Writing Deaf and Blind Characters | Master Class

Writing Deaf and Blind Characters Master Class

Registration for this class has ended. However, it will return as an On Demand Webinar. Check the Master Class page or Subscribe to this site to get a notification when it goes back on sale.

When: January 11 – 20, 2019
Where: Online — Available everywhere and at your own pace
Price: $100
Register Now

Partially deaf and partially blind writer and editor Elsa Sjunneson-Henry walks students through the process of researching and understanding both conditions for fiction writing.

Topics include:

  • Blindness
    • Including causes, adaptive devices, and media examples
  • Deafness
    • Including the difference between Deaf/deaf culture, hearing aids and other adaptive devices, and media examples
  • Ableism and how to avoid it
  • Language
    • Including the difference between Identity First and Person First language
  • Genre Tropes
  • Thinking Intersectionally

This Master Class includes a 1 hour, 30 minute long video lecture  and a week long Q&A/discussion of the topic with Elsa Sjunneson-Henry. Students will come away with resources for further study as well as access to a database of sensitivity readers.

Attending Class & Schedule

The course begins January 11th when all students receive the lecture video. Students will have the opportunity to discuss the issues brought up in the lecture with all instructors as well as ask detailed questions via a private Slack forum through January 20th. The course does not have set meeting times. You can access class material and discussion and participate in class at any time, day or night, from anywhere in the world as long as you have an Internet connection. 


The lecture video is closed captioned and transcribed; the text will be available to all students. The private forum uses Slack, which is compatible with many screen readers if you download the Desktop App. We strive to make all classes as accessible as possible, but if you need any extra considerations or have a question about accessibility, please contact us.

Who Should Take This Master Class?

Writers of all genres — Literary, YA, Middle Grade, Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Mystery, Children’s Books, Romance — and all mediums — Prose, Playwriting, Screenwriting, Comics/Graphic Novels, Games — at any point in their career from newbie to professional. These classes are designed so that any writer who wants to write inclusive fiction well and create characters who aren’t caricatures will find them beneficial.

However, if you haven’t taken a Writing the Other class before, you should read the book and get through as many of the resources offered on this website before the Master Class begins. 

Scholarship Opportunities

There are several spots available in this class for Sentient Squid Scholarship recipients. If you do not have the financial means to take this class and feel that you will benefit from it, we encourage you to apply. We have a broad definition of financial need that ranges from writers who do not have the money at all to writers who have the funds but can’t afford to use them for a writing class. Please don’t hesitate to apply wherever you exist on that spectrum.

(Still not sure whether you should apply? Read this post.

To apply, send an email to writingtheother+squid@gmail.com with the subject WtO Deaf and Blind Master Class Scholarship Applicant, and include in the body:

  • A brief (300 or fewer words) statement of financial need
  • A brief (500 or fewer words) description of a work or works in progress that you hope the class will help you write.

Deadline: 11:59PM Pacific December 15. We will notify all applicants of their standing by December 20. If you have any questions, please use our contact form to ask!

Refund Policy

If you find that you need to drop the class, you may do so by contacting our GMail or emailing via the website.

If you drop by December 11th, you will receive a full refund minus a service fee.

If you drop by December 20th, you will receive an 80% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other Master Classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop by December 27th, you will receive an 40% refund minus a service fee plus a chance to enroll in future Writing the Other Master Classes at a discount before general tickets go on sale.

If you drop on December 28th or after you will not have your registration fee refunded. However, you will be able to enroll in a future class for a discount.

Register Below

If the class sells out before you have a chance to register, there is a waiting list option. We do sometimes have students drop, so please add yourself. 

Alumni, before you register check your emails or the Slack for the code.