1. deadrats
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    deadrats Active Member

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    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by deadrats, Sep 8, 2016.

    Do you write characters in your own age range? If so, is this easier for us, as writers, because we know what it's like to be that age right now? Which should help with character development, I believe, maybe? I've been pretty much doing this in almost all my short stories without even realizing it. At least when it comes to a main character. Not always but very often. And I do think I am better at creating characters that are close to me in age. What do you think?
     
  2. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Within about 10 years of my own age, yes. And yes, I think it's about comfort zone. I know where I am, figuratively speaking, here in mid-40's, and where I was in my mid-30's is still very familiar territory. My 20's are a foggier period of time, but I know that how I saw myself then is vastly different to how my mid-40's self sees who I was in my 20's. Vastly. :whistle:
     
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  3. IituRSI
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    IituRSI Member

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    My characters are pretty much my age, too. Not always, though, in my current project most of my characters are mid-30 or so and I'm 18. The main character is close to my age, just realized. Maybe a bit younger in beginnig
     
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  4. I.A. By the Barn
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    I.A. By the Barn A very lost time traveller Contributor

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    Yar, I am the same. All my characters are usually between 15-25 ( v. little above and nothing below). Whether it helps or hinders with character development... I'm not sure. I don't think many people my age act the same as me so I don't really use myself as a reference. I probably use these ages as these are the majority of people I come into contact with so I use them for a little inspiration :p
     
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  5. Scot
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    Scot Active Member

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    I've just looked at all my writings, and I can see my MC's ages range from pre-teen to around my own age, none older.
    So it seems I am limited by my own age, interesting.
    Unless you count the one about a tree which was around 400 years old.
     
  6. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Most of my characters are within 5-10 years of my own age, skewing older which I'd probably put down to the fact that most of my friends are older than me, so I feel like I have some secondhand experience there, I guess. Plus, I'm not interested in writing school-age characters, which is the territory I'd be going into if I went much younger than myself since I'm 22.

    I'm not sure how much it has to do with a comfort zone; I mostly write science fiction so most of my characters have to deal with weird shit that's certainly outside of my own personal experiences or realistic comprehension. But it is probably, at least in part, some sort of idea I have that around my age life is beginning to open up and start properly, and the promise and potential of that interests me a lot as far as storytelling goes.
     
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  7. Cave Troll
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    Cave Troll Bite the bullet, do your own thing. Contributor

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    Primarily 18+
     
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  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    My youngest character is 10. My oldest is 74.
     
  9. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    I used to write characters who were my age until I hit 40, then they started getting progressively younger. I'm 61 now and my current MC is 19 which, mathematically, is predictable, I suppose. And by that reckoning, if I'm still writing when I'm 80, it's just possible my characters will all be unborn fetuses.
     
  10. Mumble Bee
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    Mumble Bee The writer formerly known as Chained. Contributor

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    I usually range between 16-35. Although one of my characters has lived over 1000 lives so... not really sure where that one fits in.



    I think this is true for most people, including those of us still in our 20's.

    I blame a low tolerance for alcohol and a high susceptibility to peer pressure.
    Also, weed.
     
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  11. karldots92
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    karldots92 Active Member

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    Most of my MCs are in their mid-40s and I'm in my mid-30s so I haven't got there yet but I have 2 brothers that age and then I have some characters in their mid-20s which is a little easier since my significant other is in her early 20s so I have something more to go on as my brothers live abroad so I don't see them that often. I think if you have the people around you to use as benchmarks it makes it easier to write beyond your experience. That said I know lots of 20somethings who act 40 something and vice versa so its more about the characters personality and their age is somewhat secondary.
     
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  12. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    I'm 45 and my characters are usually mid-20s to mid-30s.
     
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  13. Viridian
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    Viridian Contributing Member Supporter

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    A wide range for me. Mostly around the 20-40 mark, but I also have the start of a middle grade/YA novel (not decided on the MC's age yet) and a collaboration project for a range of children's books. Given how much we draw on our imagination for our story/characters I think it's easy enough to portray said characters at any age - though, having said that, if you want to write about children or old folk I think a certain amount of observation/interaction with people in those age groups is absolutely necessary.
     
