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  1. MissBadWolf

    MissBadWolf Senior Member

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    Narrator has ADHD, Show not tell?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by MissBadWolf, Jan 21, 2020.

    I want my narrator to have ADHD. I am showing it by having the character go off on tangents by remembering random stuff at a drop of the hat it seems.
    What are some other ways that I can do to help show that she has ADHD and possibly other problems (might be diagnosed or not)?
     
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  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    common symptoms of ADHD include

    • Impulsiveness.
    • Disorganization and problems prioritizing.
    • Poor time management skills.
    • Problems focusing on a task.
    • Trouble multitasking.
    • Excessive activity or restlessness.
    • Poor planning.
    • Low frustration tolerance.
    I'm confused because I thought you said on another thread that you had ADHD yourself ? If that's so you must know what it is like
     
  3. MissBadWolf

    MissBadWolf Senior Member

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    True, I do have ADHD but I am trying to figure out how best to show it in the story. I am trying to work on putting it in a great way. I guess.
     
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  4. Maverick_nc

    Maverick_nc Senior Member

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    1st Question - Narrator has ADHD or MC? Not necessarily same thing.
    2nd Question - Characters age? How they act will be entirely different depending.

    Mav.
     
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  5. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    So describe what happens to the ADHD person - since you are living it you know best what it is like to live with.

    Also remember that people are not entirely defined by their conditions so your character should not just be "an ADHD person" but also have other character traits to make them 'real'
     
  6. MissBadWolf

    MissBadWolf Senior Member

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    Question 1: narrator yes. Not sure if she is the main MC. So I guess she is just the narrator, not the MC
    Question 2: It takes place in 2019/2020 and she was born on October 15, 1987 so when the story starts in November 23, 2020 she would have just turned 32 I think.
    I am understanding that she is not just an ADHD person but a person with ADHD. I do not want her to be labeled something like ADHD hoarder who happens to be a young lady or anything like that. I rather her be a young lady who has ADHD and other diagnosis but trying to over come hoarding or something like that. Not sure where the hoarding part came in other than something that popped up when typing this.
     
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  7. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sometimes ideas that just pop into your head like that can turn out to be story gold. An ADHD person who is a hoarder? Would that be likely? And what would make her experience different from that of a person who was a hoarder but who didn't have ADHD? You could explore that idea in a story, for sure. Hoarding is a really life-consuming addiction. I've known a few in my day. I can't imagine that having ADHD on top of it would make things easy at all.
     
  8. marshipan

    marshipan Contributor Contributor

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    Lots of past interests (johnnyboy: I play games, adhdgal: oh I used to play shooters all the time!), extensive and interesting work history, always has a new project/scheme, often without things she "needs" (here let me grab my phone from my bag....uh, where is it??)
     
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  9. frigocc

    frigocc Contributor Contributor

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    Another legitimately useful symptoms of ADHD (I was recently diagnosed, and now it all makes sense) is hyperfocus. Yes. The same condition that makes you divert your attention also makes you hyperfocus it.
     
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  10. SisterNight

    SisterNight New Member

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    Interestingly, I had a conversation today with someone who said they can tell if a person has ADHD by their eyes... They flit from one thing to another, apparently.
     
  11. smokeylives

    smokeylives New Member

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    I wrote a character once who has OCD. As a person with diagnosed OCD, I gave him a lot of similar compulsions and mannerisms. There's nothing wrong with putting a bit of yourself in your characters! If anything, assigning some things that you do because you have ADHD to a character makes you character feel much more real. You don't even really have to draw attention to it -- for instance, with my character Josh, I'd often include some italicized numbers in between dialogue or action as a way to show that he compulsively counts things like his footsteps or how many times he's bounced his foot against the ground.
     
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  12. Accelerator231

    Accelerator231 Senior Member

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    Oh hey. I have ADHD.

    I constantly pace around, doing nothing, moving back and forth on the train. I run, instead of walking, because I feel walking is too slow. Sitting still is torture for me. i constantly fidget. Even when not moving, I tap on my phone relentlessly (even when its shut off) because I really need to do something.
     
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  13. Dameldut

    Dameldut New Member

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    Okay... you've chosen a really interesting date. Wipes nails on shoulder, October 15th 1988 myself so I should know she's turning 33, not 32 coz that's what I'm turning.
    Secondly, I have ADHD too. Was diagnosed when I was 7.

    Here's what I think about how the character (yes because the narrator is a character too as evidenced in The Stanley Parable), should behave. Absentminded, strays off topic often, gets easily bored when the story isn't going anywhere and skips ahead to a time when something does happen (because the narrator is telling the story), interrupts other characters thoughts and actions because she has to have a say and she does this often because ADHD people also have the attention seeking property or maybe that's just me. Yes hyperfocus is a thing that can stem from ADHD but it only lasts a short time until you waste every ounce of energy on it, and I don't see how this could play in terms of narration.

