To the anon who is looking for references on writing characters with limited/no sight, I’ve been developing and writing two characters who both lose their sight completely for about six years now, and have wracked up some great information over the years!
One awesome reference is the 33 Worst Mistakes Writers Make About Blind Characters ebook, written by Stephanie Green. It’s only nine dollars, and completely worth it. It details a lot of the things that sighted people assume, or don’t even think about. It also has tips for further research, and where not to get your facts. A must for anyone writing visually impaired characters.
Future Reflections, a magazine for parents or teachers with blind children, is also a really good one! The subscription is free, too. For example, there’s a great article on blind cooking in the 1985 July-September edition that i found particularly helpful, because one of my characters takes up cooking after being blinded. It’s great because it’s written for sighted people looking into a blind child/student/person’s life, so it’s ideal for the sighted writer getting a feel for their blind character’s world.
I would also visit the National Federation for the Blind’s website, and poking around other country’s sight-loss associations wouldn’t hurt, either!
There are plenty of other resources out there, but the absolute best source is someone who deals with legal or complete blindness themselves. I’ve found that most people that have a visual condition don’t mind answering questions or helping you out (as long as you’re polite, which, duh), because there are a lot of books out there that represent blindness with a lot of inaccuracies, and that can be frustrating! It’s like a POC dealing with constant racial stereotypes, or a gay person dealing with constant Kurt Hummel characters, except there’s even less mainstream representation through blind characters. Keep in mind, however, that everyone’s experience is different, and speaking to just one person might not cut it! Multiple opinions are always better than one.
If you don’t know anyone with visual issues of the top of your head, you can visit your city’s blind and visually impaired association; most well-populated areas have one. Speak with professionals and visually impaired people alike. And, when all else fails, read blogs! There are plenty of blogs written by people that have been blind from birth, or blind due to illness/accidents. A lot of details about guide-dog training and handling, problems with school systems, courteous methods of aid, and awful inconveniences all in raw, cite-able, interactive corners of the web!
But, as you probably know, it’s important to keep in mind that, just as a person with visual impairment is more than just their impairment, your blind character is a character first and foremost! Don’t ignore development or characterization and cover it up with disability stereotypes! That only leads to more harmful misrepresentation.
I have plenty more sources, if anyone would is curious or would like to inquire about them. Thanks!
PDW - TOSHI
Las Casas Filipinas de Acuzar
Fact. I have a slight obsession with traditional Filipin@ architecture. From the traditional nipa hut and built in stilts and bamboo and wood to the traditional bahay na bato which are these styles seen above which are influences from both the traditional nipa hut and the Hispanic influences.
Writing the LGBT community can be hard, especially if you don’t know what you’re talking about. So to start off this post, here’s just a few things that are easily confused both with writers and with society in general.
- Being gay is not a personality trait. This basically means no stereotyping. Don’t make a gay man effeminate just because he likes other men, and don’t make a woman masculine just because she likes other women. While there are actual people who are like this, and it’s perfectly okay to have men and women like this, make sure your characters have personalities and not just a list of stereotypes.
- Asexual does not mean aromantic. Asexuality means that a person feels no sexual attraction. Aromantic means a person does not feel any romantic attraction. These two are often confused, but they are two very different things. It’s possible for anyone to be one or the other, or even both.
- Transgender does not mean transsexual. Transgender when a person identifies as a gender that differs from the one usually matched with their sex. Transsexual means that person is going about hormone treatment or surgery to become the opposite sex.
So those are the big three things to think about. If you want more resources to learn about gay and trans people, I’ve got this video that is a brief overview, and then The Really Awesome Trans Glossary. If you still want more information, try talking to someone who identifies as gay or transgender. As long as you’re not being offensive, most people would be happy to answer questions and provide clarifications.
With that out of the way, it’s time to address the actual characters you’re writing.
- It is perfectly fine for your antagonist to be gay. They can kick puppies and steal candy from children and be the most despicable person on the face of the earth and be gay—it’s alright. But if your character is evil because they are gay, that’s a huge problem. If you choose to have an evil character who is also gay, it’s a good thing to have a good character who is also gay to avoid any problems or miscommunications with readers.
- There is no universal “gay experience”. Don’t try to write gay or trans characters “the right way.” There isn’t one. All gay and trans people learn about themselves differently. Some people know from a young age that they’re different, but some learn it later on in life. I didn’t realize I was agender until someone told me being agender was a thing that existed.
- There’s a difference between writing a novel about gay characters and writing a novel about characters who happen to be gay. Don’t think that including gay characters means you have to suddenly make your plot about gay rights/the treatment of gays. Most people aren’t looking for that, and if they are, chances are they’ll go to issue novels for it.
