Wednesday, April 4, 2012

My Protagonist Might Have Aspergers

Sorry I haven't been able to post for so long, but it's been even longer since I've actually been able to work on my story.  Life can get in the way, but I've been thinking about some critiques I've received regarding one of my characters.  Some have commented on his lack of emotional range. 

Originally, I intended to write him as somewhat reserved, maybe emotionally withdrawn.  If you haven't read any of my descriptions, my protagonist is a partial telepath - he can detect all thoughts around him that pertain to him.  Consider how many close friendships you would make if, throughout your life, you always knew the truth about what everyone around you thinks about you? Add to that the fact that he genetically inherited his mother's memories - including her being attacked and stabbed just before his birth.  He's not too quick to trust.

I thought that would be his main character/personality limitation, but last year, something changed.  My son was diagnosed as high-functioning autistic.  Like most parents, I started researching it and started making some correlations with my protagonist.  I'm continuing to review some basic material and compare with my character's personality.  I believe that I've inadvertently given my protagonist Aspergers traits.  Since this is science fiction, I decided to work that into the story.  Since the story takes place about 500 years in the future, I'll assume a cure for Aspergers/Autism would be found.  My protag's affliction would be like Aspergers in almost every respect except for the fact that it is brought on, largely, due to a severe trauma pre-birth or at birth.  This affliction gives tendencies for the brain to reduce or shut down part of their emotional processing because they were effectively overloaded at birth.  The symptoms will mirror Aspergers so much that he'll be misdiagnosed and treated for Aspergers. 

One thing I know is that I still have a lot of work to do to make this work but hopefully, this will become a good character development.  More importantly, I would love for this story to bring more attention to Aspergers/Autism.