How to Write a Healing Scene


Part One

  1. How long has the character been ill? Talk about that briefly.

»A. Healing is a process that takes time. And depending on how sick the character was, this particular time becomes very valuable. The scene becomes much more intense for the reader.

I. What sickness do they have and how did they get it? Sickness doesn’t have to be physical it can all be mental.

II. How did it affect your character’s life and what toll did it take on their family and friends. Were there any treatments given to make the sickness go away?


»B. Where does hope stand in all of this?

I. Has this healing come as a surprise to the character, doctors, loved ones? Were they meant to get better in the first place? Talk about the thoughts or conversations in the past they’ve had that made them hopeful for healing or a cure to be found. If the opposite, talk about how they were preparing to die and how afraid they may or may not have been.
II. Any trinkets, friends or pets they kept around, relied on when they were sick? How that person/thing going to play a row with the character’s healing process? A person might talk to the sickly everyday, write them notes or letters, talk about the future as if it would be perfect, keep them updated about things they’ve missed out, remember great memories with the character. A trinket or object will give the character hope by maybe kissing it every night, rubbing it several times, keeping it by their side, naming it, changing it, etc. Show how the emotions of the character changes when they are with and without their healing tool.

III. Are they making plans for when they are better? Maybe return to school, become famous, play a sport, start a family… How are they looking into the future? Does everything seem blissful or will healing only make thing worse for them. Worse in the sense that they might not get as much attention or sympathy from people anymore, or they have to return to work/school, etc, no more being served food in bed everyday. In this case the hope is not there.

Part Two

    1. How is their body changing inside and out?

»A. When a person heals a majority of the time it isn’t only the inside that changes or the outside.

I. A character who has a disease in the immune system, DNA, or a tumor, they will change on the inside but also the outside. Their hair might grow back. They will look healthy, brighter, full of energy, smiling. A character who has an illness outside the body such as chicken pox, other skin rashes, scrapes, and scars, they will change inside. Might feel more calm, restful, reassured, at peace, mentally healthy for sure.
II. Does anyone notice the change and say anything? How does that comment make the character feel? Write what they say in return or thank the person for making them feel better. Also, a person can help heal the character by making them feel alive, or rejuvenated. Does anyone do that for the character?
III. Does one part become worse than the other? Sometimes when healing occurs one part of the body can become worse or the pain can be transferred. For example, your character has a tumor taken out of their foot but then experiences neck pain. Or the pain on the rights side of their head becomes worse even though the left side had always been more of a problem. But after being healed that changed.


»B. How is their life changing step by step. Elaborate.

I. When a person heals, things change all around. They may move out of the hospital, start working again, go back to school as stated earlier. With healing, however, note how going back to these daily tasks feels almost like PTSD. And, it isn’t until they are fully healed that these activities will become normal to them again. If they worked at a salon, instead of standing up to do hair maybe they sit in a chair or do less hair than normal while they are still healing. At school they may drop classes or ask for mercy from their teacher.
II. A character who has broken a bone might not walk up stairs anymore and take the elevator. A person would go to physical/occupational therapy if needed. How much strain is this putting on the character while they are trying to get better and is there any relapses because of the added stress they endure while healing?

Part Three

    1. Is your character truly prepared for healing?

»A. Believe it or not, sometimes healing is so painful that some people rather stay ill. Or the risks involved seems to outweigh the good.

I. What are the fears of getting better and is there anything they have to give up in order to get better? Once they become better how will the quality of life be different from what is once was?


»B. What have they lost since becoming ill? What have they gained? What will they lose when getting better and what will they gain?

I. That may have sounded a bit confusing. Let my give examples. A person who becomes ill can lose the things in life that make them feel confident, complete and satisfied. I’ve listed a few in part one and two. Although, they can gain something in replace. Such as a support system, a new-found love of life, empathy to people who are sickly, a mate, a friend, discovering a cure, a new passion for life, a believe in a god. The list goes on.
II. When someone heals, they lose something. Whether it’s the things they gained because of being ill that they no longer need or are granted such as extra income or a support system. Other loss includes emotion like fear, anguish, pain. A loss of a body part, a place to stay, so forth. Except, they can gain peace, a better quality of life, joy.



Part Four

    1. The actually feeling and psychology of healing depends on what the illness was.

»A. What does it feel like for your character to heal –- I mean physically what does it entail?

I. Someone who was paralyzed and learning to walk again will possibly experience torn ligaments, muscle spasm and tears, heaviness in the lower area, numbness, tingling as they try learning to walk again. A person with cancel or a disease will feel sharp pains, headaches, nausea, tightness. These are only a few of the pains one experiences during the healing process. If you have experience or know anyone who healed from your character’s illness, ask them for further examples.
II. Describe the changes of healing from worse to better. How the tingling and numbness slowly wears down. The character who once couldn’t get out of the bed can now stand but not quite walk yet. Not because they can’t but because of the unbearable pain. Even though the progress took a month it’s still progress. A character who had brain damage couldn’t speak but now is making sounds and words. Even though they are not full sentences it’s better than what is was several months ago.
III. Have a realistic approach on how fast your character heals. Depending on their illness it will vary. ALSO, depending on treatment or if they can get the proper care. A common cold will last anywhere from a week to several weeks. It can also develop into something else or have been misdiagnosed. And because treatment had not started sooner than necessary, the person’s symptoms can increase and so will the pain. They may get better but the pain is worse than it had to be.

You can use that example with your illness if you want. Another one would be a character who has a mental diagnoses such as anxiety, depression, so on. The healing process can range from as little as a week to as long as several years. Ultimately, there is no time stamp. When the proper care and treatment is given, or medication then the healing process and in fact happen sooner than was expected.


»B. Talk about the treatment, medication or care that healing requires.

I. The body can do great things but a majority of illness require intervention. Is your character taking medication, did they need a procedure before the healing process could even begin? Did they have to cut out certain foods to get better? Maybe they had an allergic breakout and had to find what caused it.
II. Here are some common illness/problems with health and the basic treatments they require. Please note that this isn’t the only treatment they can recieve:

Allergy- Avoiding certain foods, substances. Medicine.

Cancer- Chemo.

Broken or damaged limb- Surgery. Cast. Physical therapy.

Nerve condition or problem- Medication. Nerve blocks. Meditation.

Cold- Staying home for a few days. Eating soup. Rest.

Burn Victims- Surgery for new skin. Creams. Wraps to sooth skin.

Mentally Diagnosed Patients- Medication. Psychiatrist.

Tumors and cysts- Minor Surgery. Such liquid out with a syringe. Acupuncture.



Part Five

    1. Life is brand new again. What is the first thing they want to do that they haven’t done since losing their health?

»A. All better I presume? Imagine yourself being sick for as long as your character has been. Based on their personality, however, what would be something they couldn’t wait to do while they were ill?

I. Kissing or hugging a loved one. Walking, running, the things they hoped for in part two, are the things the reader can now see come to light. What has your character been wanting to do?

II. Is there anything they refuse to do again or do at all? If the character was injured playing a sport and went through a tortuous healing process, will they want to play the sport again? Use this same scenario for any other illnesses or pain the character healed from.

III. How are they treated in the community and how are they treating others? Were they once a scrooge and an angel? Has the community shunned them when they were ill and now love them now that they are healed? How has healing changed their personality, their character? For the better? Or for the worse?


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