    I'm gonna leave it at that and let you think of the rest.
     
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  14. jannert

    jannert Who? Whooo? Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Are you planning to label your character ADHD? Or will ADHD never get mentioned, but she just exhibits the characteristics? If she's never been diagnosed, that might be a one way to go. Contrast her behaviour with other characters around her, and let the reader draw their own conclusions?
     
  15. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

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    People do tell funny things because of funny reasons.
     
  16. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

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    As you know, I'm an Asperger person. I'm active & odd subtype with a lot of ADHD -traits. (About 70% of ASD -persons are also ADHD's. That is often not diagnosed because diagnostic focus is in "bigger things" and autism spectrum disorders are considered way bigger.)

    You might find How to ADHD Youtube clips helpful.

    https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC-nPM1_kSZf91ZGkcgy_95Q/playlists

    They can give you some inside understanding + protective barrier against shallow and substance focusing misleading things.

    People who read the symptoms and/or google a bit and think they understand it, never do.

    They imagine symptoms through their own thinking and get something that has nothing to do with a real thing. That's how it goes with ADHD, with Aspergers's, with...

    You can identify that kind of "knowledge" easily. It points to the direction of easily found substance and bypasses all the real understanding of dynamics. And dynamics is the important area.

    Think about attention. You can keep it when it's not too distracted. Distraction can be inner or outer.

    Outer distractions can be something connected to sensory input. Sounds, what you see, smells, social interaction, something else that happens...

    Inner distractions can be something that cuts your attention by serving something else instead of it in your own systems.

    When nothing cuts your attention, you might be able to hyperfocus. If something breaks it, it's often not easy to get it back.

    Things which matter:
    - The level of difficulty.
    - The speed/pace/rhythm of input and work.
    - Stress hormone level.
    - Structural holes in your thinking which you can't see and/or admit.
    - Emotional reactions during/after social stress.
    - Emotional reactions connected to failures which you don't fully understand.
    - How you organise and manage your work flow.
    - How you organise and manage your social life.
    - How you organise and manage your thinking.
    - Your own ability to self reflect the operative and informative part of your life. Kind of finding the optimal areas where and how you can get things done.
    - A lot of other things.

    Many ADHD persons find identity work difficult. Part of that is feedback. They might feel that most people don't see them as they are but like if there was a card board person which people see instead of them. And sometimes ADHD's react to that by trying to be more visible than that virtual card board person. That might lead towards harmful kind of attention seeking.

    We all need to be seen. But we really crave to be seen like we are more than just to be seen. And that is often very difficult area in ADHD.

    Another difficult area among identity work is finding your own tribe. That "card board proxy trap" makes it more difficult. Paying attention to area of identities instead of area of self makes it almost impossible. That might lead to becoming a target of manipulation, political, ideological or other abuse and replacing real things with easy substitutes in life & values. That is really, really, really dangerous & common trap.

    But...

    What ever you do - go deep. Seek real information. Beware shallow & stereotypical information which is given with no understanding. These things are complicated & multidimentional. Variation is large. And traits look very different before and after finding and using good self reflection, self management and workflow arranging tools.

    Everything good to you!
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  17. Daniel

    Daniel I'm sure you've heard the rumors Founder Staff

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    I'm interested, how are you writing your narrator? Is there an actual narrator, or are you writing the characters normally with the narration written as someone with ADHD? That could be interesting, but difficult. What POV are you telling the story in?

    I ask because I think that will help us better answer the question.

    As someone with ADHD, I think it could be well shown by a character prioritizing tasks in the wrong order or presenting a difficulty in starting a task, an occasional immense attention to detail (hyperfocus), and taking on too many projects, but struggling to follow-through.

    These are all traits I've struggled with, I've seldom found it to manifest as going off on random tangents as you described.... more like spending hours on wikipedia learning about really interesting random things instead of doing the half-dozen more important things that are simply out of sight, out of mind.
     
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  18. Alan Aspie

    Alan Aspie Contributor Contributor

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    This video is about ASD. Dynamic of what she calls masking has a lot similarities with self <==> identities -struggles I was talking about.



    Selective mutism might have a link to this - or not. It might vary. Or... But trying to understand could there be a link might help getting deeper understanding to both things.

    That small talk - common ground + socialising has big connections to "finding your tribe" - and also identifying false tribes and risks of social and/or political and/or ideological and/or sexual and/or other kinds of abuse risks.
     

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