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Writing Advice

Mythcreants is an online publication featuring a blog and podcast that provide storytelling advice in the speculative fiction genre. One of the things I enjoy the most about their work is that they have a solid understanding of how oppression works. And, not only do they discuss social justice topics, they also bring that knowledge into other discussions.

I have been collaborating with the folks at Mythcreants for the past five years and I’m currently acting as their disability consultant. In this role, I am giving detailed feedback and suggestions on articles that discuss disability representation. In addition, I have a monthly Q & A series that is goes up on the third Monday of each month, where I answer reader questions about portraying disability.

This page collects all of the Mythcreants articles that I’ve worked on, including my Q & A series.

If you have a storytelling question of your own, you can submit a short question to the Mythcreants Q & A series. If you are looking for more detailed feedback about disability representation, I maintain a list of Disability Consultants for Geeky Projects and also do disability consulting myself (you can contact me here).

A photograph of a red brick building that has a black wrought iron sign with the word "ask" in bold white letters.

A photograph of a red brick building that has a black wrought iron sign with the word “ask” in bold white letters.



Wolf Pack Is About Werewolves With Nothing to Do I consulted on this article by Chris Winkle. It goes over what went wrong in season one of Wolf Pack and what could be done to fix these problems. This article includes a discussion on how make character arcs out of sensitive issues, like anxiety and abuse.

Lessons From the Edgy Writing of Blindsight: This article I consulted on by Chris Winkle is a deep dive into the strengths and flaws of the prologue of Blindsight, a Hugo-nominated science fiction novel. “Author Peter Watts has an engaging voice and a reckless disregard for accuracy.”

Respectfully Depicting a Character Adapting to a Disability: A discussion about harmful mistakes that are often made when depicting characters adapting to a new disability, the ways that story outcomes can be ableist, and how to depict adaptation and story outcomes respectfully.

Ridding Your Monsters of Ableism: An examination of the ways ableism gets incorporated into monsters, how to find disabled traits in your monsters so that you can assess whether or not they are respectful representations of disability, and advice for creating monsters without ableism.

How to Avoid Melodrama in Your Writing: This is an article I consulted on, by Chris Winkle about what melodramatic writing is, why it doesn’t work, what to do instead, and how to handle emotional conditions like depression or anxiety.

Should You Give Non-Human Groups Marginalized Traits? An article I consulted on, by Chris Winkle about “What you should know when making non-humans resemble marginalized people – or privileged people.”

Five Common Harmful Representations of Disability: A polished, updated, and expanded version of my short articles on Villainous Disability, Cosmetic Disability, Helpless Disability, Inspirational Disability, and One-Dimensional Disability that are in the Ableist Trope of the Week Series.


Q & As

Title Not Released This Q & A covers how to depict pain, loss, and tragic events without making disability into a tragedy. Coming November 2023!

Title Not Released A Q & A about addressing ableism in Dungeons and Dragons that gives a general approach to tackling thorny social justice issues in tabletop roleplaying games. Coming October 2023!

How Do I Portray “Stupid” Characters Respectfully? This Q & A goes over the difference between characters with cognitive disabilities and non-disabled characters who have frustrating behaviors or make bad decisions.

Is a Carnival Sideshow of Non-Humans Ableist? A Q & A that talks about the ways that non-humans do and don’t represent disabled experiences.

How Do I Depict a Disabled Character Respectfully? A Q & A that covers five things storytellers should do to respectfully depict disability.

How Do I Find a Sensitivity Consultant for Disability? In this Q & A I give tips for working with a disability consultant and advice on how to find one.

How Can I Include Disability in a World Where People Design Their Bodies? This Q & A focuses on the different ways that people can experience disability and how that affects what kind of body a character would choose.

Is It a Problem for a Disability to Be Integral to the Plot? Another collaboration with Chris Winkle. Here Chris talks about the risks inherent to making a marginalized trait central to the plot, especially when the storyteller doesn’t have lived experience with that trait. My discussion focuses on the impacts of depicting ableism in a story and how to figure out if a specific depiction of ableism is worth it.

