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!

30 Days of Writing–Day 27: Appearances

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27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

Appearances do not normally play a big role unless the plot requires or implies it.  For example, Dori from My Fair Vampire is…drumroll…fair.  She also has gold and red tones to her hair for a very specific reason that I can’t really give away here.

Gayle from The PURE, I made tiny and blonde because I wanted her to be stereotyped as helpless and dumb when in fact she was neither of those.  She had a wayward tongue that was misconstrued as ditzy but that made her triumph over the bad guys all the more fun because they didn’t see her coming until it was too late.

Shelby from All’s Fair just needed to be pretty, someone who leaned on her good looks when advantageous, bristled when dismissed in the brains department.

Neely from Sins, I have not yet visualized other than she’s someone who wouldn’t attract much attention.  She’s someone who could fly under the radar for twenty five years, giving no indication of who or what she was capable of.  I suspect when I do sketch her out, she’ll be average–average height, average weight, brown hair, brown eyes, medium length hair.

For my male MC’s, I am unapologetically shallow–they are all tall and good looking specimens of manhood with big…hands and feet.  (Shame on you for thinking I was going to write something else.)