Resources for Writers
Writing about Disability by Paul Anthony Shortt
Last time, I talked about the importance of representing mental illness properly in fiction. Well, another issue which is close to me is that of disability. Being married to a wheelchair-user opened my eyes to many issues and daily challenges which I had never considered before. And, as a writer, it’s all the more important for me to take this into account.
It’s quite easy to relegate disabled characters to archetypes, whether they be diabolical or inspirational. But we must not forget that we’re still writing about people. A person who has a disability is not defined by that disability, any more than you or I would be defined by the colour of our hair or our height.
So here are some links to help you get it right.
1: Getting it Wrong – We can’t learn what to do right until we know what to avoid, so start with this look at the ways disability can be poorly-presented.
2: Dos and Don’ts of Writing About the Disabled – This excellent Lithub article comes from the award-winning author, Nicola Griffith, who happens to be disabled, herself. It should be considered essential reading.
3: Depiction of Intellectual Disability in Fiction – Not all disabilities are visible, or event physical. An understanding of intellectual disability can help you break out of tired clichés.
4: 10 Captivating Books That Portray Disease and Disability Through Fiction – Back to The Mighty, for a look at some books which have done outstanding work representing characters living with a range of different disabilities.
That’s it for this week. Good luck.