How Do I Craft Assistive Devices for a Blind Character? In this Q & A I discuss my approach to creating assistive devices for fictional settings.

How Should I Depict a Character in a Wheelchair That Transforms Into a Monster? A Q & A about handling disables when characters are undergoing dramatic transformations.

Is It a Problem for Racial Mixing to Cause Disabilities? This Q & A delves deep into the disability and race issues that are entwined in this question, with Tobi Hill-Meyer contributing as a disabled multiracial consultant.

How Do I Avoid Creating Stigma for Characters With Dual Personalities? A Q & A about portraying Jekyll/Hyde type characters without invoking negative stereotypes about dissociative identity disorder (DID).

How Do I Keep My Fictional Disease From Being Ableist? A Q & A about assessing the way that disability is portrayed in a story that focuses on a fictional disease.

Is it Ableist For a Character to Impersonate Someone With a Disability? This Q & A is about non-disabled characters faking disabilities and impersonating disabled characters.

How Do I Portray a Deaf Protagonist Overcoming a Musical Villain? A Q & A article that focuses on the disability immunity trope and how to use it respectfully.

How Do I Keep a Protagonist That’s Adapting to a Disability Involved in the Plot? This Q & A focuses on different strategies for keeping a recovering character involved in the main plot.

How Do I Depict a Newly Blind Character? A Q & A about depicting blindness, newly disabled characters, and alternatives to questing for a magical cure.

What’s a Non-Ableist Alternative to “Losing Sanity” in Stories? This Q & A is part of a larger conversation about replacing the concept of “losing sanity” in storytelling. It covers a way to erode the convictions, ethics, or core beliefs of characters and how to use magical story elements to create fantastical and mind-altering effects.

What Would the Paralympics Look Like in an Optimistic Setting? In this Q & A I go over a few main aspects of accessibility to consider for making a setting with a more optimistic version of the Paralympics in it.

How Do I Depict Historical Cultures With Problematic Behavior? A Q & A article about the major concerns involved in handling more egregious forms of oppression in historical fiction.

How Can I Depict Lipreading Respectfully Without Making Dialogue Tedious? This Q & A article is a collaboration between me and Chris Winkle. I focus on the broader aspects of depicting d/Deaf and hard of hearing characters, while Chris goes into detail about ways to realistically depict the challenges of lipreading without becoming repetitive.

Is Playing a Disabled Necromancer Ableist? This Q & A is about handling necromancy in a way that avoids common ableist tropes, as well as creating a disabled antihero that is a respectful representation.

How Do I Describe Fat Characters Respectfully? This Q & A is about treating both fatness and thinness as value neutral traits, being sensitive to context when choosing words to describe fat characters, and describing other aspects of body shape. Links to a number of resources are also provided.

How Can I Respectfully Subvert the Magical Cure Trope? This short Q & A article touches on the storytelling challenge of subverting oppressive patterns without turning away readers who experience that form of oppression. From there is goes into some disability specific aspects of representation.

How Can I Make a Villain With a Disability Work? This Q & A is about portraying disability respectfully in speculative fiction and key challenges that are specific to representing disabled villains.

How Do I Avoid Stigma Around Schizophrenia in My Writing? This Q & A focuses on how to address the impact of stereotypes and stigma when creating a positive representation of disability.

How Quickly Should Characters Adjust to a Disability? This Q & A is about figuring out how quickly side characters should to adjust to a main character’s new medical technology.

How Should I Approach Disability in a Pirate Story? This is a Q & A where I answer a reader question about representing disability in pirate stories with some tips on researching.

Is It Okay for My Disabled Character to Use Futuristic Assistive Devices?: This is a Q & A co-written by Chris Winkle where we answer a reader question about portraying disability in settings with advanced technology.

How Can I Make My World Accommodating to Disabled People?: This is a Q & A where I answer a reader question about accessibility in a historical fantasy setting. I also have a podcast episode where I discuss this question and creating accessible settings in greater detail.


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