Thursday, December 11, 2008

New Beginning 585

In retrospect it should have been plainly evident, even obvious, especially to an academic from Boston’s celebrated Trent University Hospital, but the diagnosis didn’t occur to Dr. David Randall, not until it was too late.

The sounds were out of synch as Randall sprinted downstairs to the ER, and the colors seemed overly vivid. What could have happened? Barry was young, still just a kid, really. Referred to Randall’s refenterine study by that Sarah Ellis. He’d seen Barry only yesterday afternoon. What had he missed?

Through the windows in the swinging double doors, Randall saw that Sanjay Patel was on. They’d been interns together. Barry was intubated, bagged by a figure in mask and scrubs. Patel murmured to a young--resident, he must be--up on a stool doing chest compressions. The resident nodded once and stood down.

"What happened?" Randall gasped as he joined the team.

"You're too late," said the resident.

"You mean--"

Sanjay nodded, grim-faced. "Yes. This plot is DOA."

Opening: Scott.....Continuation: khazar-khum


fairyhedgehog said...

I want to find out what happened: who Barry is, what's wrong with him, how Randall missed it, why it matters anyway, but I think this could be cut to make it clearer.

For example, the gist of the first paragraph is: "The diagnosis should have been obvious to Dr. David Randall but it didn't occur to him until too late." I wonder if you can leave some of the other details until later?

I don't know what "refenterine" is, but that may be because I'm British, and I'd be inclined to leave out the parenthesis in the third paragraph.

Nice continuation but I'd like to know what really happens next.

Evil Editor said...

Unchosen Continuation:

A few minutes later, after helping the team clear up, Randall carried on along the corridor to the little Family Waiting Room. The boy's parents sat there, his mother ashen and in tears, his father sitting upright, dignified, but a tremor at the corner of his mouth. This was the worst part of the job.

"I'm sorry," Randall told them. "We did everything we could, but with cluster headaches like that, you just can never tell. We couldn't reach the specialist in time..."

The doctor cursed himself again. If only someone had told him about Tylenol, they wouldn't have had to amputate.

"I know this is hard for you." Randall addressed them both. "Would you like to see him?"

Barry's mother nodded, tears streaming down her face.

Randall put the duffel bag he was carrying on the table and began to undo the zip.


Evil Editor said...

The first paragraph plus the first sentence of paragraph two give the impression that Randall is sprinting downstairs because the diagnosis has now occurred to him, and he's hoping he's not too late. But the following sentences indicate that he has no idea what the diagnosis is. Perhaps you should drop the first paragraph; you can tell us later that it's Trent U Hospital, and the rest of what's in that paragraph will soon be obvious from Randall's future actions/thoughts/dialogue.

Sarah Laurenson said...

Interesting setup. I'd love to know more.

No idea what refenterine is either and it's hard to pronounce fast the first time, so it really slowed my reading down. Not necessarily a bad thing though. I like learning new words. Except when I try to find out what this means, I only find mention of your work on this and other blogs. Is this a real word?

There seems to be some backstory awkwardly spaced in with the action and I found it more confusing than grounding.

Anonymous said...

I also think dropping the first paragraph might be better. 'Plainly evident, even obvious." seems to repeat without adding anything. And I had the impression from the query that the diagnosis wasn't plainly evident to Randall for some time after Barry's death.

The second 2 paragraphs strike me as tense and clear. Minor point: '*That* Sarah Ellis' makes me wonder what's important about her, and it looks as though we're not going to get back to that point for a while.

none said...

Presumably "referentine" is the new drug that's being tested; shouldn't it be capped though?

I'm not sure that there's enough difference between "plainly evident" and "obvious" to justify using both.

What sounds were out of synch? What colours? Be a little more specific :).

Chelsea Pitcher said...

Holy loaded first sentence Batman! I have to agree about the evident/obvious thing. If you keep this paragraph in, maybe something like:

In retrospect it should have been plainly evident, but the diagnosis didn't occur to Dr. David Randall until it was too late.

As it is, the plethora of commas really tripped me up.

I also feel like the fact that Sanjay and Randall were residents together could be put somewhere else in the script, when the pace isn't so urgent. As it is it sort of slowed what would otherwise be an exciting pace. Same for: "young--resident, he must be." Randall's guessing at the young attendees job title didn't do anything for the fast pace.

writtenwyrdd said...

This isn't bad, but reading it doesn't give a clear sense of the situation yet, and the details are not used to best effect. By that I mean that you have an opportunity here to feed us individual details that fill in the picture. That's how you show instead of tell, by choosing the right details and layering them on.

If you condense and make it clear whether the doctor is rushing to save the boy in the nick of time or not. That seems to be the story, not the angst over diagnosis, not the hospital name.

For example, start with paragraph 2, completely omitting #1 as extraneous to the moment.

"Dr. David Randall sprinted down to the ER [hoping he wasn't too late.] He'd seen Barry only yesterday. he was just a kid. [add in action such as:] He hit the swinging double doors [full speed], saw Sanjay Patel [doing something medical][location reference like 'in bay #3'] with the little boy. Barry was intubated, bagged by a nurse in mask and scrubs [why a mask if not in surgery?]. Patel [looked up as Randall crashed to a halt by the bed, grasping for the chart. "How bad is it?"] Patel murmured to [the nurse] doing chest compressions. The [nurse/EMT] nodded and stood down.
[Patel says something like, "He's gone, Dave."]
"What happened?"

writtenwyrdd said...

Oh, and I meant to say that I liked this as an opening spot, and that all I think this scene really needs is focusing. Keep working at it!

Anonymous said...

Great ideas, Minions and EE.

Refenterine is the fictitious experimental drug.