Tuesday, August 24, 2021

Not Every Character Is Physically Perfect

Do I make a conscious effort to include characters who aren't physically flawless in my novels? Yes. Dear readers, I will tell you why. Representation matters. Years ago, social media blew up with a plea from readers to include physical diversity in addition to cultural and racial diversity. I listened. So, yes, these days I make a conscious effort to include disabled characters, be their disability physical or mental. 

Do I do it well? Eh, I definitely have room to do it better. I do rely heavily on magic to skirt a lot of the day-to-day impediments and challenges. The male love interest in my Immortal Spy UF series has one arm amputated above the elbow. However, this character is a very old magical being with a keen scientific mind, so he uses magic to button his pants and lace his military boots. He applies a combo of science and magic to make his trove of prostheses that serve different functions from cooking to welding to combat, but they often melt or short-circuit when in conflict with higher magical powers. 

I have characters who suffer physical and mental consequences due to on-page conflicts who don't recover to a perfect state, but then again, I do have characters who recover to perfection. So, I'm far from a good example, but I am trying to do better. I'm not interested in tokenism but in having rich, multidimensional characters for whom any disability isn't the defining characteristic but an attribute.