Aspie Writing Styles, grammar, flashbacks

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lwilder
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29 Jan 2018, 4:12 am

Do Aspies have a writing style that is unique and different from NT's? My time references, flashbacks and chronologies are the most confusing to readers. I also have bad grammar - subject verb agreement, punctuation. using italics, being overly descriptive -pedantic. Also very long sentences and subjects and events that don't have enough background information for my readers to be able to follow the story. They say I can't make a good plot, but I keep trying. there is no real cohesion within my paragraphs and the overall story is fragmented, with no beginning, middle and ending. They say I focus too much on little things but don't understand the big picture - or gist - of the story.



AceofPens
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29 Jan 2018, 11:24 am

I have seen individual autistics whose writing style was particularly "Aspie-ish," yes. Heavy attention to detail that most readers find irrelevant or disinteresting, a neglect of character development or depth, and even plot fragmentation like you mentioned. Micheal Crichton comes to mind as an example, though he's not autistic. I've found that science fiction writers, in general, are particularly prone to these writing pitfalls. That's not to say that it's a bad way of writing. I love Crichton. But that style of writing fits best in the sci-fi genre, and if you write outside of that, I can imagine that any other demographic readership might find it hard to swallow except in small doses. What genre do you write?


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Veggie Farmer
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30 Jan 2018, 6:31 pm

That’s funny you point out flashbacks, I was just dealing with this today! I have a really bad habit of starting new rough draft chapters with a flashback, then within a paragraph I’ll have wandered off into yet another flashback. Once I’m done I’ll go back and revise the mess immediately into a coherent timeline. I think its because I’m typing the plot ideas as they occur to me, not in the order they happen in the story.

Some genres are more Aspie-friendly than others (We dominate SF! Yea us!) I count my Aspiehood as a blessing in SF, since I think it gives me an edge by making me see big ideas from a unique angle. As for other genres... Aspie bodice-rippers... um, I’m sure there are some great ones out there but I’d guess they’re rare birds.


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AspieUtah
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30 Jan 2018, 6:38 pm

I am famous for 9- or 10-line run-on sentences. And yes, they are perfect according to spelling, punctuation and grammar.

Just not here. :lol:


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hmk66
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31 Jan 2018, 7:24 am

Some people say that I have an autistic writing style on forums. Don't know whether that is true. Some of them say that in a negative way when I have a different opinion about a specific matter than they.

Some call my writing style cute. But English is not my native tongue, and I think that other people can tell that from my texts on forums where the messages must be in English.



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31 Jan 2018, 7:57 am

When I was 18, I had poor grammar and didn't have a concept of how to write. In college, I had to write a paper on describing a room and simply just listed what I saw in my imaginary room. I just didn't have a grasp of what to include and what not to include in order to interest my reader. The point is, you are describing yourself *now*, but you can learn and change. Besides, us Aspies are slow developers.

That being said, now that I do have a writing style, I'd say that Aspies do have a certain way of doing things. I like to start a sentence with a description purposely designed to somewhat disorient the reader so they have to read further for an explanation. As an example, I might start a book with:

"The Salesman drove past endless colors of alternating yellow and red that meshed to form a singular color. He could all but see with the sweat pouring down his face, stinging his eyes. 'Is my soul in jeopardy?', he thought. Why couldn't he be more like his brother? Outside, the wild flowers continued their union of color, as the dead bodies of a couple lay in the wake of the Salesman's path."

So this is sorta of a quick start to a book I'm working on and perhaps might complete one of these days. Anyway, the start is designed to make the reader go "what the freak" and only find explanations as they read. So the alternating colors that mesh together turn out to be the color of different wild flowers being passed by at great speed. He's sweating because he just killed a couple....and you have to figure out why the writer doesn't give the person's name, just refers to him as the Salesman....

You'll find your own style, but whatever it is, it will probably be *unique* because of your autism. We think differently, but that doesn't mean we think *poorly*.



