Today I want to talk about age, and the problem people have with it.
Primarily when it comes to children and teen characters. But my focus will mainly be on teenagers.
I was in middle school when people started joking about how I was a “bubble girl.” I was innocent and ignorant.
I didn’t know curse words. I didn’t know perverse things of this world. I didn’t watch rated R movies, and until I was 13 I didn’t watch PG 13 movies.
People joked lightly with me about it, and it always bothered me.
It took me way too long to be comfortable with the fact these things were okay, and unfortunately, by that time, I knew things I didn’t need to know, and things I wish I didn’t know.
I thought I had to change and learn things because I was teased about this by my friends for years. They didn’t mean much by it, but it made me question myself. Why does it matter how a person thinks or what they don’t know?
It doesn’t, it really, honestly, doesn’t.
Which leads me to today’s topic.
I’ve noticed from the novels of writing both children characters in my stories and teenagers that I have gotten feedback around the lines of this.
“I can’t imagine a child saying this, or going through this. She sounds too old. This is too much for a child to go through.”
“I can’t imagine a teenager talking this way. She sounds too young.”
Either some children acted too old or experienced something a child would not be thought of experiencing.
If a teenager thinks deeply and profound, it’s okay to a reader, but should a teen sound young…it becomes a problem, whether or not they sound profound later.
A stereotype the reader has unknowingly let affect them.
Now, I have listened to the feedback test readers have given me. As a writer, you cannot dismiss feedback given, and you need to have a reason for what you do. I originally, when I first incurred this, thought about changing the voice of my character.
But not anymore. 🙂 I thought about it, and I have reasons I stand by, an awareness I want to give.
There’s a stereotype everyone at certain ages acts and thinks in particular ways. However, in real life, when the stereotype is broken, not everyone is accepting of this. A young child or teen should not know too much when it comes to adults. I know this from being a young believer as a teen.
Adults didn’t listen to me, they always tried to correct me. They tried to reinforce what I already knew. They liked hearing their own voice or adults more.
It gets frustrating and tedious. I know teens relate to this.
But at the same time, for those teens who don’t know or haven’t been exposed to topics, information, experiences that a majority of peers have been…it also makes them stand out to their peers. Which can induce teasing or people isolating the teen. Thinking they are too different.
I was that girl on both sides.
My peers didn’t understand me and adults didn’t understand me. Maybe this is why I have carried this perspective into my characters.
Not one person is the same.
I want readers to understand this.
People go through things they shouldn’t. Kids can have experiences they shouldn’t go through. Teens can be innocent.
Just because we may think a person should act, think or talk a certain way does not mean they will. We need to be aware of what misconceptions we are putting on others unintentionally.
For anyone who can relate to this, you are not alone. 😉
You are one of the reasons I am writing the way I am. ❤
Don’t let others change you. Be who God has made you to be.
Can you relate?