Writing a character who is blind or visually impaired is not so easy. You have to learn properly before writing about blindness. The first thing I want people to be aware of is that disability isn’t a binary. Being blind doesn’t mean completely blind, or being deaf doesn’t mean completely deaf. Both of these disabilities function on a scale.
Most authors write characters fully blind. But there is, only 10% of the blind community see nothing. That is what a lot of authors tend to go with characters that see nothing. You don’t have to have them see anything for your book. If you are planning to write a blind character, follow me and my advice.
How To Write A Blind Character?
Do not try on a blindfold and try to do things. People think this will get them in the right mindset to write a blind character, but it doesn’t. All you’ll be thinking about is how hard it is to do things when you can’t see, which isn’t how blind people think and operate.
I will discuss including blind and visually impaired characters in your writing without making them appear stereotypical. Here are 5 tips to write a blind character perfectly. Let’s go!
1. Describe your character’s history
Know the how, when and what of your character’s visual impairment. How did your characters first lose their vision? When did it happen? If anything, can your character see? You can be legally blind and still have some residual vision. That’s why it’s essential to know how your character first lost their vision and how old they were.
A character who lost their vision as a young child should think and act much differently than someone who is newly blinded as a teenager. There’s a vast plot trope in literature. Specifically, that surrounds characters who lose their vision in their early teens due to fireworks accidents.
2. Learn from blind people
Most blind people will be happy to answer your questions. They’re pretty approachable and contrary to popular belief. So, make sure you talk to someone who has a similar level of vision as your character because someone who is totally blind will have no clue what it’s like to go through life with tunnel vision. Therefore you could get some skewed advice.
3. Do your research
Figure out what technology blind people use today and include it in your writing. Don’t only say your character is using a computer. Say they’re using a Braille sent you to or an iPad with voiceover. Also, check out blind bloggers, YouTubers, and podcasters to see how they talk about their lives.
You’ll get hilarious situations, making your blind characters seem much more realistic. If you want some ideas for awkward situations that your characters get into, you must research more and more.
4. Give your character a special power
A character loses their sight and then has an extraordinary power because they lost their sight. I applaud the show Avatar for doing this. If characters are blind at born, give them power that has nothing to do with their sight loss. Toph is the daughter of a wealthy being and the most potent Earthbender in the world. She also invented metal bending. We watched off at her most powerful, Toph at her happiest.
When we first meet the blind bandit, it is quickly established that she is blind, and that’s all the show tells us about her blindness. The characters don’t sit there doubting her ability or in disbelief. It is told to us, and the show continues as it should. From Aang, Katara, and Sokka, that’s the only reaction if they move on to see Toph as her person with her own identity.
5. Make them natural and realistic
In some books, I’ve noticed the whole character loses sight characters blind for a while and gets right back. That’s not always the case. A character loses sight, which doesn’t always make them get it back. In the Lunar Chronicles, the character lost his sight for two weeks, but he didn’t have any magical powers come from it. So, he lost his vision for two weeks and then got it back.
I’ve noticed this a lot in fantasy books, not so much in realistic fiction. If you go this route, make a character blind, and ditch the dark glasses. Not every single person who’s blind wears dark glasses. Some people do. Maybe they want to protect their eyes.
10 Blind Characters Who Can Inspire Your Writing
There are some popular books and movies where blind protagonists have a special power, making them huge fans of their characteristics. Here I will show you the top 10 blind characters that will help you get more ideas and motivate you to write about them.
1. The Book of Eli
This post-apocalyptic neo-film focuses on a blind huntsman named Eli. Eli’s sole purpose is to protect the last Bible of Earth. Throughout the years, he has developed many survival skills, completing near-impossible tasks that a man couldn’t even do. You don’t even know he’s blind during the first 90 minutes of the movie.
Ichi is a blind samurai warrior regarded as the most fearsome and dangerous swordsman. She is gifted with lightning-fast draw and strokes of breathtaking precision. Also, he is famous for his usual one-shot kills and high body count, mainly consisting of Yakuza Gangsters.
3. Fujitora: One Piece character
Issho is an admiral in the Marines. Fujitora is a blind man who can manipulate gravitational forces. Despite his blindness, his physical strength and fortitude are immense.
4. Julia Carpenter
After becoming a test subject of the super-soldier program, Julia gained the same powers as spider-man. She wasn’t blind before, but after gaining the powers of the madame web, she became blind permanently. But in return, she received astral projection, telepathy, and precognitive abilities.
5. Cassandra Webb
A blind psychic is always down to help out her friend Spider-Man. Madame Web possesses psychic abilities, telepathy, and clairvoyance. Though she is blind, she knows every possible move. Also, she claims to be immortal yet somehow sacrificed all her powers to Julia Carpenter.
Neo is the principal character and protagonist of The Matrix Franchise. Being blind in The Matrix Revolutions, Neo controls the machines and sees the programs. The power Neo often exhibits are telekinesis and extensive manipulation. He can fly at incredible speeds and jump great distances by focusing this ability upon himself.
7. Kaname Tosen
Tosen is highly proficient in using his Zanpakuto, which is impressive given his blind status. His sword mastery is further emphasized by holding his sword against Kenpachi Zaraki. The strongest swordsman in the Bleach franchise.
This Mortal Kombat character is on a mission to kill the sorcerer who blinded him. Kenshi possesses senses that are heightened beyond normal ability. Sensing is an opponent’s presence simply by their energy or by hearing. He also wields an ancestral sword containing spirits of warriors from his line.
A radioactive waste blinded Matt Murdock in his childhood. In turn, his other senses were heightened to a superhuman level. Also, he has a ‘radar sense.’ Matt is now one of the most skilled martial artists in the Marvel universe. His reaction speed is faster than a speeding bullet.
10. Toph Beifong (Avatar: The Last Airbender)
Blind from birth, Toph is one of the strongest Earthbending masters of her time. The ability to feel even the most unique vibrations on Earth, the march of ants, and the presence of trees and buildings. She can visualize where people are, their presence, and their physical build with unparalleled power.
So for these reasons, I rank Toph as the universe’s greatest and strongest fictional blind character. If you have any questions or ideas, share them with me and help me learn more. Happy writing!
Learn more from books:
5 Children Disability Books Like Fish In A Tree
10 Disability Fiction Books Like Out Of My Mind
Avatar The Last Airbender Orderly
5 Japanese Action Books About Yakuza
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