Perfect Princess Moon vs. Actual Queen Moon Butterfly
Yeah. When you write a character who is like yourself or someone you know, you don’t want it to be reduced down to something like, She’s crazy or She’s a bad mom, or She’s a good mom with a bad daughter. I wanted to write complex characters who sometimes do bad things. I wanted to put something on every page that was like, Just remember, they’re a human!There’s a paragraph that’s like, They’re doing the best they can, but sometimes the best you can do falls short. That’s the most terrifying part. But you fall in love with these people and you hope that you made them nuanced enough that people won’t reduce them down.
Lynn Steger Strong
Love is something that everyone has their own definition of.
To some it might be consciously choosing the same person every day.
To others it might be doing what’s best of them even if it isn’t what’s best for you, putting their needs first, protecting their heart even from yourself.
It could be giving someone everything you have inside of you and hoping, praying that they give you something back but caring for them even if they don’t.
Or it could be not about possession, but about wanting someone to be safe and loved even if it’s not by you.
For me love is loving someone no matter what they choose to do, no matter where you go in life, no matter what life throws at you. It is everything, it is all of the definitions put into one. Love is falling without the landing. For me love is you.
In which Diana has her own column in The Atlantic, and Steve is the slightly overzealous copyeditor. She keeps her profile clean and professional. He brags about her accolades and has weekly quotes (that he definitely writes to Diana on Post-its first).
i always get asked what love is, and i don’t think there is a simple answer to this question. for instance, love could be dropping everything to hang out with that one person, or getting lost in their eyes. love could could be giving them your last chip even when you wanted it, or it could be covering them with blankets when they fall asleep. there is no single definition for love, it is an accumulation of feelings, actions, and emotions toward something or someone.
I didn't think I saw anything about this topic, so I was wondering if you had any resources on echolalic speech patterns for characters. I have one character who I intend on writing with these patterns but have no idea how to write them (especially since she has delayed echolalia, but nothing really to replicate except what her colleagues say to her).
Hi! First of all, I’m intending on writing up a complete post on echolalia some day, but in the meanwhile, for our readers who are not familiar with it, I’ll leave you with this excellent video by Amythest Schaber which explains the different types of echolalia and why an autistic person might use them. There also are tons of resources in the description so you can check these out.
If using delayed echolalia, your character will basically quote things which she has heard before. They can be complete sentences or fragments of sentences or even disjointed words. They can come from what has been said to her by people, from what she has heard (for example on TV/ on the radio/ in a song…), or even from what she has said herself. She may have heard these words only a few minutes ago, or more than 10 years ago if they have particularly marked her.
Here are some common patterns:
Using pop culture references. This is so common it’s almost become stereotypical. I don’t know your story, but if it takes place in our universe, your character could definitely quote her favorite movies or famous songs, or TV ads. And if the story is taking place in another universe, this is a great occasion for some worldbuilding! What are iconic pieces of media in your world? In historical fiction in a European setting, this would probably translate into quoting the bible when relevant. In a futuristic sci-fi setting, it’s up to you to invent hundreds of years of pop culture!
Using common idioms, phrases and sayings. Even if your universe doesn’t have a pop culture per se, they will probably have proverbs. These are phrases which are commonly heard and repeated, so using them as echolalia makes sense.
Speech mannerisms. These are phrases they use all the time, which will often be their go-to response. Most people have these, but they’re often more commonly used by autistic people. Speech mannerisms can mean using short filler words such as “like”, which is not really what I’m talking about here. Let me give you a few examples of what I mean. Here’s a personal one: When someone says something along the lines of “what do you want to do?” or “what are we going to do?”, my first response is almost always “pancakes”, even if it’s usually completely nonsensical in the context. This is not my actual answer, just something I say automatically and which gives me time to think. I even say that a an answer to “what do you want to eat” when I don’t want to eat pancakes at all. Another example could be immediatly replying “You’re the X” when someone says a sentence which contains the word X, even when it makes no sense whatsoever. And these mannerisms are very easy to “catch” from other people.
Using sentences they have heard a lot in their life, for instance words their parents would say to them as a child.
But really, they could quote about anything as long as they’ve heard it before. For your character, this could include what her colleagues say to her, but also everything she’s ever heard and she remembers. You don’t have to pull dialogue from your own story for her echolalia, it could be words she’s heard a stranger say in the bus as she was making her way to the office, or something she’s heard on TV, or something she remembers her sibling saying as a kid. You can get as creative as you want here. Keep in mind why she is using echolalia. Is it stimming ? If so, she’ll probably be repeating words which sound nice to her (bubbles!). Is she communicating? There will be a connection between the echolalia she uses and the meaning she’s trying to get across (eg : “Do you want juice?” to mean “I am thirsty”.)
I hope I’ve answered your question. If I haven’t, please shoot us another ask with more détails!
I just want to add that although the word “echolalia” is usually used in terms of aural things the person has heard, there is a very similar (in my mind, identical) thing that uses things someone reads, especially if they are hyperlexic (learned to read at a very young age - before 5, often as young as 2 - with little to know instruction). I am hyperlexic and learned to read at 3, and I personally thank books for many of the social skills I seemed to possess at a young age. I consumed books at an incredible rate and on a wide range of topics, mostly fiction. Most of the time, when I was having a conversation with someone, I was pulling some or all of my side of the conversation from various conversations and prose I’d read in books, though no one ever suspected that. Because I “hear” what I read in my head, I remembered it the same way I would remember a spoken conversation, and was able to echo it later. Rather than seeing my odd speech patterns as a sign of autism, I was frequently praised for being so eloquent and having such a big vocabulary for my age, and for speaking like someone much older than me (because I was generally echoing adults). I still have a plethora of favorite phrases and sentences which are pulled from books I read as a child. Sometimes I hope that someone will catch on and get the reference, but so far, no one ever does.
The character doesn’t have to be hyperlexic to use something they’ve read in this way, though. Any level of reading can work. Even something they saw in an advertisement on the side of a bus can be added to their internal library.
The internet is also a big source these days. I have a lot of phrases in my library which come from Homestar Runner cartoons I watched in high school, or articles I read on Cracked, for example. This could potentially include grammatically incorrect writing that people use online.
Also, be aware that words learned by reading are often pronounced wrong. If your character prefers communicating in writing rather than speech, they might mispronounce many words when speaking. People tend to laugh at someone who does this, especially if it’s someone who’s usually eloquent and uses a lot of big words. (I really need to do a masterpost on hyperlexia someday!)
Basically, yes, people who are mostly nonverbal or not very verbal might use a lot of echolalia. However, even those who seem to speak very well might use a lot more of this type of scripting than you think. If people knew how much of my speech is directly quoted from another source or from scripts I’ve compiled in my head over the years, they would be very surprised indeed.
I made change after change
on the road to perfection
but when I finally left beautiful enough
their definition of beauty
what if there is no finish line
and in an attempt to keep up
I lose the gifts I was born with
for a beauty so insecure
it can’t commit to itself
- the lies they sell