On Fangs for the Fantasy’s post:- “Mental Illness and the Non-Neuro-Typical in Urban Fantasy”

Fangs for the Fantasy has a post over at their blog titled “Mental Illness and the Non-Neuro-Typical in Urban Fantasy“. I highly recommend it.
This applies to my short story The Ace of knives that I just sold, where I feature mental illness in a dark fantasy context. I have a novel I need to finish where the mental illness is in a fantasy context; but here are the quotes that came at me from the computer screen.
The mentally ill are often freakish horrors that add to the protagonist’s misery and torment until they can escape the unjust abuse. And that “unjust” abuse is important – because we’re expected to care much less about the torment of the mentally ill inmates; the “justly” abused.
Yes. THIS.
The cryptic information resource is one way the non-neurotypical are used to stretch out the plot, another is the random, unpredictable or even whimsical mentally ill person. They can be relied upon to stretch the plot in any direction because they do not make sense. The idea is that a mentally ill person will do ANYTHING and doesn’t need a motive (or a coherent one) because MENTAL ILLESS.

This not only advances the trope of mentally ill people being completely random but also adds to the very common and highly damaging trope that mentally ill people are dangerous.

And this is serious. Mentally ill are still being unnecessarily hurt and killed in encounters with law enforcement.

And this bit on lazy writing:-

The use of mental illness in this way is obviously dehumanising. The mentally ill person isn’t there to be a character – they’re a roadblock. Their mental illness isn’t a developed part of their character, it’s a convenient tool with which to extend the plot line for another week or so. They could be replaced by a faulty search engine or random severe weather or some other random, impersonal event. The use of mental illness in these plot lines is laziness – “mental illness” becomes an answer to any questions, a way to stretch the plot when there isn’t enough storyline, a way to add random events when they can’t be logically incorporated and a quick dash of motive for a bad guy who the writers can’t be bothered to characterise.

More on lazy writing:-

These are not characters, they’re roughly used tools, narrative tricks and lazy writing – and the result continues to perpetuate toxic tropes that continue to stain how we treat the mentally ill in society

Down in the comments, @fionnabhair says something which I agree with:- “It’s not so much relief at not being “crazy”- though with the stigma surrounding mental illness, that might still be a factor- but relief at knowing one’s senses can be trusted.”

You can follow Fangs For the Fantasy on Twitter at  @Fangs4Fantasy.

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Went to first Mad Pride book launch…

… Two authors launched their books today:- Tomasz and Sarafin .

The thing that almost floored me was the transition they did, as I did, to being (heard the word ‘agnostic’ also being bandied about) “sorta atheist”.

Once you’ve been sway to the power of the mind, and what magical thinking can do, you can see where things fall flat in terms of believing in God, and the line between critical thinking, and how ideology of that sort is where thinking tends to… stop. It occurs to me I had a more succinct, eloquent way of putting that on the bike ride home, but I didn’t pause to commit it to paper. I’ll edit this when words aren’t failing me…?

Don’t get me wrong. I write fantastical fiction, speculative fiction, and I appreciate folklore and religion; one of my fave books is still Kahil Gibran’s The Prophet.  It’s just, as Sarafin said: religion’s more something you appreciate at a distance and don’t take seriously. (I don’t take it at all; I think it’s a system of control)

Tomasz’s reading from his memoir was powerful and elicited responses. One person was outraged at what he had to go through, and said so.

Sarafin’s reading had laughs. She uses humour; it is a graphic novel, after all. But I was personally left with the heavier reading of the two. Most likely because I’m having a heavy sort of week; I may expand on that later.

Oh; and the link to Mad Pride. http://www.madprideto.com/

And now, to kill pixels. Off to game.