Thursday, June 12, 2014


For those of you not in the film/TV industry let me explain slates. There are two types of slates in this world. There are the clappers with the Director, DP, shot, take, angle...etc...

This is not the type of slate I am going to be talking about.

Slate is also a code word for the stuff in development. There is never just ONE project in the pipe. Because really if we just made one film, one TV show, one of anything at any time--there would be exactly one hour of television a night on each channel and there would possibly be a single film for the summer movie market.

To make more than one thing at one time, studios have a slate of films. Generally--well ok there is no generally in this. There are just lots of things. I would say there are probably at any given time 10-12 films in progress at one time. As for TV think about it like this: in a given pilot season 300 pitches for shows are heard, 70 scripts are considered and 7-10 pilots get made. Then roughly 7-8 pilots get picked up to series.

And that's just at one studio.

When I was in school, my first TV professor gave us one interesting piece of advice. He told us writers in the room needed to sit up and pay attention to this. We were to never, ever have just one project in the works. Okay so I am exaggerating this. Slightly.

His theory is based on this. When you go to pitch a show, that you love, that you think is the bomb dot com, the network execs will probably hate it. Clearly, because I used the outdated phrase, bomb dot com to describe it. They will then ask this question:

What else do you have.

Because we are writers and not all of us are Stephenie Meyer or Suzanne Collins---although to both of their credits they have very successful other series. I am also a fan of both. Take that for what you will. But they have no need to write ever again. Which as a writer is a sad thing to think about. Never having to write again. Never getting to sit down and try to write before a deadline, only to really shove it into a week of coffee and caffeine filled days where you walk around like a zombie.

We are not just a hit show. Or a hit book. Because what we hope might be a hit-anything, most likely won't be the next flash in the pan and so we must go back to the drawing board. Again. Return to the white page. Again. Stock up on coffee for that week of hell that is no longer known as finals week.

In that meeting where you've suddenly been asked to share something else, it is not suggested that you spitball. TV People can smell bullshit from a mile away. If that was true, there would be more hit shows.

What should happen in that meeting, is that the brilliant writer pulls out two or three other pitches for shows. These may not be the dog and pony shows that TV pitches have become, but they should be well thought out, interesting, and as complex as that first idea. In some cases that idea may already have an outline or possibly even a script.

Why am I telling you this? Because Gretchen, this blog, in case you forgot, is about your book writing. It is not a place where you come to write about well this film/TV stuff.

I work on multiple TV projects at once. I work on multiple books at once. I have my serious book and my fun book.

This week I was trying to explain the idea of "the fun book" to a friend. I described it as writing down time. My friend, to her credit, did not laugh outright in my face. Oh she did chuckle and laugh and then ask if I was serious.

I was.

I write things for fun. I started writing because it was fun. This does not mean the "serious book" is not fun for me to write, but I have to be one point for that book. I have to think critically about that book. Is the plot there? Was that line really needed? How many more windows can I find to show off my characters?

That kind of writing is fun but really exhausting.

"Fun writing" is just fun. It's like doing NANOWRIMO. You write like a bat outta hell and you do not care what you do, you just do it. It's like living in a pair of Nikes---yeah that joke was weak. Who cares, fun writing time!

The important thing to remember is that your next anything is just around the corner and while you shouldn't abandon that serious project, it's good to start percolating the other ideas. You never know when an agent may say, hmmmm I like it--don't love it--what else ya got? If you stare at them like the men who stare at goats, you will get the same response.


This is why I like multiple projects. Now not all of them are at the same stage. Some are just jotted notes on postcards. They are such because I was an idiot and went out without a notebook in my purse and my phone was dying. Some are chapters---or a couple thousand words. The key thing I think to making a slate work, is not having every project at the same stage of development. That will hurt you and turn out nothing good.

