I’m an Aspie, and I write fiction.
I was originally going to talk about the creation and the development of Wesley Novak, but then I realised I should first explain how I, an Aspie, write fiction.
Wesley has become one of my absolute favorite characters! I love him in a he’s-my-baby-way to the point that I could never kill him off, which… supposedly, that is a bad thing for an author to say about a character/a fault in an author, but the reason I can’t see myself killing him off is because he’s such a dynamic character that there is so much to develop with him—the possibilities are literally endless.
He’s also hard to write, develop and describe, though, because he is an aspie. I’m well aware I am contributing to the annoying mass of male aspies in fictional literature, as there are very few female aspie characters in fiction, but Wesley is a great depiction of the way I view the world—and I didn’t want to have to consider the difficulties that exist for women in various classes, careers, societies, etc. I have other characters that are aspies and some that are not, and I even took the Aspie Quiz for them to make sure my suspicions were correct.
An unfortunate misconception is that autistics cannot write fiction, because we struggle with pretending and imagining alternate realities. Therefore, aspies and autistics who mention writing fiction are called out on it. “You can write fiction?” they ask, one eyebrow raised, the other lowered, in dismay. “You mustn’t be autistic, then.” Cue the pushing up of their glasses, or the running their fingers through their hair, or the thumb and index finger holding a thinking position on their chin.
I read a lot of fiction/mystery as a child, though I struggled with writing reality scenarios, such as a teen with cancer who has basically lived at the same hospital for ten years and wanders around when all is quiet. Now that I look back at that story and have talked to, heard about, and met people who have been allowed to do such a thing, I realise my mother was simply stomping all over my dreams and pride I had with that story—because such a story could have been true for someone somewhere out there in the world.
Later on, I wrote a horror story that is since lost, wherein the basis of it consisted of a child and her family moving into a house, the child finding a ghost, whom she cannot see, who reminds her of herself, and the child tracing her family’s history back to this house, wherein she also meets a boy she begins to like, though the boy is also a ghost, though she doesn’t know it. She later learns the familiar ghost who reminded her of herself is her twin, and she was separated at birth—her adoptive mother is her aunt, and her biological mother couldn’t handle raising two children. Her biological mother and twin sister died unexpectedly and in an unknown way, with the rest of the family simply assuming the two had disappeared elsewhere.
I would write fiction, because it was the easiest way to describe how I felt. Because I didn’t feel like I was living in reality until I realised, “Maybe I am living under the wrong identity,” and acknowledged that perhaps I’m not who everyone says I am, who everyone believes me to be. Furthermore, my present reality was so horrendous that I dissociated from it and began living in an alternate reality. I would believe my alternate reality was real, and so I would write about it.
Though my therapist didn’t seem to feel this was okay, I realised the key to writing fiction as an aspie is to accept it as a reality. You have to put yourself in that character’s position, but in order to do so, you have to become one with the character. In Avatar, there is a special bond to be formed, and once bonded, you’re bonded forever. It’s a very special bond, and that is the bond one must create with a character. They have to become a part of you so you can feel what they feel exactly as they feel it. Of course, if they’re minor, supporting characters, it doesn’t matter much. They can live freely in the universe.
The only other way I can think to describe it is by detailing everything before you begin writing. Draft up rules and the way the law works, if you’re creating a fictional universe. Wesley, as a character idea, was officially born August 2014. He survives on schedules and rules, which means I have to come up with his routine and rules in every aspect I can think of before I begin writing for him, or else I can accidentally screw him up later. He is, for the most part, the exact same in the way that he eats, prepares his tea, gets ready for bed… it’s all the same. In order to be able to accept him as a reality, I have to make him seem as real as possible; otherwise, I won’t be able to form a bond with him that allows me to feel what he feels, right down to the weirdness.
Writing was a special interest at one point, so much so that I had those annoying spiral notebooks filled with words’ definitions I’d copied straight out of a dictionary time and time again. I wanted to enhance my diction and expand my vocabulary—I wanted to create the best escape I could ever have for myself, so I went to writing. If reading allows one to escape into another world, then why can’t writing work the same way? I wrote realities that were better than my own, and the characters and stories I created with them were created within those realities.
I had to work harder than my peers to create things that made sense, because whilst I can dream and dream and dream about something, I may not feel as if it is exactly right—if it is perfect or adequate.
I think blogging has helped me with my writing, though; through blogging, I learn how to word things in such a way that I can get a particular point across. Sometimes I fail, but it’s a learning process. To say an Aspie cannot write fiction is simply throwing out another able slur. We can write fiction if we work at it hard enough, we can do it; it just takes a lot more for us to be able to than non-Aspies.
Aspies need fiction that represents us adequately well, because more often than not, we are misinterpreted or misrepresented.
Wesley is an extremely complex character most will probably hate, but there are also things to love. His story is mostly a romance/love one, possibly in an extremely Aspie way, but aside from the characters being extremely annoying and obnoxious in the Aspie fiction that does exist, there isn’t any that is ever-so-sweet.
I guess he’s like my big “fuck you” to the people who tell me I need to be less picky about a suitor for myself, because “hardly anyone in the world willing to marry someone and not have sex and just adopt kids is rare, so you are likely to be alone forever” is the response I get, and I feel that that is a major thanks to fiction and other stories neurotypicals have written about the atypicals in their lives.
Wesley has a weird relationship with a person that excludes a lot of physical contact, though he compromises here and there, simply out of admiration—not necessarily respect—for the other, who knows how to prepare Wes’ tea correctly and intrigue him. It’s sweet and hilarious, and there are a lot of moments wherein his partner thinks, “What the fuck?” but it’s mostly positive, save the moments where they have extremely hateful banter consisting of Wesley, like many Aspies tend to do, thinking he is, once again, superior to everyone else.
I, an Aspie, write fiction, because I like to believe neurotypicals can coexist with atypicals—and that neurotypicals and atypicals can have healthy, positive relationships with one another. It’s harder, but perhaps the end result will be well worth it. 🙂