Workshop: Writing about Disability and Disabled Characters.


On July 16th I was in Bilston to visit a writing group and deliver a workshop on writing about disabled characters. Thirteen members turned up, and the room was packed. Rather than just me talking at the front we discussed as a group the models of disability, and how this could be used in writing about a character with a disability. We looked at areas that might affect someone with a disability – in a negative or positive way.

A – access

R – rights and responsibilities 

E – employment and education

A  – attitudes.

As there were some members of the group who were disabled, they were able to give real life examples of discrimination or negative comments they had experienced.

We also talked about why writers might feel nervous tackling such a subject, and  I outlined some sources of help for a writer. Three writing exercises were given during the workshop, with lots of superb work.

I had packs for each member full of additional material and at the end of the workshop certificates were handed out.


If you belong to a writing group and would be interested in this workshop, do get in touch.

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4 thoughts on “Workshop: Writing about Disability and Disabled Characters.

  1. katythenightowl says:

    What a great subject to be able to talk about, and share with others 🙂
    Being disabled myself, I’ve always got so fed up when coming across any sort of fictional writing that has someone with a disability in it, especially when written by somebody without any sort of experience of the issues involved in dealing with most people who are healthy.
    I’m just so glad that there are more people out there willing to show that, although we may have many difficulties, we are still the same as everyone else, wanting the same things that everyone else takes for granted 🙂

    1. R.F.Hunt says:

      Thanks so much for reading this post and commenting on it. I agree far too many books don’t show an accurate representation of our lives, where a disability is just one factor. This is partly why I wrote The Single Feather as I was concerned at the scrounger/striver discourse and wanted to give a reply, and show the reality.
      This workshop was great, and by the end, all members had learnt about the different models of disability, had drawn up characters and were writing stories! A success all round.
      Thanks again, and keep in touch.

      1. katythenightowl says:

        I’m so glad you did, as this really is something needed, to re-educate people into the realities of anyone with a disability :/

        It must have been a wonderful workshop 🙂

        This reminds me of the tutorials I went to, when I was well enough, at the time I was studying with the OU for my BA – it was wonderful to throw ideas into the pot and get so many different angles back from everyone else 🙂

        There’s something amazing that happens when people pool their ideas like that, isn’t there? 🙂

  2. R.F.Hunt says:

    Hi Katy, it certainly is great when a group works well, each person helping and encouraging the next. Sometimes its hard to find groups such as this, but when you do -real magic can happen!
    What did you do with the OU? I’ve found it a struggle, but hoping I can finish off this degree by next summer.

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