I like being able to bounce from project to project. It keeps me writing, motivated and happy. Being happy may be overrated to some people, but I see it as an essential part to life. If you can't laugh, why go on? This is coming from a kid whose had well over 40 surgeries I have learned to laugh and giggle at the drop of a hat. I am a pity laugher.

But serious question time:

Do you have a "slate" of projects? Or are you a single project type of person? Tell me more in the comments.

Friday, May 30, 2014

Friday Flash Fiction

Annnnd I'm back with more flash fiction for you!

This is also part TBT as what I am about to show you comes from the annals of my Random Scrivner File.

No inspiration today, just falshy fiction stuff.


It was spring, just on the edge of summer, although one could have said it was already summer, but one never said it was really summer until it was and so that is why is must still be spring. Either way, that evening, Miss Abigail Triste of 1456 Pennyworth Lane stepped out of her house with her mother to attend a concert. By any account it was to be dreadful. Not in any fashion due to the quartet playing, but due to the fact that Mrs. Trsite was in no way happy about being snubbed. 

There was in fact a ball that night being held by Duchess Smithweston, the head of London Society and Mrs. Triste’s former close friend. We say former in that they grew up being very close, but upon debb-ing they experienced a breaking as it were and have sense kept in touch only through the faintest of notes. It was however an understanding between the two old friends that when Mrs. Triste’s daughter debb-ed, Duchess Smithweston was to help Abigail along.
Abigail sighed as the hired driver helped her into the carriage, careful about the ruffles on her dress. It was a gift from her father for her return from school. It was pale blue with ruffles of cream at the hem and sleeves. It was by no means extravagant, but she loved it all the same. 
She wore, much to her mother’s dismay, a small watch-like contraption pinned to her breast. The small time-teller, was at once a clock, as well as a great many other things. Most which Abigail had yet to discover. 

The time-teller was a gift from her headmistress upon Abigail’s graduation. It will be a puzzle for years to come, the Headmistress had told her. Having already tried several times to figure out the complex set of locks and hinges, the only thing that Abigail could say about the time-teller was that it told time.  Quite accurately at that, it hardly ever needed winding. 
 There would be no escaping her mother tonight. None at all, and Abigail had so been looking forward to the music.  Lady Worthington had promised her that the finest mechanical pipes would be in use. Abigail was so fond of the strange machines that produced a lovely music all their own. 

“How will we ever expect you to find a suitable match at a concert.” Her mother said the word like it was a vile word of the four-letter variety, which Abigail had only heard at the docks where her father worked. “Your grandfather was a Count! No, we will not go,” Mrs. Triste declared, even as she settled herself into the carriage. Her dark gown of blue with black net overlay, seemed to squash Abigail into a small corner of their conveyance.

“Mama,” Abigail said soothingly.  “We have already hired and paid the driver. Not to mention you promised Lady Worthington that you would be in attendance tonight. What sort of people would we be if we did not live up to our word?” 

Mrs. Triste considered her daughter’s words carefully. “Of course we will attend, darling, but we must consider that we are somehow above this all. It’s our duty, I suppose, as peerage.” 

Abigail fiddled with the small buttons on her gloves. Buttoning them and unbuttoning them. Her mother liked to constantly bring up her father’s peerage. Yes, her father had been a count, a penniless one at that. Mrs. Triste had married Abigail’s father because he was a wealthy merchant and she was a girl with no dowry to speak of.  Let us make no mistake, however, there was money involved but it was in fact a love match.  Mr. Triste was the only one who seemed to not only understand his wife, but also cajole her into submission. A trait which Abigail tried to learn, but had never quite perfected. 

“Exactly,” Abigail breathed. 

The gas lights glowed brightly in the growing dark. Abigail watched the world outside her carriage as her mother prattled on at who was likely to be there. Technically speaking, Abigail was not ‘on the market’ yet. The season would not officially begin until summer and then she could be shuttled from ballroom to ballroom in the hopes of making a suitable match. 
She wanted nothing to do with it. 

