So I’ve been maintaining this blog as my health and time allow for a couple of years now. I looked back over the statistics and realized that despite my health hiatuses and extended periods of forgetting this place exists over the last year, I’ve had over twenty thousand visitors to this blog. I feel both awestruck by that number and vaguely guilty for not devoting more time and attention to this endeavor. I am also a realist. The time to work on content that meets my expectations for usefulness, accuracy, and entertainment value isn’t going to magically appear (unless one of you readers would like to send me a Harry Potteresque Time Turner watch? No?).
Besides the time factor, there’s the issue of expertise. Questions keep trickling into my inbox. I love answering people’s questions, whether by email or here on the blog. It gives me an opportunity to stretch my research muscles, to learn something new, and to shrink that list of stuff I do not know. A few of the questions I get, though, fall pretty far afield of my own areas of expertise.
Here at Muse Medicine, we (and by that I mean me, since I’m the only one here right now) define an expert as someone who has sufficient specialized knowledge to locate answers, interpret the jargon, and, ideally, translate both into a format that people without that specialized knowledge can understand and use.
I have plenty of expertise in medicine, psychology, childbirth/pregnancy, and lactation, but very little in combat, law, geology, high-tech computer stuff, industrial security, and herbal remedies. Trust me, the list of what I do not know (yet) is practically endless. This is a good thing! More to learn.
So, for those of you who have questions in non-medical fields, or who look forward to shrinking your own “don’t know” lists, I’d like to announce some very exciting news! Over the coming weeks, I’ll be introducing experts in a number of fields who have agreed to answer your questions and do occasional guest posts on topics of interest to writers of all stripes.
Please continue to forward all questions to me via the “Ask Your Questions” page. I’d also love to hear any topics you’d like to see covered from any of the fields we have contributors for. Interested in black holes? Want to know more about Small Pox or the procedures used to set up secured computer facilities? Let me know and I’ll see what I can do.
Please keep in mind that the guiding principles of the site still apply:
The site is free…
…but the time of the volunteer contributors is valuable and given as they see fit. Be polite. Demanding emails or comments are unlikely to generate a lot of enthusiasm.
Realize that your question may not be something they can or will answer. I’ll make every effort to have someone get back with you if you send me a question, but I don’t have Stephen Hawking on speed dial. Plus, some concepts are just too vast and require too much base knowledge to cover in this format.
Be aware that turn-around time will vary wildly, depending on how busy that contributor is, how many other people are asking questions, and how long it takes me to track somebody down.
The advice is for fiction ONLY
The advice given here, on any topic, should be considered as generalized and for the purposes of fiction writing only. (Notice how that was bold and italicized? Very important, that bit).
No advice here is intended for use on real people or animals, real problems, or real world situations. Legal and medical advice is strictly for fictional use only and not intended for diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for legal counsel or medical consultation.
Consider this a place where you can broaden your horizons, deepen your understanding of concepts, get exposed to new ideas that can germinate into stories, and find suggestions for dealing with your own story problems or starting points for doing your own research.
Contributors are human, too
All advice and information, no matter how well intentioned, is generated by human beings. Fallible human beings. That means that while we won’t steer you wrong on purpose, you should use due diligence in fact checking anything you see here if it is pivotal to your story. Ask us, and we’ll point you toward a starting point.
That said, if you see something that you feel might be an error, please let me know in comments. I strive to maintain the accuracy and usefulness of information presented here, whether I write it or not.
Altruism is awesome. So is exchange.
The contributors will be giving their time freely to help you out. This does not obligate you to buy anything, donate to their college funds, or raise their children. That said, it might be nice if you checked out their websites if linked, and/or let them know in comments here or at their main sites that you are reading and appreciate them. It is much easier to maintain interest in an volunteer endeavor if you get feedback from people who benefit from your hard work. Much harder if the words seem to be falling into a void.
One final note: If you are an expert in a field, broad or narrow, and would like to contribute to this blog and/or answer questions from other writers, please contact me. All contributions are accepted, pending editorial review by yours truly and are required to maintain standards of accuracy, usefulness, and readability (ie, tell the truth about stuff people care about without boring them to death).
As always, feedback on this or any other post is very welcome.