We all love the captor boys. They’re adorable assholes that are valuable additions to any homestuck work. The problem is, the vast majority of people who write them know more about theoretical alien biology - read: how aliens frickfrack - than they do about the very real mental disorders they are attempting to portray on paper. The vast majority of gross mischaracterizations of Captors can be boiled down to ‘I don’t know how mental illness works’. Neuroscience is incredibly complex and we’re still just barely grasping how our own brain works, which makes research really complicated and difficult. A lot of us homestucks are guilty of foregoing the research and writing based off of our pre-conceived notions of how these things work, which leads to some truly cringe-worthy results.
Before you continue, take a moment to at least skim WriteWorld’s wonderful masterpost about writing mental disorders! Bookmark it. Study it. Cherish this masterpost. Marry this masterpost. Grow old with this masterpost.
But you’re here to learn specifically about the Captors, and how to better write them. So without further ado, here you go.
An addendum R/E Mituna:
My original post, upon re-reading it, comes across a little gross. That’s my bad entirely. There was a point I wanted to hit on that I forgot about by the time I got there, and it has been brought to my attention that missing it gave everything a bit of a miss-informative spin.
Mituna’s canonical brain injury is impossible to replicate in humans, seeing as Mituna is a member of a fictional alien species who produces extreme electromagnetic(???) energy from their brains(???). This being the case, it is absolutely impossible to research it properly as is presented in canon. This puts any writings of him firmly in the category of ‘artistic license’.
This is absolutely why writing his character is an absolute /minefield/ of places to accidentally be really, really gross, as I have accidentally become an example of this, I am incredibly, incredibly sorry.
I absolutely did not mean to say it is one hundred percent a-okay to portray him as autistic instead.
A bit of the history behind this post can bring light to the issue: I put this post together for Lilly when she said she wanted to research mental stuff before writing captors. (There was a whole mini-incident, it’s all cool.) I’ve been in this fandom long enough to see a plethora of autistic-mitunas. I personally have become somewhat fond of autistic mituna - that is entirely a personal bias, as I myself am autistic.
To be closest to canon, you have to portray mituna with brain damage. Absolute accuracy would involve a neuroscience degree and an extensive set of headcanons r/e where exactly in the brain the psionics are produced, the general brain structure of trolls, and what areas were most likely to be damaged.
In humanstuck aus or other areas where you take him out of his exact literal canonical environment, I believe that artistic license is applicable to mental illness, the same as with physical disabilities. How do you retain the loss of vision-eightfold within a species that is not capable of that? Human beings simply are not capable of becoming injured in the same way as Mituna was, as our brains just do not do that. The closest thing would be a lightning strike or electrocution, which produces some very different effects.
I hope this clarifies things!
They’ve posted an addendum, as I had an anon voice their concerns to me.