Writing blind/deaf characters?

Forums Fiction Research and Worldbuilding Writing blind/deaf characters?

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • Author
    Posts
  • #122367
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    (Okay, I don’t know if this belongs in Characters, but it is a research question, so I’m leaving it here.)

    Hi everyone!

    I’m planning two new characters for my Fantasy WIP, one is blind and the other is deaf. There were several specific questions I’m curious about, but any information or resources are very much appreciated. I’ve done as much research as possible (There are some excellent articles written by people who are Hard of Hearing/Deaf and people who are blind.) But I can’t find information about certain subjects. It’d be a great help if anyone has any information on this.

    My WIP is set in a (loosely) medieval time. Both are reasonably minor characters, (Neither are POV characters).

    The character who is deaf is the mother of one of my side characters. (I haven’t named her yet😅) It’s a family of three, the mother and her two children. Neither of the children are deaf or HOH.

    I was wondering, how would they communicate at home? They have a form of sign language and I think the mother can probably lip-read. (I’d appreciate it if anyone has any more information on lip-reading.) Would the children always use sign language out of respect? Or perhaps speak and sign, at the same time? How would they talk if there was a visitor? Would the deaf character also be mute?

    The character who is blind is a girl, about fourteen of fifteen. I’ve named her Nesrin. She’s an orphan, so she takes care of herself. I think (I haven’t quite decided yet) she lost her sight when she was about eleven. What would be the causes of blindness? Perhaps a disease? Since she lives in a town/small city, how would she find her way around? How would she navigate?

    Thank you so much for reading this, and I’d really love to hear your opinions. Please, please tell me if I made any mistakes.

    "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." ~The Book Thief

    #122395
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @rose-colored-fancy

    Hello, Rose! I love this question and I think it’s a great one. To clarify, before I give my thoughts, I’m neither deaf nor blind, but I have done a lot of research and I have a particular interest in Deaf culture and am enrolled to begin studying to be a sign language interpreter next year.

    First of all, if you’re on any form of social media, look for deaf and blind advocates/educators on there! I use Instagram mainly and there’s heaps on there (i can give you some specific names if you want). These people have great tools, resources and just general info, as well as adding a personal aspect to things you might only read about in health articles, making it much more real.

    To specifically address your question about the deaf mother, it definitely depends. You could try looking up the term “CODA”. It stands for Children of Deaf Adults, and there’s plenty of resources online, specifically YouTube, that talk about what it meant for them personally to be Hearing and yet having a Deaf parent/s. All of the things you mentioned are possibilities and I would just suggest doing some more research on each option, what it would entail for the mother, kids, other family, and then deciding which works better for your narrative. (here’s a link to an interview about being a hearing child with deaf parents https://www.hearinglikeme.com/being-a-hearing-child-of-deaf-parents/ )

    Now onto Nesrin! She definitely could have gone blind from an illness or disease. Real world things like scarlet fever could cause blindness, but some other options are cataract, glaucoma, being cut or scratched on the eye and developing an infection, or head trauma and brain injury. She also could have been born blind.

    Her navigation probably isn’t that much of an issue, if she’s adapted well to her blindness. The most common navigation aid for blind people are canes and this has been an aid for blind people for thousands of years. Heaps of blind people are able to live alone and with a great level of independence. However, also consider that she may not be 100% blind, as in unable to see anything at all. Many blind people are not “completely” blind and especially if she was suffering from a cataract, or head trauma, she would probably be able to see a little.

    Anyway! That’s my thoughts! 😀 Sorry if I infodumped a little 🙂

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

    #122396
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @seekjustice

    Hi, Chelsea!

    Thank you so, so much! That’s exactly what I was looking for! Those are some great resources, and they help me a lot.

    Thank you for taking the time to answer!

    "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." ~The Book Thief

    #122400
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    Hi! I’m mostly useless on these topics, lol, but I do have a couple of thoughts I can share.

    What would be the causes of blindness? Perhaps a disease?

    Retinitis pigmentosa is a genetic eye disease that can come on slightly later in life. Molly Burke is a YouTuber who talks about her experiences with it, if you want to learn more; she started to go blind in her early teens.

    Since she lives in a town/small city, how would she find her way around? How would she navigate?

    I have no direct ideas for this, but a couple of authors who have written really good blind characters (at least in my sighted opinion) would be Maris McKay and Beth Wangler. The former has a blind character in her fantasy romance short story collection, Women of Kern: Book Two (which is written for adults, so there are spots it gets a little more adult than is ideal. Overall I prefer Book One, but it’s not helpful for this ;P); and Beth Wangler has a blind character in her Steward Stories anthology (which is just all-around good). Both blind-POV stories include modes of navigation that might provide some inspiration.

    I hope you’re able to find the answers you need! 🙂

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    #122413
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @r-m-archer

    Hi!

    Thank you so much for replying! It helps me a lot!

    Thank you for mentioning Molly Burke’s YouTube channel! I checked it out and it has a ton of information I need.

    And thanks for the book recommendations!

    Also, I checked out your profile, and your WIP’s sound amazing! I especially love “The Masked Captain”! It sounds great!

    "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." ~The Book Thief

    #122438
    R.M. Archer
    @r-m-archer

    @rose-colored-fancy Happy to help!

    Oh man… My profile is… almost two years old, apparently? XD I should go fix that. I’ve been wanting to pick The Masked Captain back up and edit it, though, so that’s cool! 🙂

    Fantasy/dystopian/sci-fi author. Mythology nerd. ENFP. Singer.

    #122455
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @r-m-archer

    It sounds really awesome! I love the plot idea!

    "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." ~The Book Thief

    #122460
    Chelsea R.H.
    @seekjustice

    @rose-colored-fancy

    No worries! Glad I could be of help.

    Mahalo keia huiʻana

    #122486
    Naiya Dyani
    @naiya-dyani

    @rose-colored-fancy

    AHHHH I think the others have pretty much covered stuff but I’ll just say this makes me excited. XD One of my main characters is deaf, and I’m also very interested in Deaf culture and topics, so it’s super cool to see someone else writing a deaf character!

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

    #122492
    Rose
    @rose-colored-fancy

    @naiya-dyani

    It’s so cool that you’re writing a deaf character too! I wasn’t sure about this character, but I think it’ll be interesting!

     

    "I have hated the words and I have loved them, and I hope I have made them right." ~The Book Thief

Viewing 10 posts - 1 through 10 (of 10 total)
  • You must be logged in to reply to this topic.
Story Embers

Pin It on Pinterest