More than once I have wondered what it would feel like to be unable to communicate via speech. Speaking and by extension, listening, is an inherent part of me. Yet it is said that ninety five per cent of communication is non-verbal. So why does speaking mean so much to us?
It is one of the foremost ways of giving information to others. We use speech to bond, to inform, to educate, to entertain. Without speech, would life be bleak?
My answer is no and here’s why. Recently I have experienced and seen what it is like to be unable to talk. On a visit to my sister recently, we decided to take a tour of the town. While doing so, we passed two women communicating through sign language. In that brief moment, I knew they were having fun through taking photos and playing about.
The other example happened a few weeks earlier when I had been skyping with a friend. Due to an error, I could not hear what she said. Therefore we resorted to the traditional back-up, the written word. During the conversation, it seemed to me that we were conversing on a deeper level. Having to rely on body language meant I became more adept at reading her thoughts and emotions.
This lead me to wonder, could deaf people be the ultimate observers?
Why does this have to do with writing? Easy. By putting myself in their position, I can see what life would be like. This is the same process you need to perform for your characters. Give them life by understanding that everyone views life their way.