Cluster, my effort for this week’s #fridayflash, was written in response to a writing task set by Chuck Palahniuk in his Writer’s Group essay ‘Using “On-the-Body” Physical Sensation’ over on chuckpalahniuk.net. The task read ‘create a character’s headache without using any words such as ‘headache, pain, migraine….” research into headaches was encouraged in detailed instructions. While I think I probably failed the task, especially regarding the use of the word pain, as the research for the piece was undertaken in the week building up to Anti-Plagiarism Day, I thought I would make a point of acknowledging my sources.
Google (a writer’s best frenemy) led me to:
- a Wiki on Cluster headaches, where I first read about the so called ‘suicide headaches.’
- an article on Cluster headaches from abc news
- a video on eHow describing Cluster headaches and how they differ from migraines featuring Dr Alexander Mauskop of the New York Headache Center.
- an article describing the tragic suicide of one Cluster sufferer.
The notable elements taken from these sources and used in my story are:
- the list of medical terms used for the headaches in paragraph three – taken from the Wikipedia article.
- the descriptions of symptoms and behaviours exhibited by sufferers used in paragraph one, four and five – taken from the Wiki, the video and the abc news article.
- the idea of suicide as a terrible last resort for long term, chronic sufferers seeking respite came from all sources, but most notably the last article I list.
Writers use research all the time, which is where the acknowledgements at the close of a non-fiction text, novel or collection of short stories comes in. Check out How Publishing Really Works’ Anti-Plagiarism Day post for links to various examples, definitions and stories of plagiarism.