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  14. Tenderiser
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    Tenderiser Not a man Contest Administrator Contributor

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    Book 1 MCs: 23 and 29
    Book 2 MCs: 28 and 47
    Book 3 MCs: 32 and 33

    I think I could write older characters well, even elderly ones. I know I couldn't write MG and I really, really doubt I could write YA. Children mystify and terrify me in equal measures, and teens are just clusterfucks of irrational reactions (sorry, teens). I'm sticking firmly with adult fiction. :D
     
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  15. Laurin Kelly
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    Laurin Kelly Active Member

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    When I wrote fanfics in the cannon universe of the fandom, my MC's were teenagers (17-19 ish). But the show writers often wrote them as much older (based on my own experience of raising a teenager), and the actors that played them were almost all in their 20's, so I in turn wrote them with an older characterization.

    But if I was writing realistic teenagers? Oh hell to the no. I just cannot get into the headspace of a teenager or have the desire to write from one. And since I write romance, MCs that are children are totally out of the question for me.
     
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  16. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    My youngest character is 7 my oldest is 63. I really like writing younger characters, especially in omniscient 3rd person. It gives you all the benefit of the youthful innocence and gullibility in a MC, but the reader knows (because the narrator knows) about the evil swirling around the cherub at the center of the story and how they are oblivious to it all.
     
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  17. hawls
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    hawls Active Member

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    I tend to see that the younger the writer the more likely the protagonist will be of a similar age.

    Once a writer hits their 30s they are more comfortable writing a protagonist vastly older than they are, even though they have not personally experienced being that old. This is because the responsibilities of adulthood persist a lot longer than the priorities of children and teenagers, so it's easier for a 30 year old to imagine what their life would be like as a 60 year old. It's not so easy for a 15 year old. It's not even that easy for a 20 year old.

    Sure a 15 year old can write adult characters based on astute observations, but generally younger writers feel more comfortable with younger protagonists. This may even come down to the fact that younger people struggle to be heard, and by writing a character of similar age they can express themselves knowing that the character's voice can't be ignored by potential readers.
     
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  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When I got started as a serious writer, I was in my late teens / early twenties. I wrote about everyone from preteen kids to "old people" - mature adults in positions of responsibility.

    Nowadays, since I'm 55, most of my characters are younger than I am. I assume that, as I grow older, more and more of me characters will be younger than I am, simply because characters older than me will be doddering old people playing cribbage in nursing homes.
     
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  19. Catrin Lewis
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    Catrin Lewis Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cribbage? Heck, no. We'll all be drooling into the keyboards of our laptops and posting uninhibitedly rude remarks on Twitter.
     
  20. KhalieLa
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    KhalieLa It's not a lie, it's fiction. Contributor

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    Forget twitter, those old foggies will be posting adverts for "daddy\daughter" fetish rollplay on craigs list! Once you get over 70 you may as well just write erotica.
     
  21. jannert
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    jannert Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    We're getting there, we're getting there. But not cribbage. Please. Yatszee. Parcheesi. Twister. Monopoly. Trivial Pursuit. Yes. But no cribbage. And no fatuous politicians or do-gooder clergy visits. No reedy choirs of children at Christmas. Please. And no Fisher-Price plastic toys to throw around the room to keep us 'stimulated.' Or obligatory crap TV in the Day Room. Or overcooked broccoli. Please.

    Actually, at the age of 67, I find that the characters I write about are younger than me—everything from a young child to a person my own age today. I feel this is fine, because I've been there, done that. And since I'm writing historical fiction, I don't need to keep up with today's younger people's attitudes either. My own experiences will do fine. I am about to write a character who is older than me, so we'll see how that goes. Crabby old git.
     
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  22. Sal Boxford
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    Sal Boxford Active Member

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    Dammit. I never specifically state the age of my protagnoists but they're all late 20s, early 30s, I guess. I hadn't noticed that. That makes me feel crappy. Must try harder. I have older characters kicking about but not many. One story goes back to episodes in the protagonist's childhood, but I think he's the only kid.
     
  23. Beloved of Assur
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    Beloved of Assur Member

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    While its definitelty easier to write our own ages, I really don't think its harder to write older or young people than its is to write difference socio-economic status or culture. There are differences, sure, but they are not difficult to understand as we might think.
     
  24. Sack-a-Doo!
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    Sack-a-Doo! Contributing Member Contributor

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    Yes, but they have an internal logic... well... internal illogic?
     
  25. Oswiecenie
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    Oswiecenie Active Member

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    The bulk of my POV-characters are in my age range, i.e. late teens to late twenties. Otherwise, I populate my stories with characters of all ages. My age preference in regards to POV-characters has little to do with comfort zone-type of stuff. It just happens to be very convenient for storylines and character arcs as it's the time frame in which people are starting to carve out their place in the world.

    So are adults. Teens are just more honest about it and display it openly. Adults in turn have masked their irrational clusterfuckery by establishing it as the norm.
     
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