Writing ADHD characters, an incomplete guide by a person with ADHD
So, if you want to write a character with Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder, it doesn’t matter if it’s an original character in your new story, or if you’re writing PJO fanfiction, there’s some things you need to know:
•Soda, sugar, coffee, they don’t make us MORE hyper, they actually help us calm down. A lot of people with ADHD self-medicate with coffee and soda on a daily basis when they don’t have access to actual treatment
•Our brains have two settings: hyperfocus and complete lack of attention. If your character is seriously worried about something, or if they like what they’re doing, it’s very likely they’re not going to stop. At all. I have once spent two entire days researching a topic, without moving from my computer, until I had to. Because I peed myself. I was fifteen. Hyperfocus is a serious problem, even if it’s sometimes useful. Don’t treat it as a superpower, please.
•On the same note, your character probably cannot spend too much time or energy on something they don’t like. As in, sometimes five uninterrupted minutes of reading are harder to achieve than three hours of writing, simply because the reading is not fun.
•We fidget. A lot. Your character probably repeats a movement over and over and over and over again, or they might always be doing something with their hands. You can make it something useful, but it is not necessarily common (Leo Valdez, from HOO, is a good example of useful fidgeting, with the things he builds. Annabeth Chase, on the other hand, tends to fidget with her necklace, a completely non-useful movement that is repeated several times, enough to be mentioned)
•Crazy energetic moments of inspiration happen. They usually don’t last. And people can’t really follow along with what we’re doing. The results, in my experience, are 50/50 on total garbage or amazingly good.
•Conversations, especially between several people with ADHD, can really easily go from point A to point G without going anywhere in the middle. Our brains tend to make different connections.
•Memory. Our memory is shitty and weird, most of the time. Same as our focus, it usually is either perfect or not there at all. I have lost countless hours to my own brain, chasing my thoughts.
•Planning is hard. Proof reading is hard. Finishing things once the original boost of focus is gone is almost impossible. I’m sorry this is so short, but it was a spur of the moment decision.
Feel free to ask me questions. I’ll probably love to explain things to you.
And please. To all fanfic writers. Stop making the characters go more hyper when they drink coffee. Seriously, one coffee makes me focus, two make me productive. Three make me take a nap.