NOTICE: Posting schedule is irregular. I hope to get back to a regular schedule as the day-job allows.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Plot Devices... [Full link to blog for email clients.][FT:C44]

The new chapter of The Lab Rats' Guide to the Brain is all about diseases and disorders of the brain.  Since this is a guide to writers (as well as readers), some attention will be paid to how to describe and use these disorders to further a story or to provide an interesting background for a character. 

For example, the suspense author Dean Koontz has had protagonists with extreme photosensitivity, Asperger's Syndrome, or been blind.  The story is not about the disease or disorder, but the consistency of the characters actions within the context of the disease/disorder are what make the character real, sympathetic, and make the reader care about what happens to the character.

This new section will lead off with a discussion of Attention Deficit Disorder  and work through the following list:

  • ADD & ADHD
  • Autism and Asperger's Syndrome
  • Addiction and Drug abuse
  • "Blow out" - stroke and aneurysm
  • Amnesia, agnosias and aphasias
  • Epilepsy
  • Migraine
  • Fibromyalgia
  • Hansen's Disease (leprosy)
  • Multiple sclerosis (MS) and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS - "Lou Gehrig's Disease")
  • "Whats'is-name's Disease" (Alzheimers)
  • Myasthenia gravis
  • Blindness, Deafness and modern prosthetics
  • Bionics
I would also like to have reader questions and suggestions that will be blogged under the heading:
  • Dr Welby and Dr. House's "Disease of the Week"
These should be questions about "unusual" diseases and disorders and can include general discussion of how popular media likes to latch onto unusual and bizarre medical cases.  If you don't get the TV references, Marcus Welby, M.D. was a TV show from the 70's which featured a kindly family practitioner who was sort of a "kindler, gentler" as well as more accurate version of today's "House, M.D." Dr. Gregory House employs a Sherlock Holmes approach to rule out 2-3 misdiagnoses (much to the detriment of medical and scientific accuracy) before discovering that the patient was "bitten by the rare blue-bottle fly in a particular Louisiana bayou under a full moon, and has thus developed an even more rare foaming blood disease!" 

...and as always, I welcome reader questions and comments!

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