Thursday, September 22, 2022

How My Education Levels Up My Writing

white, lab, plastic tray holding a line of 13 filled blood tubes with red caps

It can seem as if all writers have degrees in writing or literature. Professionals who knew they wanted to author books and have the certificates to say they are legit. But that’s not the only way into this industry. 

My formal education was in Clinical Laboratory Science and yes, it comes into play when I write! How fun is that?! Absolutely geek out fun, for me! Especially since I don’t lab it up any more.

So, what parts of my lab degree do I actually use as a writer? In The Mars Strain it’s pretty obvious. I wrote that story about a lab girl who saves the day. I used real technology, lab lingo, and testing—sometimes with a dash of imagination thrown in. But I actually use my medical background in all my writing. 

My current WIP is another sci-fi thriller about a biologically engineered drug. Even though my main characters aren’t lab people, they live in a society that has been genetically altered and are dealing with an attacker that is exploiting those traits. Once again I’m balancing the line between giving enough real-life medical detail and suspending belief in the futuristic. 

Wait, don’t I write sci-fi and fantasy? Why yes, yes I do. And I have to be careful with my anatomy descriptions when I’m crafting fantasy. But what magical tale is complete without a healer? Healers know a lot about the body: how they work, how to mend them, and how they break. 

I still love the medical field and find it fascinating. And I’m grateful that I chose my lab background because it has given me a great base for me to spin my tales from. But degree or no, I wouldn’t have any books written without an imagination. 

If you have stories to tell, it doesn’t matter what educational background you have. It may mean you’ll need to self educate on the technical aspects of writing, but stories come out of living. And only you have your perspective. 

How have you used your background in your writing?

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