Dear Dystopian Writers,
I am diabetic and I do not want to die. I am a fighter, a survivor if you will. I’m not sure HOW LONG I would last in a dystopian world but there is one thing I am positive of: I would NEVER be the flat character in your stories that is like “I’m going to die anyway so please just leave me behind.”
Like… EXCUSE ME?
1) It’s just as inevitable for me to die as it is any of the other people there.
2) Even if I AM going to die, I’m not going to just stand there and let it happen faster. I want to live! Isn’t that in human nature? Just because I have a disability (in this case, diabetes) does not mean I won’t go down fighting.
3) NO ONE EVER WANTS TO BE LEFT BEHIND! Like my goodness! “Oh, go on. I’ll just wait here while the zombie hoard catches up…. and I’m alone… and it’s nighttime… in the woods… where there are also crazed maniacs with guns.” Who in their right mind would want to be left behind by themselves in an apocalypse!?
4) I would rather die because I was trying to live and my disability got in the way, than give up on life because I have a disability.
5) I am human. I care about myself and those around me. I want the world to be a better place. And I want to live a happy life.
So please please please! Stop using disability characters as instant sympathy grabbers. If you want people to feel for them when they die then make them worth feeling for. Make them the character that everyone loves. And make them independent! Unless they received the disability IN the apocalypse they should know how to take care of themselves. They’ll have to make adjustments but all of your characters have to do that so why should they be any different?
If you don’t know how to make a normal disability character then talk to someone with a disability. Or take constructive criticism from people with that disability after you’ve written the character. Or simply don’t make that character have a disability.