Doctors, like police officers, are also pretty common characters in a few of my stories that I hope to share with you in the future. Dr. Dani Hart, from 30 Seconds, is my first doctor to make it into the publishing world. And I’m pretty damn proud of her as a character.
Here are 10 things to keep in mind if you want to create a doctor character:
Picking out a name for your character is always a big deal, more so when your character has a title. Find a name that can work with Dr.
What kind of doctor will your character be? There are pediatricians, orthopedics, cardiologists, neurologists, and a general practice doctors. The type of doctor your character is will influence the rest of your story and what your doctor does.
Does your doctor work in a prestigious hospital, private practice, a trauma center, or community hospital? Even if you don’t reveal the name of the hospital, you should mention what city it’s located in as that’s a major factor of your setting.
Your doctor won’t be alone at the hospital. Include a Chief of Surgery, Attendings, Residents, interns and nurses. They can be minor characters or even passing characters that your readers will hear about maybe once or twice.
If your character is a doctor, he/she will spend a lot of time in scrubs, a white coat, surgical cap and gloves when he/she is in surgery. But give him/her opportunities to wear other clothing, too. It’s always nice to see a doctor in a dress or suit.
Follow your character during his/her shift. Have him/her go to the locker room, exam rooms, operating rooms, the cafeteria, and even a call room where your character can rest during a brutally long shift.
7. Night Shifts
A big part of being a doctor is having long shifts and working the night shift. Write about how a night shift can be slow in one moment and chaotic the next. And don’t forget to show the impact a night shift (or a 24 hour shirt) has on your character, it is physically grueling.
Show your character with patients he/she has to treat and interact with. When you’re doing this, you have the opportunity to delve deeply into the patients’ illnesses and pain by describing how they react, what they look like, and what they do to reveal how sick or hurt they are.
Have your character perform (or assist with) surgery. You don’t have to describe every detail of the surgery, but knowing a few things about the operation and what your character will have to do if something goes wrong would be a good idea to make it real.
Your character can not be easily stressed or grossed out (unless he/she is an intern.) Doctors and nurses deal with vomit, feces, and other unpleasant things every day. Make your character tough, intelligent and quick thinking.
TIP #1: Research medical procedures and terms.
TIP #2: Watch movies and TV shows like NY Med, Grey’s Anatomy, ER, and Night Shift. Read books about doctors, too.
QUESTION: Do you have a common character type in your stories?