The Editor

“I like the manuscript, but this character in the wheelchair… Why is he in a wheelchair?”

“I’m not sure I understand what you mean, sir.”

“Well, he’s a genius. He’s solving all kinds of problems, he’s got relationships to manage… The story is great without him being in a wheelchair. I guess what I’m asking is, what does putting him in a wheelchair add to the story?”

“He’s a real person, sir. This book is based on his life. And the real person is in a wheelchair.”

“Right, right, but… Why? This is your book. It’s your story. So why do you feel the need to put him in a wheelchair? This is writing 101, Chris. Basic stuff. Never give a character a trait unless there’s a reason.”

“Sir, it’s… It’s Stephen Hawking. Everyone knows he’s in a wheelchair. He has a degenerative disease… It’s just a fact. I don’t think the universe needs a reason to put someone in a wheelchair, it just… People just…”

“All I’m saying is it doesn’t add anything to the story. It feels tacked-on. Lose that, and we’ve got ourselves a book deal.”

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