i've decided to do a new series: writing tips. this will simply include resources that i've found useful when world-building, thinking of plots and writing detailed characters.

writing disabled characters

the fact is this: we live in a wonderfully diverse world full of different people. however, disabled characters are severely under-represented in most fiction, particularly deaf, blind or developmentally disabled characters (such as autistic people or downs syndrome). in this article, i'll talk through the do's and don't's of writing characters with a physical disability.

the basics

the biggest thing that people do wrong when writing a character with any disability is that their disability their only personality trait. a disability is NOT a personality trait, and should not be the only thing that drives your character forward. a disability is simply a fact about your character - such as having brown hair or blue eyes.

however, a disability might have shaped the way your character is today - for example, in my story we fall in love or we die, devon santos was diagnosed with ocd at 13. because of this, she feels like she can't connect with people as much as her best friend, toriah, does.

this brings me onto another topic - research. never ever ever write blindly about a disability. this is especially key if you do not experience the disability yourself. when writing about devon, i did a lot of research on ocd because i wanted her to be a raw portrayal about how she deals with life. no matter how much you think you know, there is always more to discover!

how can i make sure i'm writing the disability correctly?

tumblr is your answer! seriously, there's a huge, diverse writing community full of people who will be willing to answer your questions. i've linked a few posts that might be helpful to you below, but obviously sometimes you won't find what you're looking for there. i'd recommend the nhs (national health service of the uk) website for some non-fiction reading. they have some great pdfs and articles about a huge number of disabilities. also, there are bound to be some news articles showing life from the point of view of the disabled person.

case studies

disclaimer: there are more disabilities out there, obvs! i'm putting these here because these are more 'popular' to write about. i do not have any of these disabilities apart from mild hearing loss. i am not in a position to tell you that any of these articles are truthful. do your own research, kids!

deaf/hard of hearing: https://artattemptswriting.tumblr.com/post/168567651639/writing-deaf-characters-speech-is-speech

autism: http://autisticadvocacy.org/ (this is one of the most reputable sites)
http://www.autism.org.uk/

blindness: http://writinghelpers.tumblr.com/post/40981318403/hey-there-im-trying-to-write-a-blind-character

stammer:
a stammer (or a stutter in the usa) is when a person talks like this: "i-i-i don't like chocolate"/"i don't - i don't like chocolate"
http://www.starfishproject.co.uk/index.htm (AMAZING!)

albinism:
i'm putting this here due to the amount of times i see it incorrectly portrayed in fanfiction/online writing. it is NOT just 'being pale'.
http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/post/101298673432/representation-of-albinism

http://writingwithcolor.tumblr.com/search/disability is a great page to look - they have hundred of posts to look at and the navigation system is excellent.


this was a long-ass article, but i hope it helped you!

have a gr8 day! :)