Monday, February 8, 2010

Going to the Dentist for Inspiration --Elisabeth Rose

My parents took us to the dentist for regular check-ups when we were kids and I still go, albeit reluctantly when the reminder card arrives in the mail. My dentist has taken to sending peaceful postcards of mountain streams and rainforest groves in an attempt to lull patients into the acceptance of a visit as a pleasant pastime.

It wouldn’t convince my sister-in-law. She dreads her check-ups. The dentist rang her husband once after she left, to see she drove home okay. She’d been white knuckled in the chair and a shaky mess after the treatment.

I like my dentist. He has my favourite classical music station on the radio and hums along while he pokes about. Last year he asked what I’d been up to so I told him about my books. His reaction to the news I wrote romance was that of great interest and he asked what I was working on at the time. I told him I’d based the story on an idea I had while attending my niece’s recent wedding but I’d become stuck on a plot point. I needed my hero to be forced to stay on in town for a few weeks after being best man at a wedding instead of leaving to go home. I’d thought of having him break his leg or becoming ill but those solutions meant he was either limited in movement or incapable of being romantic enough to win the girl.

He nodded and hummed and said, “Open wide.” Half an hour later, me with a replaced filling and a numb jaw he said, “Give him a root canal.”

Apart from being amazed he’d actually pondered the problem while doing my filling, I thought about it on the way home. It was a really good idea, meeting all my requirements, and after researching and asking various people who’d had it done I used it. Fortunately I have a writing friend who is a dental assistant to provide technical details.

That story is with the Avalon editors at the moment waiting for a verdict. It’s called The Wedding Party. I had huge amounts of fun writing it. Nothing like someone else’s trials at the dentist to give you a good laugh, albeit squirmy. Especially when you’ve had your own turn. My poor hero, Brady—but he gets the girl in the end so his suffering is worth it. And it serves him right. He didn’t go to the dentist regularly!

I just hope my editor likes it!


Zelda Benjamin said...

We can all relate to going to the dentist. It's amazing where we find devices to create conflict for our characters.

Sandy Cody said...

Now, that's an original source of inspiration! Too bad AU is so far away. I'd seriously consider changing dentists. I'm in need of a little inspiration right now. Your post illustrates an important point, though: writers are always writing.

Jane Myers Perrine said...

Lis--what a great story! You have a full-service dentist!

Carol Hutchens said...

Love your post...isn't it great when you connect with someone about your writing? Best of luck with the book.

mulligangirl said...

This is great. Inspiration does come in the unlikeliest of places. Of course, at first I thought you were going to tell us your dentist was a major hunk – and wouldn’t that be inspiring?

Elisabeth Rose said...

Hahahaha--no, not a major hunk more's the pity. Who will be the first to write a dentist as their hero-- Hmmmm?

Sandy Cody said...

Maybe dentists are better left to us mystery writers.