Inspirational · Writing

Problem With Age & Younger Characters | Writer’s Thoughts

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 aย “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.

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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.”ย 

“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.

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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. ๐Ÿ™‚ 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.

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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.ย 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. ๐Ÿ˜‰

You are one of the reasons I am writing the way I am. โค

Don’t let others change you. Be who God has made you to be.


Can you relate?ย 

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33 thoughts on “Problem With Age & Younger Characters | Writer’s Thoughts

    1. Thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m glad you agree. I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with the feedback I’ve gotten, just that it really has opened my eyes to how everyone has their own journey, and God can use us no matter how young. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much ๐Ÿ™‚ the blessing of working on the framework for five years โค I told God I wanted to work on the foundation before I started to write the first book of the series. Three completed novels later, God is showing me it's time. I've reached Ch. 3 for the book. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Iโ€™m glad that you donโ€™t mind getting books in the comments, haha. XD And my thoughts might be all over the place. ๐Ÿ˜…

    I’ve had those same worries with my child and teen characters – though I actually quite enjoyed reading some characters who were young but sounded much older. Maybe it’s just me, but the recent YA I’ve read makes the teens sound so… annoyingly immature and obnoxious? Haha. Which is yet another reason why I love reading the older stuff.

    I feel like I’m really digressing here, haha. I think what I’m trying to say is that there is a difference to me between innocence and sounding too young. This is just a personal preference maybe, but one thing that drives me up the wall is the overuse of some words such as “like,” “whatever,” “lame,” etc in their speech and the stereotypical teen attitude that comes with that. ๐Ÿ˜… Surely not all teens nowadays are like that…

    I want my characters to be realistic, but I haven’t had the experiences that most people have had. I was homeschooled, so I didn’t have any school experiences, which makes it hard for me to write about my characters going to school. Until my 20’s, I didn’t have any close friends my age, so I haven’t been around kids or teens that much. My knowledge comes from books mostly, which makes me a bit self-conscious about writing them realistically because I donโ€™t want to write characters that are too stereotypical and not even realize it. Or make them not relatable at all. I finally had to decide that I would write and not worry as much about it.

    Also as a result of being homeschooled, I was very sheltered. I had that curiosity about things too, and TV provided knowledge of some things that I thought I wanted to know and actually didn’t want to know. X) Iโ€™m thankful that I was sheltered from some things but felt like I missed out on some things as well.

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    1. No matter what our walks of life are, there are always going to be pros and cons. As for your concern, girl if YOU think a particular way do not be afraid to share that. You never know how others will think of a character until you actually take the time to write it down. I always enjoyed characters in depth, especially with children and teens. You have something important to add to the pot so to speak, share your perspective ๐Ÿ™‚ you may be surprised who can connect and who it reaches out to.

      I didn’t have many friends who were stereotypical so to speak. Everyone, even if they are stereotypical, will always have their own piece of originality. However, some people stand out because they aren’t like everyone else, and those are the people I really enjoy learning about. They are the ones I write about ๐Ÿ™‚

      I think many writers do not give enough credit to teens. I believe teens do not need as much watered down material as some books suggest, but that’s my perspective, and that’s the direction I go with my writing.

      I’m so glad you shared with me your thoughts ๐Ÿ™‚ it encourages me as a writer honestly to know the direction I am going reflects interests of other teens I’ve talked to, and peers.

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      1. Thank you for the encouragement! โค I will definitely write!

        That's helpful to know. ๐Ÿ™‚ I love originality too. I'm sure I'd love your characters. ๐Ÿ˜€

        I agree; at least, I remember wanting the older books when I was a teen because it seemed like it wasn't as watered down. For instance, if you take a Nancy Drew book that was published in the 1930's or 1940's and compared it to the revised editions that came out in the 1960's and 1970's, you can tell how much the mysteries were watered down. Which is why I always wanted the oldest possible. Sometimes I wonder if that older style shows up in my writing.

