With so many new writers today, everyone is trying to stand out and shift away from the norm. While in the last century, many novels focused on normal characters. Today we see all sorts from all different walks of life. Lately I’ve started to notice a trend of “disabled” characters.
Of course, with this growing trend is a growing number of insults. When something as serious as a disability isn’t written with taste, this can be pretty offensive to others. But this post isn’t for judgement. Rather, for tips as usual.
Anyway, if you want to focus your story around a character with a disability/illness, here are some tips on how to be accurate and respectful:
1. DO RESEARCH: I made this mistake in the first draft of my most popular novel, Knowing You’re There, in which Lia, my mc, is blind. Research the problem your character has. It’ll be a lot easier to write instead of going off mere assumption.
2. SHOW US, DON’T TELL US: While it’s always important Im general, this is extra important for introducing your mc. Instead of saying something like “I’m deaf,” show your character using sign language.
3. A DISABILITY ISN’T A DEFINING CHARACTERISTIC: people with disabilities are no different than anyone else. They have their likes and dislikes. Make sure not to focus your story around the fact that the person is disabled, and instead around what is going to happen to them.