A Novel Idea
For the first time since last October, I’ve started writing a new book, and this time I’ve finally decided to do the obvious; write about a character with autism.
Not only is this the first time I’ve covered the subject of autism in my fictional works, it’s also my first novel that’s neither sci-fi nor fantasy. I’m used to being able to take huge liberties with the worlds I write about; to effectively make my own rules by explaining away unrealistic plot devices as magic or futuristic technology.
This time around, I won’t have this safety net. It will be quite a challenge to construct my narrative entirely within the bounds of believable reality, not to mention that I won’t be able to employ spectacle to cover for my difficulty with character development and dialogue. (Which will take centre stage this time around)
It’s kind of like a director of special effects blockbusters suddenly having to make a low key drama; I’ll have to learn a whole new set of skills. It’s a frightening prospect, but also an exciting one; after all, it is only by trying new things that we grow.
My biggest fear, as usual when I start a new project, is that I simply don’t have the ability to realize the idea’s full potential. That I should hand it off to someone who can do it justice. I’ve learned that the best way around this is to just ignore the feeling and plough on; when I look back at what I wrote yesterday or today it always looks like crap to me, but somehow when I look back months later, I tend to be less critical. If I re-read as I go, I just get frustrated and tied up in a feedback loop of rewrites.
Another trap I need to avoid is writing the main character as a mirror of myself. Indeed, he is a lot like me; mid-20s, male, Aspie. But I’m taking care to differentiate him from myself in crucial ways, (for example, he is much more socially challenged than I am) so that the whole story doesn’t degenerate into an exercise in projection.
At any rate, I’m thrilled to be back on the horse, and I hope this is the one that finally realizes my dream of being published.