The streets of London were particularly busy that evening, but then again they had become this way with the discovery of werewolves and vampires. Not to mention all the other others.  Ghosts, witches, and some even whispered the undead—although all those with a practical mind knew better than to believe in the walking dead— all made their lives in the night.  Abigail was looking forward to her debut in the hopes that she might attend a ball and dance with a werewolf or perhaps even a vampire. Then she might be able to inquire about the transformation process. It had been lightly touched upon in her education, but certainly not discussed at length. Even a proper education respected private matters. If not the transformation, then perhaps what life had been like decades ago. That would be splendid, she thought.  A history lesson from someone who actually lived it.  

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Music Monday: Soundtracks

I'll keep some of the old stuff. Resurrecting Music Mondays! Because I love alliteration. 

This week and really for the past two months, I've been addicted to soundtracks. This really came about when I hear Joss Whedon talk at school. Yes, he came to my college where I was studying for my MFA. He shook my hand. For a good five seconds he knew my name. It was epic. 

Anyway, his advice was: listen to soundtracks. Since then, I think I've purchased four or five soundtracks and am contemplating the Newest X-Men one. 

So a few quick hits: 

Ramin Djawadi: Falling Away (game soundtrack: Metal of Honor) 

Patrick Doyle: Crewe and the Soldier (A Little Princess) 

John Ottman: The Attack Begins (X-Men Days of Future Past)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Friday Flash Fiction

Sooooo, I love flash fiction; pretty much every book I've written has come from a flash fiction piece.

The process goes something like this: Write 5k on a whim, sometimes more sometimes less. Leave that nugget in my rando file on a computer. Like something about it and dig it up roughly six months later. Write book.

Take a break from book to write more flash fiction.

Flash fiction doesn't have to be long, doesn't have to be complete, doesn't have to be more than a flash in a pan. It's just fun. It's a great way to start the weekend. :)

Today's flash fiction is inspired by this pic:

It's by Michael-C-Hayes (
You can find this pic and more of my random inspirations over on pinterest.

The old bones of a destroyed church arched high over Lo's head. The inky black sky loomed over her punctured by tiny stars. She didn't look at them. There was no point in asking questions of the stars. They were as they always were: silent.

She ducked under the yellow tape line, nodding to a uniformed officer there. People would start to gather soon, the press, the neighbors, the dregs of a leftover society. Since the angels came life had been clinging to the facade of normalcy.

Police officers wore uniforms and tried to keep peace where there was only chaos. Lo was a detective, plunged into the role when no one else wanted it and the department desperately needed one. That's why she was up under the blanket of stars, staring down at the newly dead angel.

Dead. Angel dead. No one knew exactly how they died. There was even a theory that they couldn't be killed. Impossibly strong, miraculously fast, heavenly charged, these winged creatures were not the stuff of dreams. They were the spawn of nightmares.

Lo squatted next to the corpse. No blood. Just a long set in rigor mortis. No pulse, but did these things have a pulse anyway? Snapping on a pair of gloves, Lo took the angel's pulse. None. The skin was rock hard. How long had it been dead? Months? Days? Minutes?

She lifted the edge of the elegant gown the angel had on. Lines spread down her side. Old script written in scar tissue. Lo pulled out a camera and snapped some photos. That was interesting. These things could be scarred. By what? When angels came down, the world had tried everything save for nuclear war. Slowly the world fell, super powers humbled by heavenly force.

Society had stabilized, if you could call it that. Mostly people just tried to go on living. No much else to do. Either get busy living or get busy dying. She'd forgotten who'd said that, but it always stuck with her. A leftover bit passed down to her from her father.

A whoosh of air that made her short hair flap around her face, made Lo pause. She didn't need to look up. The calvary had arrived. The iron fisted angel government. An Arch maybe? Perhaps someone higher. Perhaps not.

Slipping the camera into her pocket Lo stood up. She stretched tired muscles. It had been a long day and a short sleep of a night.

