…….because it is a huge part of who I am and how I perceive the world. And since Novel Now Finished is about a woman who ‘sees’ the world differently and is told from her Point of View, it seemed like the ideal place to incorporate this part of my personality.
Is the Narrator herself on the spectrum? No, I didn’t write her to be Asperger’s, or even autistic, both of which were the furthest thing from my mind when I originally conceived the character and her story. However, like me, she sees things that others don’t – I can see patterns and energy within events and people and make connections. The Narrator works in a cemetery and sees and interacts with ghosts (which I think is far more fascinating than patterns and energy, but that’s just me).
It was only lately, in the last year or so, that I decided to make Asperger’s an unofficial part of the Narrator’s personality. To do this, I try to find similarities between my abilities and the Narrator’s and what aspect of my Asperger’s might fit within that scope. So far it’s been an interesting experiment and one that I hope to utilize more effectively in revision.
Which brings us to the question – how do I see the world?
Differently than the norm, would be one way to put it.
As described in other blog posts, I have had difficulty in reading body language and social cues or I have a tendency to be a little too open. The best analogy I’ve been able to come up with that others can understand is that it’s like having a paint pallet, but only half or even a quarter of the colors available. Sometimes it’s like walking around in an unfamiliar room in the pitch dark, with no idea of how to navigate around items that may or may not be there.
Like the Narrator, I’m also empathic – I’ll know by people’s energy if I want to be around them (if it’s a bad vibe, it’s like getting a stomach ache). I can ‘feel’ if someone’s lying to me, which is like getting sucker-punched; I can ‘feel’ other emotions that people try to mask with behaviors that contradict what I’m sensing, which is extremely confusing. When that happens, I have to sit back and observe for context. Often, however, I get overwhelmed by other people’s energy and I’ll end up spending days at home, just to recuperate and recharge.
Because of this, I tend to sit back and observe people and my surroundings. The details I pick up without even trying would astound you. I don’t think twice about it.
The most interesting challenge about incorporating my Asperger’s into the Narrator isn’t so much giving her those traits. The challenge is being able to observe my Asperger’s in such a way that I can identify what will work and what won’t. In other words, I have to be far more analytical than I already am.
As the Great Dane Scooby Doo would say, “Ruh, roh!”
The Autistic Brain – Temple Grandin
Thinking In Pictures – Temple Grandin