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02 Feb 2018, 7:01 pm

People often comment on my writing style when I write forum posts or short stories.

I've noticed some trends with the kind of things people comment on, such as;

- The articulacy of my writing.

- Apparently I come across in a detached, objective, and formal manner.

- "You remind me of *insert person here* by the way you write".

- Thoroughness.

-Use of wit.

- And coming across as quite matter of fact.

On another forum I had someone remark to me "The way you write is fairly typical of someone on the autism spectrum, of course that's just mere speculation since I'm no therapist, but um maybe you should look into that".

Which would suggest that there is a certain style associated with autistic individuals, and possibly people with OCD, since I have had people say that I write a bit like people they know with OCD. Could be a coincidence, but there also could be something there.

I think I probably could work on writing with more emotion, recently I got a bad grade because apparently my factual essay didn't convey enough heartfelt emotion or conviction.

Well, in fairness the task description of "Write a factual essay" was a tad misleading.


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rebeccadanielprophet
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02 Feb 2018, 7:16 pm

I finally have 428 pages of a novel written. It's not done, but there isn't a lot of plot. I am terrible at plot, and I ignore grammer. But I do good meditations on the ocean and the woodlands. My novel is about a suicidal teenager and how she finds God, and other subplots including a kid-elf named Rose who has autism. (like the elves in LOTR). I also put in my own narrative voice in it.

My mom says that it has to be something other people will want to read. I am hoping it is, but part of me thinks its okay I am writing this for myself, but I also want to inspire people and raise awareness about autism, mental illness, mystical species like faeries and elves, and lead people to Christ.

I write the characters' nightly dreams, kind of like flashbacks.


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B19
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03 Feb 2018, 7:02 am

Just looking at the history of WP posts, you can see that there is an enormous variety in style, fluency, grammar, coherency and structure.

Some people, though only a small minority, omit paragraphs altogether and post walls of text. The vast majority don't, so I don't think this is an AS thing, it may be that those posters were never taught about paragraphs and the general rules of usage.

I don't think there is an aspie style per se; a range of different styles perhaps. I notice on Facebook that the NT's I am friends with are more likely than my AS friends to make simple one line posts and use photos of themselves and the meals they are eating much much more. The aspies are more inclined to post pictures of nature, beautiful beaches and animals. The aspie friends (on FB) are often very very good at photography, and they let the pictures speak for themselves without a lot of additional comment. The NT's comment more on photos they post, even if it's a plate of french fries, describing in words what is manifestly obvious on their plates.

I wonder though if the aspies who are good at pattern spotting write differently from the aspies who aren't pattern spotters? My guess is yes, the pattern spotters are probably more likely to be attuned to noticing patterns in their own writing and may be more prone to compose their text in patterns which conform to their conscious preferences (possibly).

Some aspies are very good writers, though I don't think that the majority are.
Some NTs are very good writers, though I don't think that the majority are.
It would be interesting to know is the proportion of AS good writers is the same per capita as the proportion per capita of good NT writers. I suspect it might be higher in the AS population, for various reasons. Many of us prefer written communication, that's for sure.



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03 Feb 2018, 9:53 am

I have had to write many essays and short stories for my course of studies (scientific and literary translation) and my productions often received my teachers’ approval and even praise. I didn’t make many grammar mistakes and flashbacks were not a problem for me, as I could often keep the plot line organized and coherent. Unimportant details weren’t an issue either because my teachers always stressed that every word we write must be there for a reason, so I deleted all redundant or insignificant descriptions in my revisions. The only problem I remember having was when I wrote fan fiction and published it online: a reader once complained that my plot was too far-fetched, another one said it was too predictable and yet one more wrote the interactions between the characters seemed “stiff and robotic” and asked whether I was an introvert. I told him that I was, because I didn’t know about my ASD at that moment. If it happened now I would reply “no, I’m just autistic” and laugh wondering about his reaction.


