July 23rd, 2015

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When is a magical Indian not a magical Indian?

When you write them like this

I am pleased to see mention of the points that make these characters good, which are things I often aim for:
* giving them a full heroic backstory, not just implying that they have abilities because of their race
* grounding them in a specific tribe or tribes, including multiracial characters
* showing how they adapt to and/or struggle with modern life and their tribal heritage
* providing tough plot challenges that require maximum effort to surmount, and are about something other than just being Indian.
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Invisibility in the Animal World

Here is a truly brilliant method of invisibility: shifting your reflected light to a wavelength that the viewer can't see. 

Over in Terramagne, there are multiple versions of invisibility.  Some of them bend light or create complete transparency, which means that without compensatory powers, the person can't see.  (I have one blind character whose invisibility power actually prevented his retinas from developing properly.)  Some are based on perfect camouflage, mimicking the pattern around them.  Having seen this UV version in action now, I'm sure that's how some of the Chameleon Skin folks are doing it.  But they would still be visible to someone with Keen Senses who can see UV light. 
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Quality of Life Scale

This scale is missing a few points on both ends, but a good starting point for discussions about how a disability affects your life.  

Immediately obvious to anyone who has experienced serious impairment is that the low end of the scale needs to account for levels where your functionality continues to drop (i.e. having difficulty staying conscious or coherent, as in chronic fatigue) and where your willingness to continue suffering  drops or ends (not wanting to do maintenance tasks, considering suicide, actively pursuing it).  Of course it goes farther in the other direction too, in terms of what variety and how much you can manage: in particular, whether you feel confident making advance plans or regular commitments. That's usually the first thing to go with any disability.  It is useful to consider this end because people may have specific goals that require juggling resources to obtain.

Quality of life has two aspects, internal and external.  Internal ranges from miserable through neutral to happy.  External ranges from a drain on resources to breaking even to contributing.  Life is justified and enjoyable when you are neutral to happy, neutral to contributing a majority of the time.  When life becomes a burden to self and others, it is not right to demand that people continue, although they have a right to do stick it out if they choose.  It's the in-between parts that people argue over the most, where someone is happy but a burden, or miserable but useful.