I have written a fiction novel about an adolescent who commits suicide. The story explores the childhood abuse from her father that pushed her to suicide, what she and her mother have done to try to overcome her trauma, and why those attempts failed.
In the story, I explained why psychotherapy repeatedly failed and made her feel worse. Instead of only having flashbacks to her psychotherapy sessions, I also had her and a friend of hers debate a panel of psychologists who came to her school.
Because one of my degrees is in Psychology and because I often debated my professors, including a section on debating psychologists was instrumental towards explaining why psychotherapy failed.
My difficulty, however, lies in the fact that because I studied far beyond what the degree required, and because I have a vast wealth of knowledge about academic psychology, the debate against the psychologists became technical.
I had also studied Philosophy and the thinking skills I learned from it helped shape my arguments against Psychology. Unfortunately, that made the debate in my story even more technical. The protagonist’s friend is an intellectual, and that’s how I provided an explanation for someone on her side in the debate having that sort of knowledge. Unfortunately, as much as I tried to simplify the discussion and add tension, it still ended up very technical in some parts. I’ve seen how philosophers like Sartre and Camus were able to simplify their ideas into fiction; but those were very broad, general ideas.
How do I include specific technical ideas in my fiction when those ideas are helpful to explain the story? Are there any tips on that? Do I have to remove them? Even presented in the middle of an emotionally charged dialogue, exposition – especially technical exposition, weighs down the story flow.
I remember Melville including technical aspects in Moby Dick. However, modern writing culture frowns on that. I hope to be able to keep those aspects so that readers who are uninterested may skim or skip over it to sections that are non-technical.
Your advice is appreciated.