Natasha McNeely's Author Blog

Never stop dreaming, 'cause the day you stop dreaming, is the day you stop living.


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Characters: Blind or Deaf?

Hearing impairment

Image via Wikipedia

Characters are essential to any novel. They bring the story to life, especially when you include their emotions and, of course, their senses.

What do they see, hear, feel, taste or smell?

Those senses are important to as, and enrich the reader’s experience throughout the novel. It’s a challenge to learn to write in a way that includes subtle hints to those five senses, but what happens when you take one away?

People are blind, deaf or mute in life, so it only makes sense that fictional characters can endure that same thing. How would you write about such a character?

One of the necessary options is to focus more on the other four senses. If a character can’t hear, go more in-depth into their other senses. It’s more complicated if the main character is blind; how can you write from the view of a blind character, in a way that is still appealing to readers?

Maybe they have a sixth sense that helps replace real sight, or maybe you include feeling the characters surroundings into said-character having a visual in mind – the way they perceive it to look.

Of the five senses, blindness is one of the most difficult to overcome in writing. Sight is a key part for any character; taking it away leaves gaps that need filling for the story to work. Without something to compensate, readers will not feel as attached to the character.

A deaf character can still see – the same with characters who lose their taste, smell or feeling, although the latter is easily one of the more difficult ones to write about.

Sight and touch – two difficult aspects to write about, when a character does not have them.

It’s hard to write about characters with only four senses, but a challenge. You can only improve by mastering it.

Have you ever written about a character who is missing one of their senses? How did it go and did it take you time to adjust? Let me know in a comment!