"I'd like the photos, Ms. Riley." The voice was smooth cultured, and completely void of an Earth accent.

"File the paper work and they're yours." Paper works. Systems. Hierarchy. The angels lived by it. Sometimes what you lived by could turn on you.


And that's all folks! Join me with some Flash Fiction!

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

On Happiness...Bitterness...and stuff.

Remember how I said this blog is changing?

Well this is change number one. Please be advised there is some mild cursing present.


There is always a question of how to perpetrate characters with disabilities. It's a question that I often get asked because well I have a disability. I'm not an expert and I don't try to speak for a whole population, because as a population we are a diverse group. Our experiences are not the same and in some cases we're so different we can't even relate to each other.

I am however an expert in my experience. I was born disabled and have lived as such for the past 25 years. Also, I will freely admit that there is a level of privilege in my life. I went to a premier medical facility as a child. I saw the best of the best. I have high expectations for doctors in the medical field. I am what might be termed a prima donna patient.

For years I have searched for a character who is just and was just as messed up as I am currently/was as a teenager. While not completely fucked up as a kid, I did have a fair amount of anger and bitterness to the world. It's at this age that I finally realized the world isn't fair, and it's especially, heinously unfair to me.

The one thing that is always discussed is the amount of bitterness a character is allowed to have. I've seen people on twitter request that we stop using characters with disabilities who are bitter. That if perpetuates unrealistic stereotypes. The story of these characters is always how quickly can we--meaning the author--fix them. Take away those nasty feelings and replace them with self love and happiness. Remove the intrusive looks and back-handed compliments and make the character fit perfectly into the world.

Every story, I've read involving a character with a disability tries to remedy them that way. Mostly because most of those stories are about those who become disabled. They are bitter and angry at the world. They are different and the world looks down on them because they now fail to live up to that impossible feat of normalcy. Slowly, usually through a boy or girl--a love interest--they heal. They become a whole person by joining someone else. Their half life is grafted onto someone else in order to make them a bearable part of society. But that's a lie.  How do you heal bitterness?

You don't.

I'm bitter. I can say that after twenty-five years, a year of therapy, happy drugs, and more issues than you can shake a stick at. I am bitter and please, don't take that away from me.

Now, am I going around, verbally lashing people with my extreme hatred 24/7? No. Do I perpetually languish in self-pity and self-loathing and general anger at the world. No.

Still, I am bitter.

I am not 100% bitter, just as I am not 100% anything. Think of it like this: I am 10% bitter and 90% everything else. This 10% is not always alive and kicking. Somedays its buried so deep beneath everything else that no one, not even me, notices it. Then somedays, it rears its ugly head and I am a pill. A horrible, dark cloud of doom and gloom who will verbally take you all the way down town. Then somedays still, I am a pleasant mix. One part bitter to two parts happy--stir until frothy and serve over ice.

You might wonder, Gretchen, how are you bitter? You don't seem bitter. You're a happy person. I have even been called a bubbly butterfly. And again for the most part, I am a happy person. I do love my life and I do have a great time, but it's those times where I stumble and the world around me stumbles that I struggle.

I struggle because as a person with a disability, I experience a different world than most people. I'm told not to be bitter. The working theory of society-and by society, I mean literature--seems to be that I can magically erase these feelings and never have to deal with it ever again. That an ounce of self-love and a boy by my side will change the world. I've read the fairytales, and as my mother used to remind me as a child: I am not a fairytale princess and this is not a fairystory.

For years, I shoved my bitterness away. I acted happy because I was expected to be happy. Society doesn't like unhappy, bitter disabled people. Much like the virgin/whore dichotomy for women, disabled people have a similar dichotomy: you can be "the saint" or you can be "the angry bitch." There is no middle ground and when you try to find that middle ground you get slapped.

No middle ground for you.