- Gay couples have just as much sex as straight couples. If your features scenes with several different couples of different sexualities having sex, spend about the same amount of time with each of them. Some of the stigma that comes with gay couples having sex comes from rumors that they’re addicted to it and they have to have sex because something is wrong with them. Most people realize that it’s flat-out wrong, but there will always be people who don’t understand, and its’ our duty as writers to not promote unhealthy stereotypes.
- Don’t start shipping your characters just because you happen to have made two of them gay. This is not an excuse to put characters together. Your readers still expect them to have chemistry and work together. You wouldn’t create a relationship between two straight characters just because both their favorite colors are purple.
- If you’re writing a trans character, refer to them by the pronoun they use. Even if your character was born female, if they identify as a boy and want to be recognized as a boy, use masculine pronouns. This is also common courtesy in real life.
- Be aware of stereotypes. I’m gonna say this one again because it’s probably the most important one on the list. Being gay is not a personality. Being transgender is not a personality. Do not try to make it one.
Because stereotypes are such a huge part of the way the media portrays gay characters in television, movies, and even novels, I’ve compiled a list of some of the most common ones that plague it.
Stereotypes to Avoid
- “Sluts.” This is more bad stigma for anyone who identifies as a sexual minority, particularly bisexuals. People think that gays use it as an excuse to act like sluts, and this stereotype is completely inaccurate.
- Masculine women and feminine men. I touched on this topic earlier, and while it’s okay to have them, you have to make sure that your characters aren’t just empty shells relying on these stereotypes. Make absolutely sure that you have fleshed them out well if you go down this route.
- Dead gays. The LGBT community is not a plot device. Don’t kill these characters for shock value. They are not foot soldiers in the battle in the middle of RETURN OF The KING. If you kill a gay character, you had damn well better have a good reason for it.
- Lesbians trying to have a child. This one is just flat-out cliché at this point, not to mention that it creates all sorts of unwanted subtext about gay couples being “unnatural” because they can’t have children on their own. It’s just something best avoided.
But above all, if you take one thing away from this post, let it be this:
Gay characters are no different than straight characters. Treat them exactly as you would any other character. They don’t require special treatment—just time and effort put into learning about them. Give them the respect they deserve, and you have the chance to write a fantastic LGBT character.
Also, bisexuals. And pansexuals. Them too.
And everyone who’s not cisgendered.
Women’s Modern Assassin Armor.
This is the denim Modern Assassin Armor, women’s style, in black/red. This particular version is intended for use as costuming in Assassin’s Creed: Artefact 2 as well, for the 2nd of the 3 main characters.
Since the characters will be active in martial arts and acrobatic stunts, we designed special gussets for increased range of motion in the arms.
PDW fashion inspiration
Toph’s blindness was one of the most excellently handled aspects of AtLA because it wasn’t treated like a disability. So often in shows (and especially children’s animation) disabled characters are limited to apperances in “very special episodes” where the main characters have to learn a lesson that these people are capable “in spite of” their handicaps, like that episode of Kim Possible wherein Kim constantly stumbles over herself around Felix. This approach is often just as insulting as making them the butt of jokes, because it’s patronizing and it limits the amount of roles disabled characters are allowed to have.
Avatar challenged that stereotype with Teo, and then sent a giant middle finger its way by introducing Toph. She’s turned what would otherwise be a disability into an advantage, and she’s not afraid to crack jokes about it. She functions well enough that the other characters often forget that she is blind, but at the same time it’s an integral part of her bending and allows her to be the greatest earthbender ever. It sends a powerful message that having a physical disability does not make you less of a person, and often affords you a unique perspective that the so-called “normal” people never get to experience.
One of the many reasons I love this show.
- all about getting the d and/or the v
- vampires vs. werewolves.
- ~everyone’s white~
- let’s take this urban fantasy and set in it in a upper-class suburban neighborhood
- “social issues”?? L O L
- stalking is ~*t r u e r o m a n c e*~
- SOULMATES BECAUSE REASONS
- “world-building”?? L O L
- PREJUDICE!!!1!!1 AGAINST VAMPIRES!!!! SO BAD OH NO
- ~everyone is straight~
- practice black magic you can’t sit with us
- can’t use actual legends bc then nobody will be pretty
- “urban”??? HAHAHA PLS
- pssh why would the government care about magic
- the apocalypse is coming … eventually
- no we swear it is
- see it happened the power went out how traumatic
- mental illness = EVIL WRETCHED MONSTER OUT DAMNED SPOT
- more than??? just??? vampires and??? werewolves????
- sex every other page
- TECHNOLOGY IS FOR SILLY HUMANS!!!!1
- no seriously where is the “urban” part send out a search party