Nov 4, 2012

The Older I Get

Originally posted in October:

      Clarification: No, it is not my fantabulous birthday. Actually, this has nothing to do with me at all. Sure, I could bore y'all with the story of my life, but who really wants to hear that?

      This is about the folks on the other side.  .  .of the page.

      Any guesses? Anyone? Anyone? I'm reffering to character age. One thing that irks me so much is when you have a character who sounds a different age than what he or she is without any reason. Take Holly Hook's Rita Morse and The Sinister Shadow--The main character was about 14/15. Before I learned she was going into highschool? I waspositive she was twelve.  Her complaining, her voice, and just everything she and her friends did, seemed so much like what a 11/12 year old would do.

      Somehow I made it past that and still finished the book, but stuff like that just annoys me. The readers want to relate to the characters. We need them to be real--like us.  Part of  real includes making them sound like their age, unless some other reasoning prevents that.

      I'll totally go for it if the character had to age up because their parents were like the dad in Silver Spoons (I'm not the only one who's seen that old TV show, am I?). I mean, if you went to live with your parents you'd never met before in your life and they turn out to be the ones acting like kids, you'd probably grow up some. After all, someone has to get something done.

      Examples for aging down are escaping me. . . Aging down just tends to annoy me. Under the right circumstances, it can be done, I believe, but no ready examples are coming to mind. Just wait and see: Something will come to me later when I'm the farthest possible distance from my laptop. If so, I'll try to mention it in my next post.

      So, I'm sitting here ranting while your eyes are bugging out wondering what on Mars I'm doing. All I want is for everyone to have characters that act their age unless by some weird coincidence they're aged up or down. Don't worry, it's not going to be that hard.

  • Read. What better way to see what other's have noticed in different age groups? Especially if you're an adult writing for children or a teen writing for adults. You've got to get to know them personally.

  • Watch. People watching's fun, isn't it? As long as you don't get too creepy about it, and hopefully don't grab your subjects' attentions, you can stare at them and see how they work. I tend to find restaurants to be the best place for me. You might find somewhere else. The park, work, JC Penny's. . .

  • Talk. Talk to people. Get to know them. See how they're tongues work. What kind of stuff do they talk about? What sports are teenage guys into? What does the average working mom chat about when she's with her friends?

      As writers, we need to have our five senses open to the world. See what the people are actually like. Get in their heads. After all, won't we be better off that way?

      If not, at least you won't irritate me when I'm reading your book. *sheepish smile*

-Silence K. Grulkey

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