1. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Age Group and Writing

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Cacian, Jan 29, 2012.

    which age group do you target as you reader?
    I personally think it is appropriate and more effective if a writer addressed and wrote to their own age group.
    I have yet to come across a book written by children for children for example.
    I think that would make such a difference to the reader tio read something from the same age group as his writer.
    It is a possibility that this would help the writer understand who he or she they are writing to.
    A writer cannot possibly understand all his reader because he does not know them but a writer could start by narrowing down to an age group then maybe interest then occupation and so on.
    Apart from age group, I think gender/race/or cultural differences should not a barrier to write to all.
    Discuss
     
  2. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    Race might not be, but cultural differences and gender definitely are. Cultures see words and their connotations differently: for example, Gaelic 'blue' is also grey and green. What translates to 'adventure' to you might translate to 'unmitigated disaster' in another language whose culture has a different outlook on life.
     
  3. twelveninetysix
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    twelveninetysix Member

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    Generally I just write whatever I want/need to write and assume that there's an audience out there for it. Although I'm only a teenager I doubt there's many teens that want to read the kind of books that I want to write. Not saying that they can't or that none of them will, but there's probably a larger audience in young adults, for example.
     
  4. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    As a writer, you need to have some insight into what it is like to be a <whatever-the-character-is>. But does this mean you need to be, or to have been, that kind of person is absurd. Men can write women as characters, and women can write men as characters. How well depends on what their observational skills are like.

    Every adult has been a child. Times do change, but not so profoundly as to make it impossible for an adult to understand a child or teen's point of view., especially if they have children of their own (or grandchildren, or nieces and nephews, etc.)

    To be a good writer, you must be a keen observer of human behavior.
     
  5. Mr Mr
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    Mr Mr Active Member

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    Cogito - you make it sound like you have to be a psychologist :p Although I suppose it helps.

    Cacian - Eragon was a book written by a teen for teens and I assume there other teen authors out there aswell.
     
  6. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    That is interesting about the Gaelic for 'blue'. I enjoy learning things like that.
    I think it is possible to break down barriers by writing in a general term as in a general knowlegde for a book to be read by all sorts of people.
    I agree about culture and some types of books are not designed for specific cultures but one can write in terms of what I call international culture which I am sure such culture exist it just needs to be brought out and written about.
    How amasing that would be to think that one has their own culture as another international culture they share with the world.
    That is my idea book. Must press on it.:p

    I think youwill be surprised to fing that teenagers will read you more then adults.
    They are like you hence they can identify with you and your writing and so you will be definetely something they will look for and read.
    Children are more likely to watch or listen to a film or programme made solely by and for children.
    It is instinctive that we tend to go for someone who thinks or sounds like us. There is no doubt about that.
     
  7. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't target an age group more specific than general adult and maybe young adult. I write my story and whoever likes it will like it. If I wrote for an age group, my writing would quickly smother.
     
  8. Yoshiko
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    Yoshiko Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm not comfortable with anyone younger than eighteen reading my work no matter how mature and open-minded they consider themselves to be. This is about as far as my consideration of a potential reader's age goes.
     
  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I suppose I write for adults, and I hope that smart kids will get into my stuff, too. I see no reason to write stories specifically directed at kids, unless they're under the age of ten or so. Any teen should be able to read and appreciate fiction written for adults.
     
  10. Superevil225
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    Superevil225 Member

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    I find I have a strong aversion to teen fiction. I find it far too simple and cliched. So, I tend to read more mature fiction. When I write to people my age, it never sounds natural, so I usually aim for 20+ audience because it's a lot more natural. I'm more mature than most my age, so I find it difficult to write content for people -20.
     
  11. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    My books vary a lot. I have a few stories that I think fit into the YA genre, then I have a story for older kids (written together with my 8 and 11 year old cousins) and I have one story right now that I think is too mature for even me to execute properly yet. I think I need to mature some myself before I completely tackle that one. I don't really know what counts as YA, but I think most of my stories fall into the 18-30 age group, but I hope every age group can enjoy them.
     
  12. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    i write philosophical works for adults and picture books for children 3-10 [which comprises 2 age ranges: 3-6 & 7-10]...

    that makes no sense, sorry to say, since young children can't write well enough and don't have the experience to be able to construct stories for children that will be publishable...

    and children/teens can't be, as they are naturally self-absorbed...

    which is physically and practically impossible, in re small children... and nearly so for teens...
     
  13. jazzabel
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    jazzabel Contributing Member Contributor

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    Writers should be good psychologists (as in, knowledgeable about human nature and the human condition), that way they'll be able to imagine pretty accurately all sorts of experiences which are not within their current age group or whatever.
    Cultures differ greatly, but deep down, anyone who worked with a lot of people will tell you that people are remarkably similar. Regardless of whether you are writing a book about a teenager in Buenos Aires, a 60 year old person from Zimbabwe will be able to relate to him/her as a person, to their deeper motives, hopes and fears, and the outside factors such as the milieu, names, customs, climate, social norms, will be what the reader is learning about the character as they read along. Readers love to learn about characters and often it is a lot more interesting to learn something we don't know already.