I was forced to choose between bitch and saint and for years; I chose saint. Now bear in mind this is not a real question. There was no person standing over me asking me whether I wanted to be this or that. It was simply an expectation by people around me and by society.  I don't blame them for this expectation, but it is an unfair expectation all the same. It makes me ashamed of my bitterness, of the anger I had at an unfair world. And so when I'd have these feelings I'd shove them down, hide them away.

I was perfectly happy going 120% just to be considered normal. When I failed, it struck me big not because everyone fails, but because so often I felt I failed because I could not be better than everyone else and therefore judged on the same level. It was hard and when I let my feelings out, when I showed my friends my bitter side, I got slapped back into my position. So I did what I do best, I compartmentalized! 

People, especially friends, don't like to hear that you are unhappy and unhappy in ways they cannot change. Most of this comes to boys--men, people of the opposite gender, who I happen to find attractive. Because, well society works against me finding a date, finding love. I don't look normal, and trust me in the dating scene, as much as society would like to pretend it doesn't matter--it does. 

When I would start to break down, my friends would say things like: you'll be the girl who at 30 finds the love of her life and then gets married and we'll all be jealous. Or, oh, god, she's starting this again. Or Gretchen, you just need to love yourself. 

I do love myself. I do. But let me break this down for you: this is not Penelope, an act of true self-love does not make you a perfectly normal Christina Ricci. I love my fingers and my missing bones. I even love the cadaver bones that have been implanted in me. I love me. But loving me, does not make me attractive to a society trained to think supermodels are the norm. The discussion of beauty culture is for another post, so back to bitterness!

Playing the saint is tiring. I have listened to people tell me, it's impressive that I work. That I'm their idol. That I'm so strong. For doing what? What am I supposed to say to that? I shelve books for a living, that is not a feat worthy of idolatry. 

This year, I started breaking down my sainthood, letting the cracks in my armor show, being vocal about stupidities in society. It's been hard. It's meant talking very seriously with a people close to me. It's meant being vulnerable in a whole new way. It's meant becoming, at least in part, a bitch.

And I hated myself all the more. 

For 25 years, I was the happy child. The child who could do anything, who didn't mind the constant uphill battle for approval. I am still, mostly, a happy adult. Are there things in my life I would change if a genii suddenly appeared with three wishes for me. Ab-so-fucking-lutely. A new job. Getting rid of my student debt. Healthcare. Notice me not saying I would change who I am--or as society sometimes likes to think of it--what I am. I don't want to change me, I want to change the world's perception of me. To fight this battle, you can't be the happy go lucky girl. You have to have some bitterness, some anger to last in this fight.

I started my road to being a bitch, and that opened up fissures I wasn't sure I could handle. I slipped back into old ways of faking happiness and sinking further into depression. Why couldn't I just be like everybody else? I tried to cover up my new problems, the taste of power that came with anger and bitterness. It wasn't until my therapist told me: it's okay to be bitter and you don't have to let it go, that I began to feel comfortable in my new self. 

Finding the middle isn't always easy. I can slip back into happy-go-lucky Gretchen easily, but bitterness will not leave me. It gives me passion to change the world. Fire to keep telling new and interesting stories. Lives to change, including and most importantly--my own. 

I am 10% bitter and damn proud of it. 

Monday, March 31, 2014


I've always been very PC when it comes to what I put out onto the internet. And that has led me to one strongly held belief: I am bland--at least on the internet. Personality lobotomy.

Well today I am joining the two halves of my brain back together. No more well buttoned-up, toned down Gretchen. To follow a wise sage's advice it's time to take chances, make mistakes, and get messy.

Yes, I just quoted Mrs. Frizzle, because she is awesome and I would take her class any day of the week.

I'll still probably go on being my happy charming self, but things are going to be different, because well I'm tired of not saying my opinion from fear of backlash. It's always said that you have to be careful what you say, so as not to insult a future employer.

To this I say: if you can't take a valid critique get out of this industry. Get out of the arts in general. Art will be critiqued and not everyone will like the shiny objects I create.

