Tags:
  1. DustFeathers
    Offline

    DustFeathers New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2006
    Messages:
    13
    Likes Received:
    0

    Character Advice?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by DustFeathers, Dec 6, 2006.

    The protagonist in my latest attempt at writing something passable (see http://www.writingforums.com/showthread.php?t=69668, if I can be so bold as to link to an exterior site) is also the narrator. However, he is neither my gender nor my age - he's a nineteen-year-old guy, and I'm a fifteen-year-old girl. Am I being presumptuous by trying to write from his perspective? Or is it acceptable as a creative effort?


    Also, I'm worried that he and some of the other characters are stereotypes, which I hate, because I'm a real character-led writer. I've tried to round them out as much as possible, but I don't know what else I can do. If any of you are interested, I can give outlines and let you judge for yourselves, but for now I'll leave you with that.
     
  2. mammamaia
    Offline

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 21, 2006
    Messages:
    19,316
    Likes Received:
    1,014
    Location:
    Coquille, Oregon
    ...presumptuous, no, since as a writer, you're free to do anything you want... overreaching, probably, since at your tender age you haven't broad enough experience with people of other ages and gender to be able to get inside their heads and write them believably... so, until you're older and have 'lived more' the wiser course would be to stick to what you know best, character-wise...

    ...that depends on whether you can pull it off, or not... i'm sure a rare few could... if you want to go ahead and give it your best shot, you can then ask some knowledgable folk to let you know if it worked... i'll be happy to give it a look, if you do...

    ...stretching our writer's muscles is never a bad thing... even if we fail, we learn...

    love and hugs, maia
     
  3. IndianaJoan
    Offline

    IndianaJoan Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Oct 10, 2006
    Messages:
    394
    Likes Received:
    17
    Location:
    Washington State
    The gift a writer has is the ability to dive into the heads of any character we wish. If we were limited to characters of our own social class and gender how boring a world it would be!
     
  4. zerobytes
    Offline

    zerobytes Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2006
    Messages:
    209
    Likes Received:
    2
    Location:
    USA MST
    I think you should be just fine writing a ninteen year old guy. Perhaps you won't get it accurately, but I'm pretty sure that there are several other 15 year old girls who would have the same perception of 19 year olds and would love to read about this one.

    For example, I'm guessing Jane Austin wrote Mr. Darcy as she would imagine just such a man and women all over the world have fallen in love with him.

    Mammamaia is right about your experience though and there is definitely a lot of growing to be had but that will come with practice and critique. Right now do your best, take the advice and use your creativity to create the kind of character YOU would like to read about. Usually others will be interested too,

    zb
     
  5. TWErvin2
    Offline

    TWErvin2 Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,528
    Likes Received:
    561
    Location:
    Ohio, USA
    Others have commented on the other topic of your post, so I'll comment on this one.

    Every character does not have to be round, with great depth. Each character should have a purpose. Flat/cardboard characters should be inserted or used where it is appropriate to move the plot forward, to fill in where needed (as a foil for example). Trying to make them round and dynamic in your novel when it detracts from what is important weakens the writing instead of strengthening.

    Sometimes a bit character may become more than what the writer originally expected while a character who was anticipated to play a major role, shrinks, merges with another character, or disappears completely.

    Terry
     
  6. FallenAgain
    Offline

    FallenAgain New Member

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2006
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    At the edge of insanity
    Well, I can suggest the ol' method of interviewing real 19 year old guys.
    But personally, I use what I don't have personal experience with to (attempt, and in my opinion, succeed) create a unique and interesting situation and reaction.
    Also, I don't find it that hard to write the character, even if he's pretty much my opposite. I love character development and creation and the rest, so I have him in my mind like another person. Another person I can just so happen to switch brains with as we please...
    Taking my character Bavol for example. He's completely unique. But closing my eyes, I can imagine myself as him, feel the movements he makes, experience the situation he's in, interpret it, and react. Somehow, I feel it turns out to be believable.
    So you could try that. As a forewarning, though, I think all that might have contributed to my insanity. XD
    My summary--even if, in real life, you haven't experienced what the character has, you can think through from the beginning and come to the conclusion. Was it not a series of 'action and reaction's that got him to where he is? Starting from conception? Think it through like that, maybe.
    Alright, so I doubt that helped, I'm having trouble explaining. Or maybe I'm just strange. Oh well. XD
    Good luck. :-D
    TTYS,
    ~FI~
     
  7. Max Vantage
    Offline

    Max Vantage Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 19, 2006
    Messages:
    429
    Likes Received:
    6
    First of all, Dusty, anyone who tells you that you are unable to write all that well because of your lack of 'life experience' - IGNORE THEM!

