February 21st, 2020


I can't write NTs or bullies

An occasional worry of mine is that, being on the autism spectrum, I subsequently don't know how to write allistic (non-autistic) characters. I base this on the fact that I keep seeing autistic traits in characters that were never intended to be autistic. It was, in fact, part of how I figured out I'm on the spectrum. But it keeps happening. I try to write allistics to the best of my ability, but since I really don't understand them or how they talk, I'm sure I'm doing it wrong even when the autism in my writing isn't obvious to me.

Like, I'm sure there's gonna come a time when an editor or critic or fan is gonna go "Hey, is (X) autistic too?" and I'm gonna have to be like, "No, I just suck at writing allistic people."

I also kinda suck at writing bullies. You'd think I'd be great at writing bullies, since I was a victim of so many of them for so many years. But for reasons that are likely boiled down to "I have ADHD as well," but also "I was kinda spacey as a kid, off in my own world all the time as a coping mechanism," so I don't remember most of my childhood. And the bulk of the bullying I got in high school was sexual harassment, the rest of it basically just being "what a weirdo!" So far, the bullies in my Ravenstone series are... pretty stupid. Their go-to bullying tactic is to call Dalia and her sister "freaks," or else to make racist comments (most of which are off stage and summarized by the narrator). Or they call Sarah ugly or "dog face." (Sarah: think that toothless kid from Stranger Things, but a girl.) For Vedya, they call her a freak, a clown (for her rainbow hair), or accuse her of being a furry or worse for dating a Kitsune.

But the worst part, the part I'm gonna have to really go back and edit and work on, is that the bullies never fucking learn. They never adapt to changing situations, and they keep getting in trouble for it. I'm starting to fix that a little, but it's still a big issue in the writing so far.

About the only real clever zinger one of the bullies have managed to do, I've had to censor for now since I'm still not entirely clear what my target audience is, and I don't know what a publishing company would allow. The zinger in question is against Vedya, is of a sexual nature, and is hilarious. And the best part, if I could allow it, is that Vedya wouldn't be bothered by it at all. In fact, she'd find it as hilarious as I did!

Anyway... of the two, I'm doing better at fixing my problems with writing bullies. The two major bullies are slowly getting smarter in book 2 out of necessity (it wasn't as much of an issue in book 1). But then, I have plenty of experience with people being mean to each other, that I can draw on. Whereas all I have to draw on for writing non-autistic characters is a whole lifetime of confusion that only seems to get worse the older I get.

This was cross-posted from https://fayanora.dreamwidth.org/1509351.html
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