This change happens to coincide with a new project I'm doing with my friend Hannah over at ( She's awesome and I am very lucky to have met her. It's been through her blog that I've noticed, I've been too safe.

Too guarded.

I have opinions darn it. And a point of view and this point of view and these opinions are going to be aired starting today. I'm not going to stay quiet anymore because I am afraid that someone someday might be offended by what I write or how I think.

You don't have to agree with me. In fact, let's discuss. Let's engage. Let's wrestle with ideas that scare and frighten us. To quote another wise woman: You're not even required to like it. You are required to consider it.

Mona Lisa Smile--everyone check it out. Fantastic movie.

I'm going to start ripping open some subjects that I think the YA community should start looking at. I'll be looking at subjects, I'm looking at. Things that interest me. Things that give me passion.  Things that make me irate. Things that make me feel, because at the end of the day art that doesn't move you in some way has failed.

Welcome to the new La-LA Land, people. It'll probably be a bumpy ride and there will most definitely be some touchy subjects and posts that will be *trigger warned* in the future.  

There'll be feminism and discussions about disability, writing, vlogging, and job hunting. Also probably a healthy dose of me talking about my travels around and out of La-LA Land. Fashion and television. And of course fairytales--for which I have a passion.

Opinions start today. Hope to see you around the blogosphere. If you want, check me out over at: The YA Wallpaper. I'll be vlogging there once a week starting April 14 about YA and feminism, but I'll tell you more about that later. (but go ahead, click through, subscribe and watch us tackle books head on.)

Friday, June 7, 2013

Twitter asks the best questions

Okay so this week the very excellent Ms.WendyDarling posed a very interesting question to Twitter:

The answer is, frankly, not many.  And the fact that the "magical cure" button exists is the reason I usually refuse to read books with disabled protags, because I find this type of plot device to be offensive.

Does every book do this? No, but the rate at which I see it occur puts me off these titles.

There are even fewer protagonists who are born with disabilities rather than acquire them throughout their life. It's a very different role in your life. As a person who is born with a disability, I have no feeling of loss of "normalcy." Having nine fingers is normal for me, I can't imagine what you people do with ten... That's just one too many.

(Yes, that was a joke. Please chuckle)

For me there is no urgency to return to a normal state.  There is simply a wish to accept that my normal-ness will never be the universal normal. It's not easy, and sometimes it's not fun. Although sometimes you tango up and down hospital hallways, and that my friends IS fun.

On the flip side, from my understanding--and I would like to be clear that it is my understanding and in no way fact, the journey of someone who gains a disability is different.  Many of my friends do have a desire to return to their previous state.  A desire which I get, and I understand, but is not something I want for myself. I will even admit that there are friends I have who were born disabled and want to attain this "universal normal."

The one thing I think both struggles encompass is that is it a daily question. It's not something that you magically accept one day and poof you're happy with who you are forever and always.  There are good days, when I'm like 'yeah I rule the world!' and there are days where I am like 'it really sucks to be labeled disabled. I'm going back to bed.'

Now back to the "magical cure" plot-line.  This plot devices proposes two things that at there are core are offensive:

One, it supposes that I need to be fixed and am somehow not like the rest of the world and thus am bad/wrong/unlikely to succeed without being like everyone else...

Not true.  I am perfectly happy (most days) with where I am in life.  All of my "cures" if you will, aka the 40 some odd surgeries that have kept my original parts in working order, were great and have kept me going.  They were, however, not a cure.

I will also say this: there is no need for a cure because there is nothing wrong with me.

For most people with disabilities, whether acquired or not, this is the truth. There is no cure.  Supposing there is a cure, means that somehow, I am a lower class of citizen without it.  The "magical cure" automatically assumes there is something wrong with me and that I must be in want of fixing.

Two, a "magical cure" can often take the form of the protagonist accepting themselves and their different state and then they are "magiced" into a perfect "universal normal" version of themselves.  The reward for accepting yourself as "different" is getting to be like everyone else.

