Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Writing Hitch

Have you ever been plugging along and come upon a major writing hitch that gave you reason to pause?

This happened to me yesterday. I'm really making strides in my re-write of my WIP. I've got all sorts of new goals and motivations and conflicts that are really making the story come to life (according to Katie, the only person who has read the new version so far).

But I needed to sort of explain the motivation of the hero in simple terms and that motivation comes in the financial world...meshing with insurance and benefits and health care plans that I KNOW ABSOLUTELY NOTHING about.

So I highlighted the section and kept plugging along, because I didn't want to lose my momentum. I finish the chapter, send it off to Katie, and of course, while Katie is critiquing she writes, "What's this highlighted for?"

Which lands me right back in that place of confusion. I NEED AN INSURANCE EXPERT.

Good thing my father happens to be one. So we start talking this morning about all the possible scenarios that might happen if a man were to leave his wife (hero's mother) and leave her with nothing. And when she's in need of long-term care, there's no money. But what if they had gotten a divorce? Wouldn't she get 50%? What about if the man just stops paying the premium on the policy and the hero was too young (and the mother too grief-stricken) to really pay attention to things like long-term care policies? Is there such a thing as a signature oversight that would render the hero's mom insurance-less (not a word, I know, but go with me)?

Needless to say, my head is swimming and I'm not even sure I've got a handle on it yet.

Add that to me trying to do some research on the Internet yesterday about long-term care facilities (specifically assisted living homes in California). In order to get pricing information I had to fill out some forms online (which I put my real email address but a bogus phone number) about who I was and who I wanted to put in a home. So now I'm getting emails from eldercare specialists about putting my mother away! Sorta funny...but you do what you gotta do.

Q4U: Has this ever happened to you? How did you solve the hitch? And do any of you think you can explain this insurance thing to me? :)

Wordle: signature


Rachel Hauck said...

Happens to me all the time. In fact, I'm struggling with it now.

In your case, it's not uncommon for a wife to be left uninsured after a divorce. I have several divorced women who are not insured by anything of their husbands.

Maybe it depends on the state in which you live.

The husband could leave the family, insure the child until 22, then no longer be responsible. The mother/ex-wife could think she's insured but not. Or, has never been able to get long term care, or her employer dropped long term care.

My hubby has weird liver reading that prevents him from getting life insurance. He's perfectly healthy, doesn't have any disease, but this one reading scares the insurance company. Even his doctor tried to address it, but they won't insure him.

Your heroine could have that as an issue.

:) I love brainstorming.


Katie said...

RAchel just gave an awesome answer - does that sort of help? This happens to me all the time, and unfortunately, I hate reserach. I wish I could insert some sort of micrchip into my brain while I write my stories that provides me with all the info I need to know about my MC's professions, then take it out when I'm finished wriitng. I should get going on inventing something like that, no?

Hope the glitch gets worked out soon. And I can vouch for Jeannie - her GMCs rock!

Jessica said...

Well, I know nothing about insurance, but I did have this happen to me with a manuscript. I had the hero visiting a kid in prison, tutoring him actually, when someone pointed out that my situation wouldn't work. I call the local jail and they confirmed that my several scenes of visits were implausible. Sigh. So I had to rewrite. It happens. :-) Good luck. I'm sure you'll find a way to tweak things.
I just made my hero a visitor instead of a tutor and while it changed certain threads, it was the least painful thing to do. LOL

Jill Kemerer said...

Yes, I come across snags several times in my manuscripts. Sometimes it's for things I thought made sense but realized later made no sense at all. Fun stuff, huh?

As for insurance--it's terribly easy to be uninsured. Sad but true. Just stop paying the premium and you're out!

Jody Hedlund said...

Ha! Your research is just too funny!! I love it! I'm glad I write historical because I would hate to investigate insurance issues. Medieval torture methods and how to make ale are much more intriguing!

Cindy said...

Yeah, this happens on occasion. I usually do what you do, mark the section, move on and come back to it later. I really hate when my flow is disrupted. Right now I feel like that because I am editing one manuscript and writing another. Going back and forth isn't usually to hard for me but this time it is.
Sorry, I know nothing about insurance except that it costs a lot!

Eileen Astels Watson said...

I often have to highlight sections, research, then go back to it.

As for insurance specialists, not sure if a Canadian specialist is any good to you, but my hubby is an actuary and has worked in the life insurance industry for 20 years. He's an AVP for SunLife. If you have specific questions, send them to me via email and I'll have him tackle them. He'd be honoured to help, I'm sure, and he's home today on holidays.

Jeannie Campbell said...

wow...thanks for the helpful insurance knowledge! who knew it could be so fun being so diabolical in figuring out what struggles to give our characters! surely this says something about me...

Tess said...

I love reading books that 'teach' me something (not overtly, of course)...but writing them sometimes sucks. Good luck with your insurance info search. It looks like you might have some help here in the comments already. Isn't blogging great?

Lady Glamis said...

I know nothing much about insurance, so I can't help much, but I'm very happy I live in this day and age where so much information is readily available. Research is an amazing journey of its own!

Jeannie Campbell said...

i hear you, tess. blogging is great...i got some great ideas from rachel, too! (thanks for stopping by, btw!)

glam - research is an amazing journey! one that makes me wish i could stop the hole up in my head to actually remember everything i dredge up. :)