The Writer's Connection, SM
a publication of The Virtual Writing Coach SM
In This Issue:
2. Publisher's Note
3. Working with Authors
4. Getting into Action
The Writer's Connection explores the creative process of writing and the interplay between thoughts, feelings, and actions. We are an interactive community of authors and readers who share ideas to enhance our knowledge, skills, and experiences in writing fiction in any genre, but our emphasis remains mystery and suspense thrillers.
Published monthly, the Newsletter offers writing tips for authors, coaching suggestions, editing, and marketing information.
Topics are presented from the perspective of Keith Barton and represent only his ideas on producing your first manuscript, and are provided to the general public. Because we are an interactive community of writers, other viewpoints are welcomed and may be printed in future monthly newsletters with permission from Keith Barton.
2. Publisher's Note
Dear Writer's Connection Subscriber,
This month features information about working with authors.
3. Working with Authors
This month I wish to share with you what it’s like to coach a writer from start to finish from the inception of an idea to publication. I had the good fortune to work with a doctor who has a successful gynecological practice in Houston. He is a rare breed having gained his undergraduate work at Boston University and medical training at Baylor in Houston. After twenty years into his very successful practice he decided to return to school to obtain a Masters of Arts in English Literature. He has taught literature at various colleges in Houston and is an adjunct faculty member at Baylor College of Medicine, teaching medical students the finer points of working with women in distress. Many of his patients suffer not only from “female” problems but must deal with physiological changes throughout their lifespan. This clinical reality gave him an idea for a book which was to chronologically define the various issues that women deal with throughout their lives from their first menstruation to first pregnancy, dealing with childhood and being a mother, relationships with husbands, menopause, aging, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
We decided on using actual composites of various patients throughout the above lifespan. Instead of presenting a hard clinical description of problem and intervention, we used a fictionalized composite of real presenting problems to bring a richer, more personal account of what women face throughout puberty, childbirth, mid-life, and aging. The reader could then identify more readily with each of the women (aliases) presented. For example, he chose the following topics: introduction, pre-adolescent years, adolescent years, young adults, the pregnant years, the adult years, midlife and beyond, physicians, and conclusion.
The purpose of his book was to inform, educate, intrigue, and inspire the reader on women’s health issues in a narrative form using composites of case studies in a clear and non-technical approach. In Pre-adolescent Years, mother-daughter relationships area woven into a story and suspense is created when a doctor fears a possible, although rare, pediatric cancer. Child abuse from rape and the resultant social and legal issues of sexual assault are incorporated into the story when the patient, now a young adult, returns to the doctor/narrator who had treated her as a child, confirming both her physical and mental well-being after surviving a heinous childhood event.
The Adolescent Years include two stories: Cindy is a teenager who develops a severe eating disorder while Carrie deals with the destructive behavior after witnessing the tragic loss of a friend. In the young adult section, two stories are presented: Janet decides to terminate her pregnancy, while Lisa opts to give her child up for adoption. Both women accept their decisions and remain close siblings; the story emphasizes parental support and acceptance of a child’s individuality and empowerment.
The Pregnant Years include three chapters: Lucy is a woman, who early in her pregnancy confronts the harsh reality of domestic violence. She faces a life-threatening event that involves herself and her unborn child. Alice is a pediatric nurse who is childless and suffers a recurrent pregnancy loss secondary to lupus. The story’s climax evokes powerful emotions within the reader. Laura is an obstetrical patient who courageously deals with her grief after the sudden unexpected death of her husband early in her pregnancy.
The Adult Years deals with Cathy, Jill, and Anna. Cathy is a divorced single mother who undergoes an emergency operation and ends up with a life threatening complication. Her postoperative complications reveal the overwhelming anxieties experienced by the patient’s family. Jill is a nurse practitioner whose life becomes disrupted by the realities of her husband’s alcoholism and her own situational depression. Anna deals with career changes and the resiliency of marriage.
Mid-life and Beyond deals with Lynn, Vickie, Helen, and Betty Jo. Lynn and Vickie are childhood friends, now married with separate careers, families, and circumstances that bring them together again. Each woman faces menopausal symptoms in different physiological and psychological ways with the risks and benefits of hormone replacement therapy and alternative options explained to the reader. Helen has ovarian cancer with issues of family support, and personal courage dealing with death, dying, and hospice care. Betty Jo is an eccentric patient who undergoes a surgical procedure and leaves the hospital against medical advice. Her unconventional “country” ways for healing result in a successful treatment and education of hospital staff.
The last chapter deals with the complex and dynamic relationship between physicians that might compromise professional integrity. Dr. Raymond is a young doctor on a hospital staff who demonstrates an unfriendly and detached attitude towards his fellow physicians. He is grieving a personal life which is revealed when he is attended in surgery by a fellow physician/staff member who assists him in saving the life of his patient.
The concluding chapter focuses on the interconnection between science, art, and the human condition. It is a prerequisite course for medical students on the art and medical ethics for practicing physicians. The human spirit is the overarching theme in this last chapter.
I hope you’ve enjoyed the “preview” of Dr. Randy Birken’s book. It will be available this next spring in bookstores. The tentative title is: For Women Only: Clinical Stories by a Gynecologist.
Getting into Action:
1. Go to a booksigning at your local bookstore and talk to the author about how he or she got the idea for their book.
2. What do you do in your life that might be of interest to others if you were to dramatize and fictionalize your experiences.
3. Read a true, inspirational book that touches on universal themes; watch for the connection between the author's story and your own.
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Keith Barton, Ph.D.
(c) Copyright 2010 A. Keith Barton, Ph.D.
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The Writer's Connection SM Mission:
The Writer's Connection SM is dedicated to helping first-time authors create their first manuscript for publication and to offer an exchange of ideas and opinions from our readers who might be interested in becoming authors.
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About Keith Barton, Ph.D.
Dr. Barton received his Ph.D. in 1972 from the University of Texas at Austin and has been a practicing therapist for over thirty years. He is currently enrolled in MentorCoach and is accepting new clients. He has been an adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, consultant to Fortune 500 companies in executive development, founded and managed Texas Community Living Ventures, Inc., in 1986 for providing group home services to persons with mental retardation, and has been running a clinical practice in Northwest Houston since 1990. He writes part-time with the goal of completing one novel a year. His desire to coach others derives from his passionate interest in helping others become attuned to their creative powers of storytelling.
Dr. Barton has training in coaching, cognitive and family therapy and health psychology. He has published articles, made presentations and conducted workshops about:
Anxiety and achievement
The relationship between psychology and spirituality
Copyright by Virtual Writing Coach and Keith Barton, 2001-2010.