribes. I have learnt some bits but this won’t come to use for at least six months :-/ but I also agree with making up your own locations, especially for hospitals and places where you may not be able to get behind the scenes. I doubt walking into an operating theatre would go down too well 😛

    • Yeah. Especially since I tried to go to UPENN hospital once before to ask where the coma patients are kept, what visiting hours were, and what the response time was for a code. I was kind of treated like a terrorist. (It should be noted that I forgot my business cards that day…)

      • I need to get some business cards sorted out :-/ that is something that holds my research back a bit. I don’t think I’d get away with going on the London Underground and taking lots of pictures. We also don’t really have guns over here so I don’t k ow how they sound and kick etc. that sucks!

      • As an American, I think “We also don’t really have guns over here so I don’t know how they sound and kick, etc.” is simply adorable. Haha.

        Anyway, I ordered my business cards from Vistaprint. Not sure if they’re an international company though.

      • My girlfriend uses vista print, they’re just beginning to get noticed over here. This may sound daft but what have you got on your card? Name, writer, website and email? Something like that?

      • It says,

        Ava (Jordanna East)erby, Author

        The front features the same logo as my blog header. The back is my Blood Read Press logo, but faded so I can write on it if need be.

      • That’s on my to do list for later in the year, a graphic designer but at the moment I’m trying to focus on getting fiction finished 🙂

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