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B19
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03 Feb 2018, 6:14 pm

I highly recommend this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Writers-Spectrum ... 1843109131

You can read free excerpts and they were fascinating for me.



Veggie Farmer
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03 Feb 2018, 8:43 pm

Some aspies are very good writers, though I don't think that the majority are.
Some NTs are very good writers, though I don't think that the majority are.
It would be interesting to know is the proportion of AS good writers is the same per capita as the proportion per capita of good NT writers. I suspect it might be higher in the AS population, for various reasons. Many of us prefer written communication, that's for sure.[/quote]

I suspect a much higher percentage of AS than NT writers have released finished works to the public. Talent plays a role, but even more important is tenacity. Writing is hard. It takes thousands of solitary, frustrating hours of typing/erasing/typing, combined with mastering a variety of technical skills to create a full-length professional-level product. Not many NTs would be willing to dedicate that much alone time to a side project, but that is right up the typical Aspie alley. I think many, many people entertain the idea of writing, but when it doesn’t come easy, they quickly give up in despair. An Aspie hooked on a special interest won’t give up; they’ll relish the challenges.

When it comes to ‘good’, AS writers may have weaknesses, but so do NTs. Sure, there are cruddy, plotless, flat character Aspie works out there, but also a lot of cruddy, plotless, angsty NT melodramas. I’ve come to believe the secret is to create an intriguing, unpredictable, yet believable plot, and you’ll be forgiven for the faults.


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Veggie Farmer
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03 Feb 2018, 9:09 pm

rebeccadanielprophet wrote:
I finally have 428 pages of a novel written. It's not done, but there isn't a lot of plot. I am terrible at plot, and I ignore grammer. But I do good meditations on the ocean and the woodlands. My novel is about a suicidal teenager and how she finds God, and other subplots including a kid-elf named Rose who has autism. (like the elves in LOTR). I also put in my own narrative voice in it.

My mom says that it has to be something other people will want to read. I am hoping it is, but part of me thinks its okay I am writing this for myself, but I also want to inspire people and raise awareness about autism, mental illness, mystical species like faeries and elves, and lead people to Christ.

I write the characters' nightly dreams, kind of like flashbacks.


Where I come from, a writing project done purely for your own personal enjoyment/benefit is called a drabble, and they’re a very popular thing to do. I love writing drabbles! Some of my favorite bits of writing will never see the light of day, but I so enjoy working on them. If you decide you want to make yours public-friendly, most of your potential audience will want you to add some action/dramatic scenes, but it sounds like you already have some strong characters and theme. Try the app gradeproof for grammar fixes, it’s free and pretty good. I use grammarly.com before I shlep works off to the editor, to save myself some embarassment over my dumbarse mistakes.

I’m used to thinking in word count, not pages. How many words is 428 pages?


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06 Feb 2018, 4:31 pm

B19 wrote:
I highly recommend this book:

https://www.amazon.com/Writers-Spectrum ... 1843109131

You can read free excerpts and they were fascinating for me.


Chapter on Lewis Carroll (pages 117 to 139). Best-known for Alice's Adventures in Wonderland. Carroll's biography (LINK) piqued interest.

LINK: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_Carroll



NotHolyRomanOrAnEmpire
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26 Jun 2022, 9:36 pm

I hate my writing style, it feels really stilted.



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26 Jun 2022, 10:35 pm

What does it mean by focusing too much on detail though?
I mean, if writers got to the point all the time then stories would be fairly short. I find books have too much detail, or require detail, that I often struggle to pay attention with, which is why I don't read many books.

Also I think anyone with any talent pays close attention to details. My NT cousin does excellent paintings and he spends more time with the tiny details in order to create such a brilliant piece of art. My NT friend bakes those cakes that look like things, for example a shoe, and if she didn't concentrate so much on the tiniest details then it wouldn't look like a shoe, but she does it so carefully and brilliantly that the cake does literally look like a real shoe until it is sliced.

So is it really just another stereotype that only autistics focus on details?


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