17.43: Bodies. Why? (Depicting Disability)

Your Hosts: Mary Robinette and Howard Tayler, with special guests Fran WildeC.L. Polk, and William Alexander

Whether or not you’re writing from your own experience, depicting disability in fiction is fraught. In this episode we’ll talk about some of the dos and don’ts in order to provide you with guidelines for disability depiction.

Credits: This episode was recorded by Marshall Carr, Jr., and mastered by Alex Jackson



Write a scene with two characters – one abled, one disabled. Write two versions, each from the POV of a different character.

Air, by Monica Roe

3 thoughts on “17.43: Bodies. Why? (Depicting Disability)”

  1. This week, Mary Robinette and Howard were joined by Chelsea, Fran, and Will, talking about how to depict disability. How many disabled characters are sacrificed in Star Wars: Rogue One? Who will save the baby in front of the bus? Daredevil! Hawkeye! Doing good disability depiction starts with story construction, making your story not about the disability. Build some ramps! Warm up with aliens. Crowd scenes are hard… read all about it in the transcript available now in the archives.

  2. This wasn’t a very coherent episode.

    Why exactly does Daredevil having amped up senses make him ‘inhuman?’ That could be said of every hero with extraordinary abilities.

    Richard III was a great villain – resourceful, cunning, a warrior, and with full agency. Yes, he had a hunchback. This type of historical judgement is called ‘presentism,’ and throws out the window all the brilliant speeches and schemes he made on the way to conquering his enemies, and being an extremely effective villain who happened to have a disability.

    Unfortunately, it looks like Writing Excuses has suffered from the same curse as the rest of Hollywood storytelling: going Woke.

    ie. milquetoast moralising with very little input as to how to make a good story.

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