Monthly Archives: October 2014

Are Asperger’s the best writers?

Thank you University of Iowa for sponsoring a free online class in fiction writing. Over 8100 global participants – the discussions are rich and varied.

Mother Helping Toddler WalkMy takeaway, this week.

One difference between a newsletter (to people who like you) and a novel (for people who don’t know you) is that a newsletter writer is the story, while the novelist must get out of the way of the story.

If a newsletter is a toy, a novel is more like a child; you can impose structure and supply building blocks but you, yourself must fade into the background. Do you know what I mean?

My favorite stories read as if written by someone with Asperger’s: brilliant and focused; neither invested nor judgmental.

Professional detachment at its best enables readers to believe they discovered the writer’s world and that every word is what they’d write, if they’d stumbled on the scene.

Write for your soul. Edit for your audience.

Overheard in a writer’s group: writers, like all artists, walk the line between ego and empathy.

Mother and Daughter Reading TogetherWrite as a leader

Write what you know.  Create your setting and write about conflict or disillusionment or triumph. On your first draft, don’t ask what to discard and how to convey – lead.

Write as a writer

Write each story as if it was only the first of many. Trying to cram all you want to say into a single place is like a conversation with someone who needs a filter: you can hardly find the point for all the ideas.

Edit for relevance

From an empty cup perspective, gather feedback. Find criticism in reviews of other stories (if you’re lucky, in reviews of your own), and refuse to take it personally. Your soul is the sum of all your experiences – each story is limited to those very few experiences, or that one,  relevant to your audience.

Edit for resonance

A story needs only enough words to convey. An ideal waiter silently serves and replenishes (water, rolls, condiments) without becoming part of the meal. Discover what, if anything, resonates with your audience and edit, edit, edit to suit.


Most authors draft several versions of a story before calling it complete, negotiating a compromise between the artist’s vision and audience’s head space.

What you refuse to sacrifice will make a good diary entry.


Define your own success.  Some writers are satisfied to create selfies in print form. That’s valid.

Others prefer to reach an audience, to join the timeless conversation represented by every book ever written, and that requires a different approach. If readership and/or sales are your benchmark, acknowledge that and make it happen. Grab your reader and add your voice to those of the world.