I would like to say that the perpetuation that this kind of acceptance exists is mean. I grew up on many stories who used this and it took me years to realize there was never going to be that one magic moment of acceptance and then, poof, I would never have to worry about it again.

Acceptance of ones body is like everything else a spectrum of good days and bad days. Somedays, I am totally a ten. I have no qualms with whatever I am doing. Life is great. Then there are days where I'll admit it, I am not so accepting of myself. I get angry and frustrated, I'm at like a two those days. And sure there are days in there where I'm mildly aware but mostly don't care because I am too busy with my life. Those are my five days or if the classification exists on this spectrum: N/A.

Acceptance is a road that like life doesn't end.  It continues and there will be ups and downs along the way.

Now, I will make this final mention, as a writer and a reader, I understand the reason this literary device works. These are stories and at their ends, we want our characters to feel happy and like they've achieved something tangible. Acceptance is emotional.  As a filmmaker, I am always trying to find new ways of outwardly showing the interior problems/emotions/beats.  So yes, the  "magical cure" is in itself a great way to express that happy acceptance-filled ending.  It's the fairytale sort of end that everyone wants.

But when you start to think about what the ending really says, it's not that nice. It's not inclusive. It's deceiving.  It's letting people believe that people who are different need to be "fixed."

Now, I am a writer and I can soap-box about this topic all day.  The typical follow up question I get to my conversations, is: Then Gretchen, you clearly have passion for this, why don't you write a book/a TV show about a disabled person. You could fix this!

Well, that would be really cool. Sure. I mean I am all for more people with disabilities in the media--and if its televised, it'd really be cool if those characters were actually played by people with disabilities. If that happened, I might not soap-box as often as I do on the subject.

Yes, I've considered it. Yes, I've tried it. But what it comes down to is this: disabled characters become bounded by the disability to which they have. Very rarely, if ever, are they free to run around in stories or live lives, that have nothing at all to do with their disability.

Since they are disabled, their journey and story must be about their journey to over-come it. Their journey is always a desire to return to a "universal normal" which is not my desire at all.  They can't just exist autonomously from what they are.  I've spent my entire life being told exactly what I am, and what I have, and what that means for me.  I do not want to create a character, set them in a story, and then proceed to be all doctor like and tell them what they are.

Especially in SF/F, characters with disabilities are typically born on planets or exist in societies that look down on people who are disabled. They ara then set on a path to prove the world wrong.

Now do I think the world we live in is perfect in regards to people with disabilities? No. I mean please my civil rights are younger than I am. Do I face discrimination? Have I faced it? Yup. So can these stories be relevant? Sure. Absolutely, they can be. But so often, disabled characters become touch stones for a larger audience and fail to be real characters/ real people. They are completely defined by what the author has chosen they have. They do not exist without being disabled.

Trust me, when I say if you ask me to describe myself, the last thing I will say is disabled. The last thing I will mention is that I have nine fingers, am missing parts of my spine, have had over 40 surgeries, and could go on listing the "disabilities" that I have. But as you can see that is not me. That is what I am, that is not who I am. It is in answering the "who are you" question that drives literature.

Shakespeare even drove an entire play with that question. "Who's there?/Stand and unfold yourself." That's Hamlet people, a question of who is there and who are you? Will you be will you not?

But so rarely is the "who are you" question answered without using disability for characters who just so happen to have them.

I think it's time to abandon the idea that disabled characters can only exist within stories where they serve to enlighten the world of their attitudes toward disability.  Because that is the change we want to see in the world. That people of all races, abilities, sexual orientations, and I am forgetting some so everyone, can be seen for who they are and not what they.  They are not defined by pre-existing ideas of what that person should be.

Stop using characters with disabilities as a means to an end. Stop defining a character with a disability by their disability. Because as long as I am not in the hospital, I do not live my life being defined by what I am, because I am too busy defining who I am to be bothered by what I am.