        ๐Ÿ™‚ Me too! I'm so glad that I could encourage you, and thanks for sharing your thoughts; you are encouraging me too. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      2. Me either. I know why they originally made some of the edits – to remove some words and such that was considered okay when originally written but was considered offensive later – but they ended up doing an overhaul of the books that wasn’t necessary and even changed the plotline a bit in some cases.

        ๐Ÿ˜€ That’s the cat’s whiskers! (Oh, is my love of old books showing? ๐Ÿ˜…) Seriously, that’s cool.

        Me too! ๐Ÿ™‚ โค

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      3. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Yeah! I bought both the old and new versions many years ago and read both to compare them just for the fun of it. (I was very obsessed with all things Nancy Drew for a long time, books, games, and movies… ๐Ÿ˜…) It was quite a difference!

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      4. ๐Ÿ™‚ I probably do have over 100 ND books in all… ๐Ÿ˜… I have many of the yellow hardbacks, quite a few blue hardbacks, a few paper digests, about 30 of the Nancy Drew Case Files (which were aimed at teens, not children, so the cases were more serious at times and Nancy would flirt with other guys a lot ๐Ÿ˜), a few of the Nancy Drew: Girl Detective series, and I have four of the new Nancy Drew Diaries. I was very obsessed when I was a teen… ๐Ÿ˜… And I still enjoy them.

        Out of curiosity, have you seen the Hidden Staircase movie? From 1939? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RQ_b2WH-nRA Turns out it’s on YouTube! It’s also fun to compare the book to the movie. ๐Ÿ™‚

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      5. That is incredible!!! I have about 30ish baby sitter club books, and I want to collect more. What a great variety you have!

        SAY WHAT THERE WAS A MOVIE?!!!! I may have to look into this later! Thank you for sharing! I have not gone to bed yet and it is almost 6am here haha! ๐Ÿ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Thanks! ๐Ÿ˜€

        Wow, that’s cool! I have quite a few of the Babysitter’s Club books too, but I don’t know how many. I loved collecting those and the Sweet Valley Twins and Goosebumps. I remember being so excited every time I found a new one. ๐Ÿ˜€

        I think my favorite Babysitter’s Club book was a “super” one. (Or something like that? They were extra big. I loved finding those because it lasted longer. ๐Ÿ˜‚) It had to do with them going on a vacation with two families. I remember specifically them traveling in the Vomit Comet and the Barfmobile… I don’t remember the title of the book though.
        Besides that one, I fondly remember the one having to do with Dawn and a secret tunnel. ๐Ÿ™‚ If there were secret tunnels involved, it was always extra special. ๐Ÿ˜„
        Have you seen the Babysitter’s Club Movie? I haven’t yet but I found it on DVD a while ago.

        There were actually four Nancy Drew movies in all starring Bonita Granville! ๐Ÿ˜€ (Nancy Drew: Reporter, Nancy Drew;: Troubleshooter, Nancy Drew: Detective, and The Hidden Staircase.) It looks like there is also one with Maggie Lawson (haven’t seen it yet but I saw it on YouTube while looking for the previous ones), and there was one in 2007 starring Emma Roberts. ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ve seen all but the one. And my favorites are the ones from the 1930’s, including the Hidden Staircase. Nancy and “Ted’ are hilarious. XD (I don’t know why they changed Ned to Ted in those movies. XD) I do question Nancy’s methods at times though… ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ And then there was the 1970’s TV series. It was awesome; I haven’t seen them all yet but it looks like episodes from it are on YouTube as well. ๐Ÿ˜€

        Oh wow. Then don’t start the movie, or you won’t get any sleep… ๐Ÿ˜‚ But that Nancy Drew movie is a great one if you get a chance to see it.

        (And I wrote you another book. XD I’m glad you don’t mind books in the comments, haha. ๐Ÿ˜Š)

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Pssh, this is convo to me, and I love discussion. ๐Ÿ™‚ Those two names were the car names the Pike family (Mallory’s family) had. They are named a couple of times I believe. There are two different books, not supers, that the Pike family goes to the beach. I have both, but can’t remember if they are named in the books.