    The bottom line is, age is no different than any other demographic parameter - race, culture, sex, socioeconomic status etc.
    There are 70 year olds who are very internet-proficient, love contemporary music, video games and all sorts other interests that would be stereotypically assigned to a much younger person. Also, there are 16 year olds who love crochet, never play video games and listen only to classical music - all thing that are stereotypically associated with older people.
    This is why I think it's a bad idea to overuse stereotypes in our writing, or make assumptions about the readers.

    There are universal truths for all the readers - they like suspense, to be kept guessing, they like to identify themselves with protagonists, they don't like plot holes etc.
    Books specifically aimed at children are so clearly defined in terms of their content and the bookshelf position purely to ensure that topics which a child would be unable to understand, are not inadvertantly introduced. Parents would understandably feel reluctant to allow their child to read graphic descriptions of violence or sex, so they, as consumers, need to be able to rely on the fact that such books wouldnt get published with children as intended audience.

    Beyond that, there is no way to guess who will like what. The only rule of good writing that is useful in this context imo is to write what you know or can make educated guesses about. And since all adults were children, that certainly qualifies.
    As far as writing what we don't know, well that can be a lot harder but is also perfectly possible. In other words, no, I don't think that specifically writing for the people who are as old as you are, do the same jobs or are of the same gender, is any guarantee of the impact on the reader. It is the skill level of the writer that matters most.
     
  14. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    I see the point and so I am thinking instead of applying ban and parental control because of innappropriate materials it owuld be better is a story was a written by a child for a child and so one which prevent anyone reading anything from anyone that is not their age.
    What I am tryign to say a story written by a 7year old is automatically safer for a child of the same get to read rather then from a 30 year old who may or may not care so much about the content.
    It is an automatic pass without having to check for content.
    It is an idea.
    I qualify tospeak and write for my age group because I know what I am allowed and what I am not and os understand the content/type of material suitable for readers of my age group.
     
  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with mammamaia that this is a very unrealistic notion. The most challenging thing I ever remember writing as a young child was "How I Spent My Summer Vacation", and having to listen to everyone read theirs in class was torture of the first order. Young children who read (or have read to them) a story they love have little or no concept of that it is they love about the story, let alone the ability to replicate it.

    Moreover, the single fact of similar background is not what makes a story desirable to read. I would argue that it is far less important than the ability to observe human behavior, realize what makes a compelling story (regardless of which age group you write for), and then craft a story worth reading. To expect a child to be able to do that is, in my view, completely unrealistic.
     
  16. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Mozart played the piano at the age of six.
    I know kids at 5 or 6 that can tell a story better then you and I put together.
    We should not understimate the talent and ingenuity of children.
    They don't have to write it, they can say/tell or record then get is scripted then sell it to other children their age.
    The sky's knows no boundaries as far as children are concerned.
     
  17. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, 1756-1791. Composed his first musical piece at the age of 4, his first symphony at the age of 8. An interesting example, but not one upon which to base a general rule (ie "It would be better if a story is written by a child for a child").

    Since you have no idea how well I can tell a story, this is sheer conjecture on your part.

    Lovely sentiment, but not borne out in fact.
     
  18. TDFuhringer
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    TDFuhringer Contributing Member Contributor

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    When creating art, which is what writing is, considering the age of your potential audience artificially creates a barrier or at least a label, separating the art from the entire audience pool and limiting it to a specific group.

    Why put limitations on your art? Because art is a subjective experience, every piece of art will draw it's own audience, young and/or old. Why not let the work speak for itself? Why not let the audience decide for themselves?
     
  19. Gallowglass
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    Gallowglass Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see any 'international culture' - common and vague values that unite all sane human beings irrespecive of their culture or upbringing, maybe, but not 'international culture.' Writing is ultimately a matter of meaning: and meaning can change from place to place as much as it can from person to person. A hero in America might be valued by an American audience for his self-reliance and independence; in Japan, he'd be considered a 'bad' person, however, as they value conformity, and such a character goes against what they define as 'good.'
     
  20. Cacian
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    Cacian Banned

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    Indeed and I agree.
    Your last line says it all and therefore you as a writer or any one for that matter must to strive to combat ignorance and show that Americans are not bad.
    One way of succeeding in changing people's behaviour and opinions of others they don't identify with because of their culture differences, is to create this sense of international culuture through books which are specifically written to fit anyone's frame of mind and convince Japanese and others that American writers are excellent humourist and intellectual story writers.
    To write and target an international audience throuhg one language and that is English should do the job.
    bearing in mind that you want to prove all those myths wrong.
    That is what I mean by international culture some kind of stamp of recognition that shifts stereotypes and fight ignorance.
    Writing is one strong perfect tool that does just that.
     

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