Let’s talk about representation!

Forums Fiction Characters Let’s talk about representation!

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    Naiya Dyani

    @corine I personally don’t think it’s a problem to write disabled people when you don’t have the disability. You should definitely do your research thoroughly, though. I’ve taken ASL 1 and 2 and learned many interesting things about modern-day Deaf culture, as well as watched and read things that make deafness and some of the details of it easier to understand. So it’s easier to write deafness (hopefully) realistically, since I have that background (though I took ASL for school, not writing!).

    It would also be a good idea, if possible, to have someone with the disability to go over it as well. They can help you catch issues you might have missed on your own and give you a better (albeit individual) perspective.

    Hearts are like matter--they can be beaten down, torn, and burned, but they cannot be destroyed.


    @sarah-inkdragon I love that you brought up the perspectives on wars—that’s definitely a whole facet of representation. And while I take very definite sides in both those wars (actually, in every war we’ve been in), glorification and over-simplification of war are, and will probably always be, big problems in books. That’s something that needs to be represented properly. And in every war, there’s always good guys on the bad side and bad guys on the good side. Writing off entire nations—you just can’t do that, ever.

    Oh oh! *waves hand around begging to answer* Yes, it’s always most important to just do your research and then portray them to the best of your ability. If you are trying your honest best, that’s always better than just leaving them out. And what about those who’ll never write their own stories? My brothers with Down syndrome will probably never be able to write a novel about it, and it’s so something that needs to be portrayed.

    So, in one of my books I have two wounded warriors—one’s a double amputee and one’s an incomplete quadriplegic. I personally have no idea what either of those are like, but I’ve read about it a ton. So I can’t give the same perspective as someone who’s actually been through that, but I can do my level best. Honestly, I’m having a harder time with my current WIP, in first person from the perspective of a character with severe PTSD. I’m terrified of messing it up. But I keep reading and researching and I’m determined to do the best I can.

    So I guess I’d say the best way to write it is to really read up on whatever you’re wanting to portray—get as familiar with it as you can. If you’re anything like your character, imagine how you’d handle that situation. My double-amputee has my same personality, so that made it slightly easier in that sense. My boy with PTSD has a very different personality from me, so in a way, you just really have to lose yourself in your character and learn how they’d respond. Mainly, just do your research. Even if it doesn’t turn out perfect, if you’re doing the very honest best you can, that effort will show.

    Yeah…kinda shoved this to the back burner, but I’ll be around every once in a while. 😉

    I ask where he got these crazy ideas anyway
    He just smiles and says, it’s the way that I was raised

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