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sunriseandroses
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07 Apr 2016, 9:09 am

okay so i'm writing this dystopian novel-type thing, and one of my main characters is autistic. the story isn't focused around that, but she is on the spectrum. I really hope this hasn't been posted already, so if it has just direct me to it. But i was wondering if anyone could give me some insight as to how to write her? she's a teenager, and i'm planning on having her be lesbian. I wanted to get some input from people who actually have autism, because although my sister has it, i don't. what are some common stereotypes to avoid? how do you hate seeing autistic people written? just some general information, and once i get more into the plot, i might have some more specific questions. i just really don't want to fall into another bad trope where a non-autistic person writes an autistic person and it fails completely (or a cis person writes a trans character, or a straight person writes a gay character, etc). just to note, i am a lesbian, so i do already know a lot about that certain topic. but in this novel, sexuality is a nonissue. thanks in advance!



Pieplup
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07 Apr 2016, 9:22 am

I'd say Make him like you, or if your not autistic, like someone your no or H**l even me.


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superluminal23
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09 Jun 2021, 1:37 am

The easiest way to write a character, any character, is to assign them the personality of someone you know in real life and imagine how that person would react to the situation your character is in. You probably know your sister pretty well. So when you are thinking about what your character would do ask yourself "what would my sister do in this situation?" and write that.



DuckHairback
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09 Jun 2021, 3:04 am

I'm a writer too. I'd say try to follow the same rules for any character you create, autistic or not - try to make them a complete character with depth and texture. You can get away with tropes and stereotypes as long as your character isn't entirely constructed of them.

What I mean is, autistic people share some traits - that's why we can group them and give that group a name. But we're also infinitely varied within that group. If you just stick to the shared traits, or use those traits as the reason for your character existing, it'll feel false and tropey and stereotypical. Not good. So you can have some of the typical autistic traits, that way your readers will know the character isn't neurotypical, but make sure you add some things that are unique to your character. Having an autistic sister should give you some insight - what does she do that isn't in the classic descriptions of ASD? I think that's what will give your character depth and make it ring true.



Joe90
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09 Jun 2021, 4:58 am

It is hard not to offend people these days. But most autistics (including myself) get worked up over the lack of empathy thing, which is a false stereotype that puts a bad name on the autism community and invalidates those of us who naturally have a lot of empathy. So try to avoid making your autistic character seem like she's some sort of emotionless psychopath.

Also you say the character is a teenage girl. Usually autism in teenage girls is quite complex. Some can seem almost neurotypical. But I suppose it depends on how mild or severe you want your character to be.


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