As a healthcare practitioner, I write and write and write the stories of the people that I care for every day. I write on paper, on a computer, and on a smart phone. I use short paragraphs and dates and statements that begin with, “Patient presents with…”. Many times the documentation is read by someone at an insurance company who disagrees with it, ignores its content and requests it multiple times via facsimile machine.
In healthcare jargon, this is called “documentation.” It is very dull and it is done in a formal, stilted format called “SOAP.” It’s a way to communicate to other interested parties what happens as a patient progresses through a plan of care. This documentation is required by law to be stored for a particular number of years, sometimes in an underground climate controlled vault. Then it must be destroyed so thoroughly that no one can ever read it again. It has to stay around for a few years, though, in case a lawyer wants it for a case. Then it is pulled out of isolation to be used as proof of WHAT REALLY HAPPENED. This is the writing that I have experienced: dry, objective, and CYA.
It occurred to me a couple of years ago that there could potentially be millions of fictional stories out there that need to be documented. What a shame if the stories of these entirely undeveloped characters were never shared with a wider audience! It would be wonderful if there were interested readers following the writing instead of auditors and case managers that work for insurance companies. The format might be up to me and might deviate from “Subjective Objective Assessment Plan”. The writing could be public and it wouldn’t have to be destroyed at the end of a retention period.
If I can combine words to tell a real story accurately, can I tell a fictional one as well?