I’ve read some complaints people have about blind characters in books. They’re flat or not portrayed properly. If you plan on writing for a blind character, please do your research. I’ve provided 6 tips below to help.
1. Senses do not become sharper
I repeat, they do not become sharper. Blind people have to rely on their other senses because they don’t have sight. If you’ve ever noticed when you’re in a pitch black room and you can hear better than you normally do, it’s because you’re paying attention to your ears. Unless your character has powers, they’re not going to have better hearing or smell.
2. Blind people don’t know colors.
If a person has been blind since birth or possibly became blind at a very young age and does not recall seeing, they don’t know or may not remember colors. You can’t describe what a color looks like to a blind person. It’s impossible. You can try and explain how the color feels and what it symbolizes, but there’s still no way to actually tell them what it looks like.
3. Some blind people still see
It’s not what you might think. Most people who are blind can differentiate between light and dark. They can tell when their is the presence or absence of light. There is a small percentage who can’t see anything. Another thing, some people with vision difficulties retain some of their eyesight. They might have cloudy vision, are able to see outlines of things, or see out of their peripheral.
4. Give them depth
Don’t focus on just the blindness of a character. They have experiences, back stories, and lives just like anyone. Give them something to fight for, to love or hate. Make them flawed in other ways and allow them the same emotions as sighted characters. A person who is born blind can still laugh, and feel love, or be attracted to someone. They won’t be attracted to looks, but they could be to sounds, scents, or simply someone’s personality.
5. They don’t touch your face
More than likely you have seen this on TV before—a blind person feels a stranger’s face. It is weird and unrealistic. How would you like it if a stranger touched your face? I know I sure wouldn’t. It’s not to say that blind people never touch a person’s face, because I’m certain they do. But it would more than likely happen with someone the blind person is close to, like one of their family members or friends.
6. Blind people can be independent
They aren’t helpless people who sit around and expect everyone to tend to their needs. Caring for yourself is a huge freedom. Why would you want to give that up? One thing to remember is that blind people do somethings differently. I recommend researching this one or asking someone who has vision difficulties.
There you have it!
The best way to learn about how blind people live is to research and talk to someone who is. I do not recommend putting on a blindfold and walking around to see what it’s like to be blind. Not only will you hurt yourself, it’s not the same as living with vision difficulties.
Below I listed a YouTube page of a man who was born blind and one of a woman who has vision difficulties. I highly recommend watching their videos. They’re quite interesting. There is also another video about someone without eyes. As well as two links with more information about blindness.