Can Writers with Aspergers write Likeable Fiction?

aspergerThe most stereotypical concern of writers with Asperger Syndrome (autism spectrum disorder) is that we can’t write social interactions because we aren’t good at them. But I’m not going to write about that today.

Instead, let’s look at the likeability factor. Aspies tend to go through life pretty well friendless, or having people we call ‘best friends’ who call us acquaintances at best. It’s because we don’t make eye contact properly, or we send off non-verbal vibes that we aren’t interested in friendship when actually we are, or we make mistakes and say something tactless.

But if we ourselves are perceived by others as unlikable, won’t our fiction be unlikeable too?

Well, all I can say is ‘I hope not’. But writing fiction is a different animal than winning personal friendships. Once you have a book out there that has been accepted as a standard, normal novel by a publisher (or by a community of readers, for indie writers), your book gets judged on what’s inside it.

As Aspies there may be something ‘missing’ in our writing because of our condition, but there is something added as well— an intensity due to our Special Interests. If we use our Special Interests carefully in our fiction, and don’t overdue it, we bring a passion to our writing that neurotypicals may lack.

An example of a probably Aspie who became well-regarded as a writer is Herman Melville, author of Moby Dick. I loved that book as a teen— probably because I read it on my own instead of having it forced on me in school. He gave a lot of detail on life on a whaling ship— I detect Special Interest there— and that added to the appeal of the book as a whole, at least for me.

So I think we Aspies can write fiction readers will like. We just have to get out there and get trying.


3 thoughts on “Can Writers with Aspergers write Likeable Fiction?

  1. I haven’t read any of Melville’s other works. When I read Moby Dick I was a kid and was limited as to what books I could get a hold of, and by the time I had more book-access I’d moved on to other things, such as history and German literature (in German).

  2. Moby-Dick rewards all the rereading anyone puts into it. Last time was a few years back, after I read the book about the Essex whose title slips my mind at the moment. Redburn and White-Jacket are two early works that are in the same Library of America volume as Moby-Dick. I’ve read Typee and got bogged down in Omoo (didn’t care for his attitude toward missionaries), and I’m told hardly anyone can read Mardi. I got Bartleby the Scrivener in high school. You might find all of these ring a bell. I haven’t read Billy Budd.

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