Writing can present us with many challenges. Being an individual with Aspergers Syndrome, certain social aspects of writing can be daunting...
Conversation & Social Conventions:
Growing up, what most would consider to be the normal social protocols, did not come naturally to me. I didn't understand body language, tone of voice, or why some action were deemed polite and others not. I always had to second guess myself and the behaviors which, although normal for me, were not normal to the eyes of those around me.
Writing characters that I connect with have always been easy, but it is these social conventions that I have struggled with throughout the years. In the world of Peradon, featured in my novel Phoenix, the social protocols are slightly different from those in our everyday lives on planet Earth. Fantasy is a great genre to pursue in that sense. Things don't have to be the same as they are in our world. We have plenty of room to experiment with social examples and to find what works for us and our characters.
Moving on to dialogue. With little understanding of thickly veiled sarcasm and difficulty in understanding the motivations of others, I have worked hard to focus on each of my character's motivations and how their dialogue may hint at what is to follow. Why do the characters act in certain ways and what can they hope to gain from such behaviors? This is a question which I must repeatedly ask myself, to ensure that I get the right details across within my dialogue. While face to face speaking isn't always easy for me, creating my own characters and speech patterns (since they are all from my imagination) has helped me to get to grips with speech patterns and conversation in a way that face to face interactions are not able to.
Multiple Points of View (Walking in someone else's shoes:)
I was never one for understanding others' points of view as a child, and to this day I still struggle. I've found that reading as many different types of books as possible has been of some benefit in this department. I pay particular attention to how one character views another. Do they misunderstand others' actions a lot? Do they possess a negative or positive view of the world around them, and does this view influence the way in which they view events?
People: Take two young women, around the age of seventeen. One is a bubbly soul who sees everything in a golden light, while the other is quiet and reserved and views the world as unfair and unjust.
Event: One day it begins to snow, resulting in a four foot high blanket of white all around. Nobody can leave their homes and are forced to spend the day inside amongst their family.
Differing views: The bubbly young lady will likely brush off this unfortunate weather scenario and go with the situation, happy to spend more time with her family, or to try and make the most of the situation in other ways.
The more pessimistic of the two young women might see the snow as some way in which to thwart any previous plans she had scheduled, and find negatives about the situation in general.
Although this may seem like an odd example, one's way of looking at the world (their own point of view) is shown to have a profound effect on how they react to different situations. Walking in another shoes can be hard because we all possess different views of the world around us and hold different moral and societal beliefs.
If we try to make sense of how another views the world, then we will be better able to get an idea of what it is like to walk in their shoes. I find that doing mental exercises that include examples like the one aforementioned, help me and my Autistic brain to better understand a process that others seem to take for granted.
Please note that Part 2 of Writing with Aspergers Syndrome will be up within the next week.