When you’re building a backstory for your main character, it’s likely that you’ll include an Adverse Childhood Experience (ACE). Psychologists with the Centers for Disease Control have determined a list of ten things which qualify as an ACE, which can contribute to problems with mental health as an adult. The unique part of an ACE is that it is usually an accumulation of experiences rather than a single event that causes PTSD.
The responses to ACEs vary, which means you have an opportunity to use these in a variety of ways in your storytelling. Those who go on adventures are rarely those content with their lives. Characters with ACEs are likely going to deal more with things like depression and substance abuse, or even have physical health problems related to the heart and lungs.
Listen to this episode for the list of ACEs, and the possible impacts of each one.
First aired October 10, 2022.
As a reminder, we are writers, not psychologists. We took our time to research these topics and are handling them with as much care as possible. However, nothing said on this podcast should be used to diagnose yourself or anyone else. This is simply information given as a tool of storytelling.