28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there’s nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.
I have not, not yet. I’d like to write a deaf character someday: I studied ASL a little in college and I think it’s a beautiful language, and I’d like to play with that in a story at some point. I haven’t thought up a good plot yet.
And here’s where I admit I don’t know many people in the deaf community myself anymore and I don’t know how realistically I could write about it just using memories from college. And of course, the ASL I remember best are things like “slower please” and “I just know a little” and “I don’t understand.” Oh, my skill at languages is so … nonexistent.
(But OMG watching people sign is like watching people dance. Gorgeous.)
Mental disabilities…that’s even harder, really, to write about realistically without personal experience. Write too far one way and it’s like a Very Special Episode; write too far the other and it’s demonizing the other. Either way, it’s not something I’ve dipped my toes into yet, and I’m not sure if I will. Maybe if I were more interested in gritty realism instead of escapism.
Originally published at Jenna Jones.com. You can comment here or there.