I Need Help Writing A Deaf Character

Simran Ivaan

New Member
I'm new here, so I suppose I should introduce myself. My name is Simmy, short for Simran, and I am hearing. As you can tell from my title here, I'm a writer and I need some guidance.
My friend and I are writing a webcomic. We've decided to make our main character HOH his mother is completely deaf, and his best friend due to knowing him since they were in diapers often converses with him in sign language. So, he has a hearing aid, but sometimes will have to revert to sign language simply because he just felt like it or his hearing aid has been damaged due to some troubles in his adventures.

The trouble is that I have virtually no idea about this community and no access to it. I've watched interviews and vlogs and even attempted to learn ASL. (I only know the alphabet and how to introduce myself and limited basic stuff like that so far.) I have so many questions and will likely have many more in the future. Please if you can, help me out so I can make his character accurate.

First of all, his sign name. Since he belongs to the deaf community he would have his own sign name and not simply spell out J-A-C-K. Since it is a comic, the motion for his name would be depicted but I don't know how to give him one. In my Google researches all I come up with is that you have to be given one by the deaf community. So let me give you a brief description of our character, Jack Halvorson. He's tall, blonde, and freckled. His eyes are violet due to an extreme lack of pigmentation in his eyes, causing the very light blue hue of his eyes to be mixed with the red blood behind them. He's a quiet and very happy person. He's gay, an only child, an introvert. He intently listens to all around him and speaks carefully. But when you are finally close to him he's sarcastic and funny, but still very soft spoken. He's very quirky, and does not do well under pressure and makes simply silly choices. He's extremely protective of his friends to the point he's sometimes referred to as wine mom, a joke meaning that he's like a mother of a bunch of rambunctious children who is just tired of their antics and wants to sit down at the end of the day with a glass of wine and watch a soap opera. (That oddly specific nickname is actually my own nickname in my own life, in case you were wondering.) Beyond being a nag and overly loving, and oddly in a maternal way, to his friends, he would honestly give his life for any of the few people who are his closest friends. Other than that, he's an artist and hopes to work in animations or graphic novels as an adult. And that is all there is to know about the character that is Jack.
The other thing is that I feel as though he'd have given his best friend a sign name because she's known him for so long that she is on a first name basis with his parents. She fluently signs, to the point that she can argue with him if he dares switch off his hearing aid at her, (which I've had a child do to me before.) Her name is Aditi Joshi. She's Indian and has a big typical desi family. She's pansexual and an extrovert. She's often wild and leaps without thought with only Jack there to act as her conscience. She's a very loving person, but also very sarcastic to anyone who ever converses with her. She is quite the opposite of Jack, but that's why they're best friends. She is short and brown with big bushy black hair that never cooperates. Her eyes are wide like an excited puppy.

Other than these two characters, I really just want to know what are things that should be included in his day to day life? Just small things that are normal for someone who is HOH. Please message me! Thank you so much!
 
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DeafNerdMommy

Well-Known Member
Welcome to all deaf. I just first want to point out that hearing impaired is an insult. So try to avoid those words we perferre hard of hearing. As for the names their are normally given by a member of the deaf community. Some are simple and some are little more complex. They are not always favored by the other person. Mine is the letter K moving in a curling movement down my hair. I have super curly hair and my teacher loved it, I hate my curls lol. My daughters is an L hand making a circle above the head, her name is liealynn but her middle name auraillea, which means halo in Latin.
 

Reba

Retired Terp
Premium Member
:welcome:

This is why it is suggested that writers write about things they are familiar with if they want their stories to feel authentic.

Whether or not your characters identify as "hearing impaired" depends on the characters. If they're ASL-signing deaf characters, they would probably not use that term to describe themselves.

"He intently listens to all around him and speaks carefully. But when you are finally close to him he's sarcastic and funny, but still very soft spoken."

But he's deaf?
 

Simran Ivaan

New Member
Welcome to all deaf. I just first want to point out that hearing impaired is an insult. So try to avoid those words we perferre hard of hearing. As for the names their are normally given by a member of the deaf community. Some are simple and some are little more complex. They are not always favored by the other person. Mine is the letter K moving in a curling movement down my hair. I have super curly hair and my teacher loved it, I hate my curls lol. My daughters is an L hand making a circle above the head, her name is liealynn but her middle name auraillea, which means halo in Latin.
I had no idea that hearing impaired is an insult! Thank you for correcting me! I just didn't know how to phrase it since he isn't completely deaf and has a hearing aid. And since the names are normally given by a member of the deaf community I don't know what to do about my fictional character.
 

Simran Ivaan

New Member
:welcome:

This is why it is suggested that writers write about things they are familiar with if they want their stories to feel authentic.

Whether or not your characters identify as "hearing impaired" depends on the characters. If they're ASL-signing deaf characters, they would probably not use that term to describe themselves.

"He intently listens to all around him and speaks carefully. But when you are finally close to him he's sarcastic and funny, but still very soft spoken."

But he's deaf?
I didn't realize that hearing impaired was offensive and I have been corrected. I apologize. I based him off of a person I know in real life. He has a hearing aid and speaks, but he also signs ASL because his mother is deaf and some of his siblings. Often in his family they are simply signing. The personality of my character had been a soft spoken person to begin with, from the get go of creating him. He simply isn't very animated and acts quite demurely.
 

Simran Ivaan

New Member
I'm just going to come right out and ask what everyone is thinking:

You clearly don't know anything about Hoh, or being Deaf - so why are you writing a character that is Hoh or Deaf ?
I want my characters to be diverse, unlike a lot of what I see in media. They can't all be me, the whole cast of them can't be Indian-Muslim girls. I'm not a boy and can't begin to think I know what it's like to be male. Neither am I gay. Neither am I white or Korean or a lot of the attributes of the various characters. I am trying my best to research what I don't know. I'm sorry if my character offends you, but I really am trying my best and asking those who know more about this than I do to make the characters accurate.
 

Simran Ivaan

New Member
Only if we got paid money each time a writer ask us to help write their book , we would all be rich by now !
I'm not getting paid for my work either, haha. I'm simply doing it because I like to. The others working on this with me aren't even being paid. It's simply friends of mine helping me draw the panels or helping edit the story. The webcomic is going to be released online and I have absolutely no intention of profiting off of it.
 

whatdidyousay!

Well-Known Member
I'm not getting paid for my work either, haha. I'm simply doing it because I like to. The others working on this with me aren't even being paid. It's simply friends of mine helping me draw the panels or helping edit the story. The webcomic is going to be released online and I have absolutely no intention of profiting off of it.
Do you have any idea how people had come here asking us to help them write a book about a deaf character or do their homework b/c they waited for the last
minute to do it ? Then the OP never post here again , I personally think this is rude and show very little respect too , they get what they need and contribute nothing
to the forum.
 

Simran Ivaan

New Member
Do you have any idea how people had come here asking us to help them write a book about a deaf character or do their homework b/c they waited for the last
minute to do it ? Then the OP never post here again , I personally think this is rude and show very little respect too , they get what they need and contribute nothing
to the forum.
I really had no idea. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to be disrespectful or rude, honestly.
 
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