Research Tool: Web MD Symptom Checker

Today, I have a gift for the research interested writer (if looking for medical ailments) and all fellow hypochondriacs. I love tools that can broaden your thoughts on how to injure, maim, or kill your fictional characters.

ill-womanWhile perusing the Internet, I found a symptom checker hosted at Web MD.

How can we use this for fiction?

Start by inputting the age and sex of your character. Then select a body part by scrolling over the animation. You can even do the backside. Pick a body part and then the tool will zoom in on that area. Now you can pick a more specific area and it will give you a list of symptoms. There may be some you’ve never heard of.

Once you pick from this list, it will give you a list of potential diseases that can cause those symptoms. After you pick a disease, input this over at Google University and see if it will work for your novel.

Maybe your male character presents with the classic heart attack symptoms: chest pain, left arm pain, chest pressure, and sweating, but you don’t want him to have a heart attack. You want to confound the medical team. This would be a good way to find some alternatives.

My novels generally have a medical mystery at their core and I found this tool a good way to open up the medical possibilities. I hope you find it useful as well.

If you checked out the Symptom Checker, leave the age and sex of your character, a few symptoms and one disease it came up with in the comment section.

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