Characters to have in your stories
*Image credit to Johnhain, picture from Pixabay
Choosing to have a hard of hearing character in my Young Adult Series was not specifically about representation. At least, not that I’m aware. However, it was a conscious choice. I knew as soon as I started to write about Aunt Louise that she was going to be hard of hearing, this was before I became aware of the reason why. Whether this is a reflection of my own hearing difficulties I’m not sure, it certainly is nice to read about characters who we can relate to. I’m sure all authors who write them would also agree the same is true in the creation process.
It does bring about some good things to think about though. Young Adults deserve books that reflect diversity in life. That tackle issues which we suffer from, see around us and want to understand and be understood with. This is an age group thirsting for fiction to escape the world but there’s no reason this can’t be done in a way that also gives insight into the real world. Something all good fiction does.
I also think stories and books which have diverse characters and disabilities as part of their characterisation make up, subtly, rather than devilish villains and tired tropes could have the ability to change views, make an impact in the world, and mould a future generation.
I know that my character Aunt Louise doesn’t entirely fit that role. She happens to be deaf because of a mistake she made when she was young. Something she had to live with and eventually she may find a chance to atone for. I don’t think anyone with deafness or hard of hearing wants to think of their issues as a mistake. I certainly don’t. But on the other hand, I’m glad this is a part of her character and the story. She is who she is, unashamedly. Her difficulties have shaped her character and as I rather like her, this is no bad thing.
What I might ask of myself as an author, and perhaps you could do the same, is to consider this when you’re writing for children or young adults, whether you have an opportunity to do some good with the stories you write.
The Westwood Witches, A Secret Discovered, Book 1: getbook.at/TheWestwoodWitches
The Westwood Witches, A Sorcery of Shadows, Book 2: getbook.at/SorceryofShadows
Sarah Northwood, a wife and mother, is an award-winning, multi-genre weaver of fiction from the UK. She enjoys writing poetry for children and adults and also plays the piano in her spare time. Sarah is Regional Director for the UK and Europe Zone in Motivational Strips, Dean of General Literature in MSLAW, and a member of the World Nations Writer Union and literary council.
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