30 Days of Writing–Day 28: Disabled Characters

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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 written a character with a physical or mental disability unless being a lousy vampire qualifies.  If that’s the case, then I’d throw Dori in that category.  Her “disability” is really more of a vampirism incompatibility issue but nevertheless, it earns her the contempt and impatience of her fellow vamps.

I enjoyed writing Dori as this woman who’d been dealt a pretty bad hand since the day she was born.  Being turned into a vampire was yet another rock the universe hurled at her.  However, her struggles to fit in and survive without compromising her principles made her, I hope, sympathetic rather than pathetic.

I’m not giving much away by stating that she prevails in the end by embracing her uniqueness rather than force-fitting herself into the expectations of others.  I suspect this is how most disabled people not only cope but ultimately thrive.

I’ve not had any other characters with disabilities.  All have had their limbs, wits and senses intact.  I think it would be interesting to have a protagonist with a disability, especially in romance, because we don’t see it too often.  And being plain is NOT a disability despite what Jane Eyre would have you believe.  Tessa Dare shocked me with a deaf heroine in Three Nights with A Scoundrel.  She didn’t let the reader in on this secret until well over a chapter into the book, if I recall correctly.  I thought that was pretty cool.  So my next novel (after NaNo) will be speculative fiction / sci-fi set in the post-apocalyptic, subterranean future, wherein my heroine is virtually blind when she leaves that world for a steampunkish world in the clouds.  Ha!  How ’bout that for a disability?  Crazy, crazy!

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