What is Best for a Character?

Writing and Craft
Recently I got a question emailed to me from a reader named Anthony that I thought might help my readers, too. And I’m including the compliment at the top because, well, I just really like it.
Hi Katie,
I just discovered your podcast under an iTunes search, as well as others but I must say you are by far the best podcast about this subject. I really enjoyed your interview with Stephen McCranie and I totally identified with him when he spoke about attending college. I am a bit older than Stephen but our experiences were the same concerning not having the courses you want to really take to improve your art available. Hopefully that will change.
Katie I have a question that someone of your experience can give a an opinion on, I am starting to writing/ illustrating a children’s book about sickle cell and I am a stuck about which angle to take. My thoughts were that since one of the aliments of sickle cell is making you physically weak, I would do the opposite for my character and make her strong, basically what ever the condition that hurts her is flipped to make her able to endure (in a superhero sort of way). The other idea was making her someone with a photographic memory who remembers things thru songs/ singing. They are two different ways I would like to handle the telling of a girl with sickle cell, I’m just stuck on which path to take. Any advice on this matter would be greatly appreciated and helpful.
Thanking you in advance for your time. Both with reading this and podcasting. Thank you!
Dear Anthony,
You said you are just starting to write it. My opinion, and it’s just that – one person’s opinion – is to sit down and start writing whatever you feel the story needs. It’s a much different process thinking about which way to take a story and actually writing the story. Get a draft down and then see if it’s working. You may find that your idea brings you to a place you never expected.
On the other hand, and more specifically, if you create a character with a disease that manifests differently for her than for other patients (ie readers), you might want to imagine how those readers will feel. My gut tells me to give her issues that are identifiable to your readers, while giving her the spirit of a superhero.
I hope that helps!

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