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Writing an ebook about EMS. Here's the intro. Tell me what you think.


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So I've been writing an ebook about balancing family life and being in Volunteer EMS. I am not a professional author by any means, so I'm looking for some constructive criticism. Here's the intro. Please let me know what you think. The book is intended to help people balance their life as a volunteer EMT and their family life.

Here we go…..

All of a sudden you feel the vibration, and hear the loud ear piercing sound. The sound you’ve grown to love like a drug. OK – maybe not all the time. But most of the time, for sure. You patiently wait through the static. You wait the few seconds that feel like eternity for the microphone to key up. Finally a voice. The voice of the not so excited dispatcher. He calls out “Volunteer ambulance, please respond for a 9-E-1, cardiac arrest at 123 Main St.” At first, you almost can’t believe it, until he repeats “please respond for a 9-E-1, cardiac arrest at 123 Main St.”

Now the panic sets in. Why the panic, you ask? This is only my second call. My first (the day before) was an “imminent birth” that turned into a nervous first time mom with Braxton Hicks contractions. Needless to say – that call was not as story worthy. Back to the panic…..The crew I was riding with on this Saturday was a veteran crew. Two EMT’s, a driver and me (the know nothing probie).

As we screamed down the road in the ambulance, I had many thoughts going through my head. What the hell do I do when we get there? How will I react to this? Can I handle this? Why did I leave my house and family on this Saturday morning? What seemed to be an eternity in the rig, was only two minutes in reality. But the nervousness and the unknown seemed to draw the time out. Soon after leaving headquarters we arrived on scene. I jumped off the rig with the rest of the crew and grabbed our oxygen bag. In my few days I have already learned it’s not good to leave the rig empty-handed. We ran to the door and entered. Our ALS first responder was already inside, and informed us that this patient was “signal 50”, which means DOA (dead on arrival).

I was confused. “isn’t that what we are here for?”, I thought to myself. Why are we not doing anything? As I’m thinking this to myself, I am looking at our patient, who was in her sixties, blue and lying on her back, surrounded by pills and vomit. Then I glanced at her husband, who had just woken up to find her like that. It was then I realized he was thinking the same thing. Why aren’t they doing anything? Why are they here if they are not going to help her? I think we both knew the answer, but didn’t quite want to accept it. As the gentlemen grew increasingly upset, a police officer walked him to the kitchen for a seat, and to ascertain the necessary information. Knowing I was wet behind the ears, the first responder pulled me over to the victim, rolled her over and began to teach me about obvious death. He pointed out how her back was blue from lividity (blood pooling), and also how her head and arms moved right with the body since they were stiff (rigor). It was then I realized she’s been dead for hours, and there was no chance we would ever bring her back. No wonder we didn’t start CPR.

Soon after my lesson, we left. As we walked out the door I looked at the man one last time. When he saw us leaving I think he finally realized why we were not doing anything. He began to cry, and glanced back at us with this look. The look spoke a thousand words. I interpreted it as “you let me down, but I know there’s nothing you could have done.” That’s exactly how I felt about it anyway. As I climbed back on the ambulance, I felt a little nauseous, and saddened. It was a quiet yet quick ride back to headquarters.

I remember when we got back, the rest of the crew continued with what they were doing prior to the call. They then proceeded to have breakfast. I could not eat. At least not right at that moment. It took me a couple of hours to feel comfortable eating. It wasn’t that the scene was gruesome. I think it was more the new feeling of being a part of something like that. To realize that doing this job means you are going to be a part of some stranger’s worst day. You will be there when their “unthinkable” happens. When their nightmare will become reality. I think that’s why I felt the way I did.

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So is that the prologue or the first chapter?

I'd like to know more about how you are going to help the provider balance volunteerism and life outside ems/firefighting.

What is your experience? What can you offer the newbie emt who just got into this line of work?

How long have you been in the business? ARe you a volunteer or a professional responder?

Basically, what can you provide to the reader that they cannot go out and get today at Barnes and noble?

I also would not post your book in a piecemeal fashion here. YOu need to establish a core group of people you trust on this forum or outside it that won't steal your ebook idea and use it as their own. There's a lot of stealing of ideas out there and I'm not saying that anyone here will do that but that's what we have copyright laws for. So get a group of trusted people and have them review your book if you are planning on publishing it.

IT would suck if you went to all the trouble of writing this gem and someone decided to steal it and publish it out from under you after you posted your work here. You might be on to a best seller, probably not, not many get a best seller, but who knows.

Good luck.

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First of all, I`m not all sure about this (never really got into this stuff, for I`ve never come near to publishing yet), but I seem to remember that agencies don`t look kindly on work that`s already been published, even in a piece-meal fashion (doesn`t matter wether it was in a non-profit way). So best look those issues up before continuing posting (if you`re serious about this).

Secondly, you need to establish what kinda style you wanna write your book in, and what your intent`ll be. Right now, it reads like a bit of a diary, which is cool in short passages, but it tends to get exhausting if this style is prolonged (exceptions exist). It may be fitting if you wanna make it really real, real obvious - if you wanna write a novel though, you might think about working on your style and include descriptions of people, places, siutations, etc... which`ll make the read more vivid and interesting.

EDIT: There`s also some irregularities in the content and writing, even in this short piece, like:

You patiently wait through the static. You wait the few seconds that feel like eternity for the microphone to key up.

He/you patiently waits but it feels like an eternity? Kinda contradicts itself.

Furthermore, I wouldn`t use as many brackets as you do (they are seldomly used in prose). Instead of using brackets, you could put these informations in subordinate clauses, which would also improve your style.

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What is your aim of the book? Is it going to be autobiographical? It seems to be headed that way. Do you have enough of a story to make an autobiography? Keep in mind that there is a difference bewteen verbally telling a story and telling a written story. Things that come across in spoken words do not come across the same in the written form. You seem to be off to a decent start but it sounds more like you are trying to speak than write.

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That sounds almost exactly like my first call. I am curious to know where you're headed with your story. My personal opinion-I wouldn't pay to read someone elses diary of exactly the same calls I have been on. There would have to be more content than just your experience stories. Again that is just my personal opinion.

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It was much better than I expected...

It's unfortunate that the medic bailed on his responsibilities and left the cop to care for his new patient instead of doing it himself, as he should have. The prounouncing of death at a scene most often begins the care for more patients, not less.

Good start Brother...though the questions asked of you above are important. You should be brave enough to respond to them.


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I've voiced my opinion for many years, that, after only a year on the job, anyone could write a book based on exerience, which the public would dismiss, as, "That couldn't happen like that."

On the other hand, a handful believe that actions such as filmed in "Mother, Juggs and Speed", or worse, "Bringing Out the Dead" is actually the norm of EMS.

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