How to Write Science as Entertainment

From Publishers Weekly:

As a doctor, writer, and mother of a middle schooler, I was ready to scintillate the sixth graders when I volunteered for the chicken wing dissection class, demonstrating the exciting connection between muscles and tendons and bones. I opened and closed the wing, placed it in their hands, showed them the thin strips of tissue coordinating all the action. Did I see fascination? Excitement? Feigned interest of any sort? Sadly, no.

Surely they’d want to hear about my journey to becoming a doctor, then. And they did. But they were much more enthusiastic about a different topic they were studying: mythology. Greek gods, beasts with multiple heads, fathers who swallowed their children whole—they learned about all of it in school, but they already knew everything there was to know and then some.

Why? Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. If there was an obvious career path involving mythology, they’d be all in.

Fiction provides a framework to make any piece of information interesting and entertaining. Most information is interesting on its own, but it’s inevitably much more enjoyable when embedded in a story. Add action and suspense and humor and a kid who could be any of us, and we are captivated. But is there such a fiction series about medicine? The human body? Ailments and health? The excitement of biology or chemistry or engineering or math? Excluding books that deal with video games, very few.

. . . .

I set out to create a thrilling tale weaving in maladies, much like the Percy Jackson books weave in mythology. In The Antidote, 12-year-old Alex Revelstoke discovers a family secret: he can see disease. And not just disease—he can also see injury, illness, and anything else wrong with the body. He sees skin melt away to reveal the organs beneath, much to his shock and horror. He comes from a family of doctors with this extra gift, going back generations, helping, healing.

Link to the rest at Publishers Weekly

1 thought on “How to Write Science as Entertainment”

  1. Nice to have a new wrinkle on magic powers. I’m always up for that (I’ve got a microbiome-based magic system in my current not yet released series myself).

    Shame about the formatting problems with the book description on Amazon (lots of missing spaces between words that were once probably at the ends of lines where re-flow wasn’t noticed), after all this publicity. How many people will look and leave because of it?

    Details. Quality is partly in the details.

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