30 Day Writing Meme: Disability
August 8, 2016 § Leave a comment
Day 28 → Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities?
Not as yet. I’ve started to feel out Farha as a low-vision character. That feels to me like an element of her story that I was missing. Farha, a preadolescent girl, is one of my brave heroes who can be mistaken for helpless. Her story is about an important event in that world’s history, and it carries my recurring theme of transformation. Farha’s transformation is about the death of her twin sister, not about growing up or "fixing" her, and all that seems to me like something important to say.
I’m not completely comfortable with taking a character and saying, "poof! now you have this characteristic!" So I might ask, "What if he was born without a right arm and hand?" or "What if she lost her hearing from childhood illness?" If that creates an interesting addition to their story, I’ll test it out.
The degree to which I haven’t written characters with disabilities is proportional to the number of people I know with those traits. I’ve noticed that fact a lot, lately. It makes me feel like I’m missing out on the perspective and experience of people I would find interesting. Unfortunately, I’m not very social to begin with.