1. Sluglady

    Sluglady New Member

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    Advice on a character with Physical Disabilities

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Sluglady, Nov 6, 2017.

    Alright, I'm looking for opinions on a story rewrite I'm planning. It is a transformers: beast wars fanfiction. If you don't know what that is, I can basically sum it up as: Robots fighting on a deserted planet with little supplies, trying to get back home. They also transform into animals.

    Here goes:

    Main Plot:
    The main character, Lily, who has partial paralysis in her legs, joins the "Beast Wars". Her big secret is that she works for an organization with the sole goal of destroying transformers. Knowing she is alone, unable to call for back up, she joins the good guys, hoping they can get her off the planet. She has super strength and a super smart mind. She enjoys inventing things and understanding how things work. She has used this ability to create an implant in her neck that allows her to move her wheelchair with her mind, making her very agile on the battlefield. Her wheelchair itself is decked out with blasters, cannons, tools, etc. But as she continues to get to know her new allies, she realized that transformers are not the mindless destructive robots she was raised to believe, but are actually living creatures. This puts her on the path to redeem herself for her past deeds and confront/save the rest of her family that is still part of the organization.

    Now here comes the issue.

    In the original story (that I wrote in high school, so please don't kill me):

    Lily creates a machine called an MT Device (Or Mind Transfer Device). Using this, and her implant, she can transfer her mind into an unused transformer shell. Everyone believes she is doing this to regain her ability to walk, but really it's because she wants to get to know what it is like to be robotic, without more permanent implants (Because her family would literally disown her if she got any more implants) She DOES switch between her human and robotic form. At one point of the story, Lily's her human body is killed and she is trapped in a robotic body. She laments the loss of her humanity. After many more adventures, and facing off her family, Lily is returned to her human body and can go back to switching back and forth as she likes. (I should mention that her new human body is brand new and doesn't have any disabilities. Again, please don't kill me)

    You may already see the problems.

    As I was preparing the rewrite, I knew there were major problems with what I wrote. Mainly that my disabled character was "magically healed" by the end of the story, a trope I wasn't aware of as a kid. One thing that I was planning to change was that Lily gets her original body back but still has both forms.

    Then a friend of mine with disabilities suggested that I get rid of the robotic body altogether. That the fact that she can spend all this time not being disabled takes away from her being a disabled character in the first place. She said I should either come up with a better idea or not make Lily a disabled character. And well, she has a point.

    One of the reasons I'm writing this here is so that I can get more opinions on the story. The original has a lot to change. Here are some ideas I've come up with:

    Lily remains having her super strength (cause really, a normal human would get killed immediately if they fought a transformer)

    BUT. Lily does not get a robotic body. Instead, she is introduced immediately as someone who uses a wheelchair AND braces, though the braces are something she is still getting used to. But she comes across several problems on the battlefield. 1) she can use braces, but because of her super strength, she almost immediately breaks them if she tries to fight with them. And 2) her supplies are running low, including her own armor and medical supplies. So, instead of a robotic body, she gets robotic armor. Cybertronian metal, which is something she never had access to before, is something strong enough, and easy enough for her to repair, and power, on this planet. (And in terms of Lily's Journey: It will symbolize her trust and adoration for her new transformer friends, who give Lily this armor to her to protect her. It will also royally piss off her family when she confronts them.)

    That doesn't mean that her wheelchair is suddenly obsolete. She still uses her wheelchair the majority of the time. In fact, her new braces they need to be powered and have to be controlled mentally, so she only uses them in emergencies. She also uses the metal she is given to give her wheelchair more advanced armor as well. So in the majority of the story, she still uses her wheelchair but has the braces as a backup plan. One of the things we observe is Lily adjusting to using braces. Every problem she comes accross is not a hurdle, but a formula for her to solve.

    I thought that this would give Lily a way to become a "transformer", while also giving more time for her inventive side. In little scenes outside of battle, you would see her tweaking her armor and braces, trying to get the calibrations right and deal with any discomfort. In moments when Lily has neither, we see her use her brain to get out of problems.

    I'm also tinkering with the idea that she turns her wheelchair into an exo-suit (as kinda a battle climax for the story) It doesn't stay around very long, but Lily continues coming up with more ideas for upgrades her her chair.

    So that's my idea. Going this direction will a lot more work for the rewrite, but I really really want to get this right. I've researched wheelchair users in the past and I'm trying to learn more now. I've been researching a lot about people that use braces and looking into the robotic braces coming out today.

    So... any opinions would be appreciated.
     
  2. Azuresun

    Azuresun Senior Member

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    I'd think that the best way to do this might be to emphasise that her robotic body has different issues--it's not a straight upgrade. There could be any number of possibilities, from not being able to feel things, the body being poorly suited to anything except destruction, or psychological side-effects. So she might initially embrace it as an escape, but then start to appreciate her human body more, even if it was imperfect.
     
    Sluglady and BayView like this.
  3. Sluglady

    Sluglady New Member

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    Just to be clear, at no time does Lily see herself as imperfect. Just that she needs to adapt to this war she's stuck in, and face her own psychological feelings regarding robotic life.

    In regards to your advice, are you talking about her robotic armor/braces, or her getting a fully robotic body?

    For the body, she mostly has psychological issues. When she has her human body to switch between, she starts using the robotic body so much that she stops taking care of human body. This makes her so sick that she rethinks how she feels about being human. After her human body is destroyed, she realizes she is horrified that she can't go back to being human. Things feel and look different as a robot, and she doesn't hate it, but she misses being able to

    For the braces, Yeah, I had an idea like that in mind. Her braces run on a lot of energy. The planet they're on has so much of that energy in an unstable form, that they can get overloaded and malfunction. This already happens to the other robots on the planet. Later on, in the original show, this problem gets fixed. So I got to do some thinking about that. There are some psychological issues, where she wonders if she would be better off going full robot, because of how comfortable she feels around her friends and when she's wearing the armor. This feeling increases when her family basically disowns her and calls her a traitor.

    The end goal is that she accepts both parts of her personality (to quote Moana "I am a girl who loves my island
    And the girl who loves the sea, it calls me) , and years later will get actual implants but never goes full robot.
     
  4. Sluglady

    Sluglady New Member

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    OH! And thankyou for the advice! Sorry I completely forgot to say that in the last post!
     

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