Posted in Writing

Living with Dyslexia– What still trips me up after 20 years

If you came here from my other Writing Characters with Dyslexia blogs, welcome. This one might be slightly more personal but should still help you get a better understanding of how to write your characters. Dyslexia, as I have said, is different for everyone, but here is what I still have trouble with after years of help.

Sentence Structure

If you were to meet me in person or text back and forth with me you would find a lot of run on sentences and misplaced words. Maybe you can even tell just reading my articles. I use words I know how to spell rather than the first word I thought of. For instance ‘tired’ becomes ‘exhausted’  because the latter is easier for me to remember. When talking, I will really closely mimic people I look up to using emphasis in the same places as them and the same word choice.

Tone of Voice

I get so carried away trying to figure out what people are saying that I don’t listen to what their tone of voice is saying. I’m awful at sarcasm even though I use it quite a bit. No one can tell when I’m being sarcastic and I can’t tell when they are either. This is applicable to all cues you get from tone of voice.

Spanish and French

Any language that uses the same alphabet as English is near impossible for me to read or understand. However, I’m much better at Japanese because EVERYTHING is different. I learn from the ground up all over again and can’t relate it to English in the least.

Commas

Even though I know the rules of where to place them, commas illude me. I have to use auto correct to get them in almost all situations. I also will combine sentences with commas instead of using a period. Thank god I live in modern America!

I hope this helped you write more realistic characters or understand dyslexia more. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me either in the comments or on my contact page!

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Posted in Fiction, Writing

Writing Characters With Dyslexia Part 2!

Last year I wrote my most viewed article, Writing characters with dyslexia. Today I’ve come back to clarify and expand on writing these quirky characters. Keep in mind, this is how my dyslexia affects me and it might not be the same for others.

First, The science

So when you think synapses are fired in your brain. That triggers another one to fire and the chain is what creates the way you process the world around you. (At least that’s my understanding.) So when someone who is dyslexic thinks the same thought, different synapses fire and it takes longer for us to figure out the same information.

This also means we can come up with ideas others never would!

We think about each idea longer and think about it differently that normal people would. This ends up in us coming up with out of the box ideas and odd ways of doing things. For instance, my dad and I are picking up pinecones, he holds open the bag and tosses them inside. I go find a box and put the trash bag inside it to act as a trash can outdoors, my way is much easier. This principle is also true for concepts. Someone reviewed a novel I plotted out and told me the idea was too complex for normal people to fallow.

Dyslexics are usually called 3D thinkers.

I can imagine what a room looks like from any angle without walking there. I can figure out what it would look like to be shorter, taller, on the ceiling, upside down, all while sitting in one place. I never get lost walking around Chicago. When I leave a building my mind always forms a mental map of how to get back home. I can never give anyone directions though. When I try to figure out how to get somewhere, I start at the place I want to be and work my way street by street backward to my current location.

Memory

I have a great memory for places, textures, and objects but I will not remember your face. I am just enough on the autism scale that I hate looking into people’s eyes. At 19 I still find it hard to look in my parent’s eyes. I wouldn’t make full, sustained eye contact with my boyfriend until I had been dating him for upward of three months. So when I meet someone new I am much more likely to remember their shoes that the color of the hair or what they looked like at all.

I can’t make eye contact with myself in the mirror

 When you meet me you will think I look like a train wreck, my hair will be messy, I might have something on my face and my hands will by stained with dirt and paint. The reason for this is I hate mirrors. I can not look myself in he eye. The first time I remember doing so was middle school. So I don’t look in the mirror when I brush my hair, I won’t wash my face unless I’m in the shower. I don’t even like washing my hands because of the mirror.

I hope this look into my life helps you understand how to write dyslexic characters better. As you can see, it’s much more than just the reading, writing and math parts I covered last time. If you have any questions or want me to expand further, feel free to tell me in the comments!

You can also check out the things that still trip me up after years of tutoring Here.

Posted in Writing

Acting Tips that May Help Your Writing!

I recently picked up a book on acting and directing actors and found some tips you may find useful for developing characters. One of the main ideas is to try to think of yourself and how you are similar to the character. With that in mind as you fill out a character sheet, answer the questions in regard to yourself first. This may help you think of the character in a deeper way. Then ask the tough questions.

What unpleasant truths is the character forced to deal with?

What is the character most knowledgeable about?

How does he/she use their intelligence?

Is the character protecting himself from past pains or avoiding situations because of his past?

What makes him/her laugh?

What makes him/her loose their sense of humor?

What is their blind spot?

What are they doing in this scene that they have never done before?

In what way is this character an artist?

These are the questions I found were most often left out of character sheets that really help me understand the character more. By answering the questions of myself I am more able to relate to my characters and write them more honestly. They seem more human to me when I put little pieces of myself in there with them.

Posted in Idea Loading, Uncategorized

Characters with dominant emotions

When you look at a character you have written for, do they jump off the page? Do your own little people interest you? If they don’t, you’re not alone.  A lot of people list character traits, and that’s not wrong; Knowing who your characters are and what they stand for is very important. It is, however, quite hard to to come up with entirely new character traits and motives. Dominant emotions are different, it effects how your character thinks and how they look at the world around them. A character could be naturally angry, but how does that effect what they pay attention to? Well they would usually look for the more negative things and their thoughts would linger on what could go wrong. How would a character who is usually relaxed stand differently from one who is scared? If you still have trouble understanding what I mean, take this example.

Jane’s predominate character trait is ‘cleaver’. Stick figure Jane is running after a criminal. She quickly comes up with a trap and uses a stack of crates to jump onto a roof top. She then uses the apples that were inside of said crate to make the criminal run into a dead end by making noise down all the paths Jane does not want the criminal to take. Now infuse an emotion into Jane and see how she changes.  Jane is only pretending to be cleaver, she actually very scared and has to try very hard to do anything useful.  She ends up chasing the criminal to try to prove herself. While running she is constantly listing off things to remember so she doesn’t fail; Quiet breathing, light steps, he’s chosen three left turns so he’ll probably take a right next, darn he kept going left, gun is on the right. Jane then accidentally runs into the crate. Having lost sight of the criminal, she climbs up onto the roof. When an apple fall from her hood and startles the criminal away, she comes up with her plan and goes back to get the apples. Now imagine a whole book where Jane is clumsily doing cool things; not only dose it make her more interesting to read, it adds a plot layer and easily turns her into a dynamic character.