While it’s nice to think that our characters have perfectly healthy bodies, it is not necessarily accurate. Throughout life we suffer illnesses, break bones, have accidents that leave scars, and lose teeth.
It is important that our characters reflect human frailty. They have to be real people who experience real downfalls.
Because people with physical limitations populate our earth, we need to consider including them in our stories. Think about how a scene might change if a wheelchair-bound person is a major player. We would have to make sure that our spaces are compliant with the law and so accessible to our character. That means ramps where there are stairs, wide doorways into bathrooms and down halls, and perhaps having an assistant to help with some tasks.
What if it’s a temporary disability such as a broken right arm? How does the character drive, brush teeth and hair, get dressed, use the restroom?
These are all real-life issues that come into play. Personally, I’ve broken fingers, an arm, and two different legs. Each of those breaks caused difficulties for me. For example, when I broke my ring finger, my wedding band had to be cut off in the emergency room. Not a huge imposition, but it was upsetting to lose my ring.
Your task is to write a story in which one of your characters has a disability. You have to decide whether it is permanent or temporary and how it impacts the character’s life.
Have fun with this one.