Asperger’s and the Social Benefits of Creativity – But Where are the Aspie Writers?

Asperger’s Syndrome and creativity – the two are certainly not mutually exclusive. People with autism see the world differently and should be encouraged to develop their creative interests.

Everyone has a natural desire to express themselves, and creativity provides a golden opportunity for socialization. I’ve always been uncomfortable at large family gatherings and I have a driving desire to document things. Throw a camera into the mix and a few basic scrapbooking supplies and something happens…

I started scrapbooking before scrapbooking was “cool.” I’m not fancy. I do fairly simple layouts on various colors of paper with a few sticker embellishments and lots of descriptive captions, especially names and dates. I put together a photo album each year and I always bring one or two of them along to family gatherings. People love to look at the books, we talk about the people in the pictures and my comfort level in a crazy, overstimulating environment improves immensely.

Kids with autism who paint or draw or play music can be encouraged to share their talents, and they often do. This creates healthy social interaction and builds confidence. But where are the writers?

Many people with Asperger’s write non-fiction, and that makes sense. Who better to describe what it’s like to have Asperger’s than someone with the condition? But finding fiction written by people with Asperger’s is extremely difficult, and I’m not entirely sure why.

People with Asperger’s have a keen sense of detail – something valuable for a novelist. Aspies are known for having sharp memory skills, handy for creating and maintaining a storyline. Since Aspies need to actively learn social behaviors, they have a strong understanding of what’s needed to motivate and develop characters. Aspies are all about rules, so reading a few books about the writing craft sets up a terrific structure to build upon.

There may be Aspie authors out there, just not writing about Aspie characters. I wonder about Jeff Lindsay, the author of the Dexter novels. While Dexter is a psychopath, his observations and confusion about human behavior are delightfully Aspie-like, and I’d like to think that’s an extension of the author’s world-view.

Jodi Picoult wrote a novel, House Rules, about a teenager with Asperger’s, but honestly, I never felt she got very far inside his head. She did a lot of hard work and research, but that neurotypical essence still crept through.

One of the reasons I wrote Asperger Sunset, my mystery novel, is because I couldn’t find anything else like it out there. But I’m looking for more. If you know of any books featuring characters with Asperger’s or works of fiction written by authors with Asperger’s, please share them with me. Did the writers do well? Why or why not? Celebrate creativity!

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15 thoughts on “Asperger’s and the Social Benefits of Creativity – But Where are the Aspie Writers?

  1. I am an Aspie and a writer. I’ve never considered writing a book with a character that has AS. It’s very true that, even when I do write fiction, I have a hard time with variation from the truth and actual events. When I was younger, I used to start murder mystery novels in my head, but I never focused on them long enough to actually complete anything. To this day, as an adult, I find it hard to write anything longer than a short story. I have two blogs. One is for my experiences as an Aspie. The other is for my other writings/creative writings.

    http://www.thatawkwardkid93.wordpress.com

    http://www.writingsforentertainment.wordpress.com

    Check them out if you’d like. And I’m always eager to hear people’s responses, so feel free to leave comments.

    Always,
    Allie.

    • Writing short stories is certainly a worthwhile pursuit, and with e-publishing becoming easier and easier, there’s always a market out there. Everyone writes different things. I, personally, cannot write first-person fiction for some reason. Also can’t do journalism – I keep making stuff up because I think it would be “cooler” than what really happened. Best of luck to you with your writing!

  2. Pingback: Aspie Rants on empathy & communication | www.MyZebraSoup.com

  3. Pingback: An Aspie’s Space | aspanswers

  4. Pingback: Creativity and Asperger’s | www.MyZebraSoup.com

  5. I’m an autistic/Aspie writer! I’ve yet to publish anything, but that is mostly because I’m so nervous about everything? I wish there were more resources available to autistic writers, because the tips from neurotypicals tend to be so… cut-and-paste and one-size-fits-all? Sometimes I share stories, sometimes I don’t; at least one autistic exists in every great story, be it a prose piece or novel-like. My favorite is Wesley.

    http://6birds.net is my blog; http://asjane.tumblr.com/tagged/wesley is where all things Wes may be found. :3

    • Liz – publishing is a tricky business, though with the Internet there are a lot of terrific ways to get your work out there – like your blog! There are self-publishing resources, too, which can be nice. Writing groups can be very helpful – they can give you tips on technique and you can ask questions if something doesn’t make sense. It’s also a good way to socialize once in a while – my group often gets me out of the house when I just don’t feel like it. Good luck with your writing – as long as you enjoy doing it, that’s what’s most important.

  6. Hi! You can probably tell I have Asperger’s Syndrome from the fact I am commenting on an old post. I am a published poet since 1989 and have written some unpublished fiction. I have a number of Aspie friends who are aspiring writers.

    There are also a number of Facebook writing groups aimed at Aspies. One is called Poetry on the Spectrum.

    I’m revamping my blog to include more material specifically for Aspie and autistic writers. It will be aimed both at those seeking professional publication and those who write as therapy or a hobby. I’d love feedback from Aspies on what they would like to see on the page. You can contact me via my Facebook author page.https://www.facebook.com/nissalovescats/ or else via comments on my WordPress blog.

    Anyway, I was very impressed with the blog post even though it isn’t new, and will be sharing it on FB and Twitter. Thanks for writing it.

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