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Disability, Differently-Abled and the Weight of Words

Atlin Merrick Differently-albled Disability Disabled Diversity in Fiction

Improbable Press' submission guidelines as for books, novellas about differently-abled, neurodivergent, and LGBTQIA+ characters.

Those words are mine, Atlin Merrick's, and I have a question for you about the phrase differently-abled.

My idea behind that term to broaden the scope of what writers might think of as disabled. By differently-abled I wanted to include my friend with almost-daily migraines, a person with chronic anxiety or depression, as well as a person with a wheelchair or born without a left hand.

Disabled Fiction, Differently-Abled Fiction…Or?

I did not ask disabled people for their thoughts on the phrasing, something recently pointed out to me, and so I want to ask your thoughts, especially if you identify as disabled, because the entire point of Improbable Press is to tell great stories about people we don't yet read enough about—that means disabled people, too.

If you are disabled, how do you see the words differently-abled? Inclusive? Not inclusive? Why please?

We can't include every inclusive phrase, but the ones that we're already including—like differently-abled—can be replaced with something better.

If you are a person with chronic depression, or life-altering migraines, or who uses a wheelchair, what do you think would suit Improbable Press' submissions page?

After reading on the topic I do want to change from differently-abled to disabled, yet before I do that I want to ask you, so I'm asking here and I thank you for answering.

Disability in Fiction

IP wants to tell the stories of characters about whom we don't read enough.

So if you've got a great story of adventure, science fiction, contemporary supernatural, or romance with a disabled character or characters, have a look at our Improbable Press' submission guidelines to see if it'll suit us, then send it to us!

And because we're going to be updating this blog often in the new year, we'd love it if you also sent us links to your own blog if you think a topics suits, or share URLs to things you think is interesting for writers and fandoms.

Happy new year!

Some of my reading:

* How "Differently Abled" Marginalizes Disabled People
* 4 Disability Euphemisms That Need to Bite the Dust
* Respectful Disability Language

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