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 aΒ “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.

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.30.04 AM

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.”Β 

“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.

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.31.00 AM.png

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. πŸ™‚ 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.

Screen Shot 2018-02-09 at 11.31.43 AM.png

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.Β 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. πŸ˜‰

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?Β 

Screen Shot 2017-08-22 at 9.45.40 PM

Advertisements

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

    1. Thank you so much πŸ™‚ 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. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much πŸ™‚ the blessing of working on the framework for five years ❀ 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. πŸ™‚

      Like

  1. I’m glad that you don’t mind getting books in the comments, haha. XD And my thoughts might be all over the place. πŸ˜…

    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. πŸ˜… 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 don’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) I’m thankful that I was sheltered from some things but felt like I missed out on some things as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    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 πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

      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 πŸ™‚ 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.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the encouragement! ❀ I will definitely write!

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

        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.

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

        Liked by 1 person

      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.

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

        Me too! πŸ™‚ ❀

        Liked by 1 person

      3. πŸ˜€

        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… πŸ˜…) It was quite a difference!

        Liked by 1 person

  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.

    Liked by 1 person

    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. πŸ™‚ 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 πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      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. πŸ™‚ I certainly could send CH. 1 just for you to get an idea.

        Liked by 1 person

      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. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s