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Another novel writing question about disability


Well-Known Member
V.I.P Member
How do you make a story more general

Or not specific to a topic that nobody really reads about

For example I’m talking about special education in my story and I don’t want to have to refer to the specific terms that people might have to keep looking up or get confused by Or at worst cringe at

it’s hard for me to explain it myself

I’ve been hearing these terms like IEP and special education another terms that are very specific most of my life

I’m trying to write for a general middle to upper middle school audience

If you need any more information to answer this question please let me know because I’m not sure if I fully explained it

all of my characters are pretty much in seventh grade. I believe one of them is in eighth grade now as I mentioned earlier in another post this story is going to be about bullying possibly gay bashing and bullying towards the handicapped The main protagonist has cerebral palsy ,One is typical but gay one is autistic ,one has Down syndrome One has an intellectual disability and the other one is what would you call typical

Also one of the characters is coming to terms with the fact that they have an intellectual disability

Like during the novel she is diagnosed by the school and is moved to a special-needs class

is there anywhere I can go to Or anyone that can possibly put an insight or input

On this subject

i’m trying not to use the terms very specific like IEP .. things like that and I’m trying to touch on Things like therapy And diagnostic terms And sort of brush through it like write it but not make it so like the focus

and I’m also trying to have the bullies in my and the character have reasonable insults

The only thing I can come up with for the bullies to say the far is the common r word and spazz Things like that and I also I have had. one of the bullies called the character that is friends with the main character with CP a para and saying things like Where is your communication board but I feel that feels to forsed And it’s not general enough
Say for example in a story like this, I would mostly try to ignore how the character's health issues impact them while constructing the basic story (except for things specifically driven by it). At the end of the day we all have relatable experiences even if sometimes what causes them is difficult to relate to.

Focusing on the universally relatable elements of the character's experience will likely help make it more relatable to people who aren't in the same boat as the character.

Unrelated, why take the approach of assigning everyone one trait, since it seems at least a little bit like it's treating being queer as though it's an issue of similar magnitude. Considering how folks with ASD appear to be somewhat more likely than average to be LGBTect it seems reasonable that a character could be queer and have ASD or whatever.

Further, a lot of kids have issue that have yet to be diagnosed, so having someone discover they meet the criteria for being diagnosed based on their struggles might be more relatable (and realistic) than just everyone starting with labels already applied. For a kid dealing with some sort of issue upstairs that will result in a label being applied, seeing someone else deal with it might be more helpful than just seeing someone dealing with already having a label.
Like the last post. They are saying grow your character discovering their disability. Or plural. Maybe put a love story in to help carry the plot along. Or a budding friendship. Insults can be insults. They can make fun of hair, weight, pimples, normal things. Being smart can get you bullied. Having body order can get you called names. Having a mother who has some flaw is another thing that will mark you. Being too pretty will get you called slut. I actually got beat up by a girl because she was jealous of guys giving me attention. I also got called stuck up because l never smiled. I was incredibly shy, painfully shy. So think back in your experiences too.

Of course, your fan☺☺
Show lots happening, is my best tip. Don't give background information much, just show what they are like through action, have them go on a trip to somewhere with the bullies, have them at sports day, show what happens instead of explaining it.

I agree the specialist terms only need sprinkling in, just to get the idea without making things technical.

Yeah would a bully know about the board probably not, or maybe would they describe it meanly, like, where's your little baby spelling board? Because they're mean and they like to hurt people's feelings and put them down.

This is a great idea, just keep thinking it out, making it real.

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