Building Character(s) with ADHD

An ADHD-indie author’s journey: A real-life ADHD Fantasy, chapter two

A dark sea with an island in the distance; Sun seen at the left through some clouds.
Always keep your head up. Image by the author

A new author’s quest to unravel the secrets of success

My ventures into the Indie world, writing ADHD fantasy while living ADHD reality, are told here through the fictional Ondine Spark, whose name is a literal translation of my own, Hebrew one.
A true story of determination (some would say, stubbornness), self-belief (sometimes called delusions), and success. Well, that last bit is still fiction, of the fantasy sort.

Previous in series:

Ondine awoke from her musings by the pain in her neck. She found herself sitting at the edge of her chair, whole body leaning forward, neck pushing backward to keep her face away from the screen at this impossible posture.

She got up achily and stretched, then lay on the couch to try and relieve the pain. The thoughts accumulated unarranged, whirlwinding wildly through her mind, stretching the limits of her skull. She could have finished all plot changes by now, if it weren’t for that evasive character, Kay. Why would she stall? She had a plan, and a means to implement it, but Ondine couldn’t have her accomplish it just yet. Something else had to happen first, and Ondine had to come up with a logical explanation that would prevent Kay from plunging directly into it.

There she was, Kay, hiding from Ondine in plain sight within her mind. Ondine followed her stealthily wherever she went. What was she really after? Clearly, Ondine had been missing something. The very idea, infuriating! A character keeping secrets from her creator. This thought finally flooded Ondine’s mind, drowning her in it. She gasped for air, when there, between shaky head bobs, it flashed before her: safe land. Safe land! A hint of an idea to save the plot from plunging. She pulled herself out of the gushing water and crawled onto the tiny island.

Yes. It made sense. Out of the corner of her eye Ondine spotted Kay sailing past her on a jet ski.

“Why would you stall?” She called after her, “Is it what I think it is?”

But Kay just sailed on.

No matter: show off as she might, Ondine knew her mind to be just as untamed as her own. This may well be the real reason for her stalling, actually. She probably forgot to take something crucial into account, or maybe she was overwhelmed, or overthinking, or both. Such a normal, natural explanation: Kay stalled because of who she was, just as Ondine herself so often did.

The little island underneath her rocked. Strangely enough, while so obvious and common in her real life, it didn’t seem like a good enough explanation in fiction. Truth is stranger than fiction, indeed, and in this case, she feared she had to tread on safer land, sticking with fiction, rather than truth.

The island’s movements intensified. Ondine’s alarmed arms automatically tried to grasp the ground, but met nothing but salted water. As so often before, the safe island in her heaving mind turned out to be the back of an alligator, and she strained to keep out of reach of the sharp teeth. Must finish. Too much to do, too big a strain. Plot has to make sense. Kay must be fully deciphered. Ondine felt a scream building up within her, which couldn’t be released in the depths of water.

And then it exploded. A quiet, self-contained explosion, provoking at best a half-eye opening from each of the four pets napping around. Everything vanished, the water, the island, the alligator, Kay; most of all, the turbulence. Out of too much came a crisis, and out of the crisis — a clear, urgent hyperfocus. A beeping idea formed with a warning: This insight will destroy itself within ten seconds. One of these seconds passed by before Ondine could grasp the full meaning of the beeping. Then she closed her eyes, holding the thought firmly in her mind for five more seconds, until it was safe to get up slowly, preventing the movement from resetting her mind. She scrambled for her laptop, straining to keep the idea still in mind, pushing aside Luna who jumped at her upon getting up, and reached for the keyboard.

Still standing, she typed as fast as she could, ignoring the typos and missing words. Change, she wrote, let others see it as it is. Let Kay be who she is. Normalize who Kay is; who she herself is, the thought crossed her mind. This will be her little way of changing things, and as an Indie author, she needn’t even worry about convincing an agent or publisher that it’s a good idea, but only find the readers who appreciate a different perspective.

With a deep breath of relief, Ondine closed her laptop and headed for Luna, arms spread wide.

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Living with ADHD can be a magical wonderland; sometimes charming, sometimes dark. This is the inspiration for the ADHD fantasy I write.

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