View Full Version : Unnamed sickness or Name the disease?

Nomadic Intent
06-27-2010, 03:48 PM
Hi all,

Guess the title speaks for itself. My MC is suffering through a disease in its early stages, namely Huntingtons but for the sake of story i have kept the WIP nameless in its description. Other diseases are included and are named for the other characters, but as for the MC his has remained nameless.

Was wondering if fellow peers and readers will find it off putting if its never named despite its symptoms prevalent to the story? Personally i don't need to know the name if i know someone is suffering with something - but do care for its symptoms and general well being.

Any thoughts would be appreciated!

06-27-2010, 04:11 PM
If you, in your story have a strong reason not to name the disease, then don't. It would have to be a strong, logical, and legitimate reason, not the one you mentioned above. Having your MC suffer through the symptoms of Huntington's coria, and keeping the diagnosis from the reader would simply confuse and aggravate him. You don't want that, do you?

Nomadic Intent
06-27-2010, 05:21 PM
Thanks for that RJK.

I guess my fear of naming HD is that i fear the retribution it might provoke on those unfortunate people and families who have to deal with it on a regular bases.

As mentioned, the MC is in his early stages, so symptoms are still developing. AT this stage he is still mostly 'fairly normal.'

But this character is weak, and does not have the strength that real life HD suffers i have seen carry. They have many videos of HD suffers and its effects on loved youtube.

I fear that by portraying a weak minded HD suffer might provoke a backlash in their community.

06-28-2010, 01:57 AM
If you are honestly worried about hurting someone, you might rethink what you're planning to write.

If you're just worried about having people yell at you, get over it. No writer can please everyone.

06-28-2010, 02:01 AM
I would want to know- but then again I work in medicine-

06-28-2010, 02:18 AM
I'd want to know, even though I'd figure it out anyway.

Drive up to Cessnock/Maitland and do some research. There's a high concentration of people with Huntington's in that area. Or head over to the University of Newcastle. They have an excellent Master of Genetic Counseling program. I don't think you'll find anyone who'll be offended if you name the disease. On the contrary, awareness is a positive thing.

You'll annoy your readers if you don't name it.

06-28-2010, 02:32 AM
If the MC knows what it is, and there are other characters whose conditions are named, then, yeah, it would annoy me if it were left nameless. To be honest, I'd suspect that the writer was going for some vague 'Love Story disease' so that the symptoms could be manipulated to suit the story.

06-28-2010, 02:34 AM
I think if the MC experienced a chain of symptoms, even non-specific ones and didn't consult medical advice in order to obtain a diagnosis ... especially with there being a strong genetic component at play here (family hx etc), then I'd be a bit puzzled. If they DO obtain a diagnosis, you can't withhold it from the reader, 'cos that's keeping secrets.

Also, if the book takes place during the early stages, then who's to say that the MC wouldn't develop greater strength as the disease progresses (and they get a definitive diagnosis). People can whine about having a cold, but then become pillars of strength when you tell them they've got cancer ...

Hard to know, without knowing more about what you're trying to achieve.

06-28-2010, 02:48 AM
My Brother In Law died of Huntington's. It is not pretty, nor is it quick. I've spent now quite a while typing stuff and backspacing over it because it...ah hell, I dont have the energy...let's just say that diseases suck.

06-28-2010, 04:38 AM
I would want to know- but then again I work in medicine-
I'm with Shea, but then again, I could probably infer what it may or not be based on the symptoms.

If you have reasons that are strong enough for not mentioning the name in the story, then by all means, don't mention it.

06-28-2010, 03:18 PM
I would want to know. After all, if it's a major part of the story then why not name it.

And, if your going to worry about upsetting or offending people with your work, then you may want to rethink being a writer.