        I have, let’s see, five super books. My favorite one is babysitters on board, they take a cruise ship, and part of the trip is Disney world. That was my first super I found at a thrift store. I have winter vacation, summer vacation, babysitters on board, babysitters at Shadow Lake (there’s a second one, which is a mystery book that takes place at Shadow Lake, I have that too). I have Babysitters’ Remember (that book is so read worn I’ve lost the back and front covers…now it looks like stolen property, unfortunately ๐Ÿ˜ฆ xD.

        I LOVE Sweet Valley Twins, I want more of their books. I loaned two of them to somebody a number of years ago, they were a mystery, and never got them back…this is why I am leery of lending things! Haha.

        I wasn’t a fan of Goosebumps, although I did like the ones in which you had options to choose your fate. So you would choose an option, and then go to that page number and read. Very clever idea!

        Thanks for letting me know about the movies.

        I have actually seen the Babysitters Club movie, it’s okay. I prefer the 90s series. I know Hulu has it online. I found some episodes on YouTube as well. Here is an episode of the mystery Claudia finds in the passage.

        Liked by 1 person

      8. ๐Ÿ˜€ I love discussion too.

        Ooohhhh, then I was confusing it with a super. I remember the beach being involved; I bet that’s the one I was thinking of! This conversation is making me want to go get my Babysitter’s Club books and find the titles. ๐Ÿ˜„

        Oh wow, I don’t remember that one at all! It sounds so good. I think I have two supers but I don’t remember which ones. I do remember the name Shadow Lake for some reason, but I don’t know which I have. But I’m not sure, after getting the previous book confused with a super. ๐Ÿ˜„

        WOW. That’s a lot of rereading it! ๐Ÿ˜€ I did the same thing on several books, haha.

        Aww, I’m sorry that you didn’t get them back. I remember my favorite Sweet Valley book had to do with a cursed necklace and it was on a movie set. It was one of the super chillers. https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/2184374.The_Curse_of_the_Ruby_Necklace That book scared me to death and I loved it. I also remember one that was an April Fool’s book in which the twins swapped places. ๐Ÿ˜‚ Do you have a favorite?

        I liked those too, but didn’t come across them often! ๐Ÿ™‚

        ๐Ÿ˜€ I hope you enjoy them!

        There was a Babysitter’s Club series?!!! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ Thanks for the link, I can’t wait to watch that! ๐Ÿ˜€

        Liked by 1 person

      9. Actually, two of my favorites of the Sweet Valley Twins were chillers, and they were the ones I lended and never got back. It had to do with a killer. He pretended to date both twins, and one was on a date with him when he tried to hurt her. I think he had an issue with the father’s company or something like that. It was my first time reading a scary and thrilling tale like that, and I thought it was well done, but yes…chiller is a good word for those tales. I also have one in which a girl gets cancer and the twin Jessica learns what it means about finding real value in friends. The girl, Mandy who had cancer, originally wanted to be part of the Unicorn’s Club (Jessica’s friends’ club) but she was too awkward, clothing wasn’t accepted, that kind of thing. It is one of my favorites, and I still own it haha. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I love it when characters are realistic! Unfortunately, some readers don’t like this concept for when they open a book they’re running away from reality as they crave escapism. Your characters sound amazing, T.R. and I can’t wait to read your work.

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    1. Ah, well, I have a soft prologue at the beginning asking the reader what lead them to the world of my book (so to speak) My readers are pulled in with the characters, that’s how I am writing, so escaping reality, maybe theirs, but not the reality of life. ๐Ÿ™‚ My hope is that I help readers find inspiration and learn how to deal with life better. When you get to read it, I do hope you like it ๐Ÿ™‚

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      1. I would absolutely love feedback. I’ve finished Ch. 1 and Ch. 2 both have also been heavily edited from my own changes, and feedback from some test readers. I’m actually rereading Ch. 1 and Ch.2 right before I start to work on Ch. 3. I like to at least reread the last page written to back into the setting and scene. ๐Ÿ™‚ I certainly could send CH. 1 just for you to get an idea.

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      2. You can send it, no problem at all. Just let me know when you send it for I hardly check my email now. I’ll be able to read it this weekend and give you feedback. ๐Ÿ™‚

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