    Also due to my "lack of life experience" I wouldn't know a damn thing about serial killers or their mentalities.
    But how the hell that means that I couldn't write a good and convincing story about one I'll never know. Thomas Harris is also not an intellectual psychopath but that didn't stop him from writing one of the most well known psychopaths in fiction history - Hannibal Lector (loosely based on real life grim crim Ed Gein).

    You should have the skill of being able to get close to ANY type of person who you want your character to be based on. FallenAgain said it by the use of research. This is a vital skill any writer should develop.

    When you think you have sufficient information you then rely on your creative imagination to fictionalise what you have learnt. This is a great process of writing fiction.

    Some people have this blatant patronising view when it comes to younger writers. Forget them. They're archaic. Dinosaurs. Fossils.
     
  8. Heather Louise
    Offline

    Heather Louise Contributing Member Contributor

    Joined:
    Dec 10, 2006
    Messages:
    2,972
    Likes Received:
    32
    i tend to write as a girl, i have never tried to write as the opposite sex, but i always write about a person older than myself. i think a lot of this is due to the fact that, with me being only 13, it is very hard for me to base an interesting adult story around a 13 year old, as there are a lot of limitations.
    i think that writing a story and making the charectors to work and fit in with it is hard enough, but there is no need in restricting yourself even more by sticking to same sex/age.
    any way, all im trying to say is you go for it girl, if it works it works, if it doesn't then try something new.
    heather
     
  9. Fantasy of You
    Offline

    Fantasy of You Banned

    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2007
    Messages:
    369
    Likes Received:
    7
    Location:
    England
    You should write what you know, simply. That doesn't mean your protagonists must be your age and gender, or that your pieces must be auto-biographical, but it does me you shouldn't write about something totally alien to yourself.

    Character's personalities are dictated by just that, their character. Not by their gender, or their age. Each person acts differently; if you know your character, you have no trouble. If you don't, you're in too deep.

    Since you seem to distrust your own abilities in the matter, I'd say stop and begin something new. You have to write with confidence to pull anything off. If a lot of your chars. are cliche, that's a sign you don't know them well enough.


    - FoY
     
  10. Gateship
    Offline

    Gateship Member

    Joined:
    Jan 5, 2007
    Messages:
    23
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Manchester, UK
    At 19, he's going to have left school - has he gotten a job or is he going into further education? Maybe neither and he's going to be in a band/an artist/a layabout reliant on his parents.

    In addition to FoY's "write what you know" advice, if you have access to the internet you should be able to find out the kind of things 19 year old boys like.

    You shoudl be able to find out the current fashion trends, bands to listen so, and so on.

    You could even do a search on some blog sites for some "inside information" and a glimpse into how boys write and think.

    Hope this helps!
     
  11. Domoviye
    Offline

    Domoviye Contributing Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2007
    Messages:
    1,369
    Likes Received:
    21
    Location:
    Proud Canadian. Currently teaching in Nanjing, Chi
    I'd say write outside your experience as long as you're comfortable with it.
    I'm a 25 nearly 26 year old male, who has to wear glasses.
    I've written some decent stories about a 27 year old blind woman, a 9 year old girl, a 6 to 8 year old little boy, and a 17 year old teenage girl who commits mass murder, followed by suicide.
    I've been the little boy. The rest are kind of out of my range of experience, especially the suicide.

    If everyone tried to write only from their experiences, books would be far more boring.

    As for the stereotypes I can't really help you without at least seeing the outline.
    PM me if you want, and I'll look it over sometime within the next two weeks.
     
  12. Mr Baatard
    Offline

    Mr Baatard Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Where the wind comes sweeping down the plain
    I had a similar problem in the book I'm writing. There is a female that is essential to the story. The problem is, I'm a man. I had to figure out how to write a woman convincingly.

    I used trial and error, and looked to role models. I paid attention to strong women in real life, i.e. politics, history, news, etc.

    Hope this helps!
     
  13. Traci
    Offline

    Traci Member

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Washington DC area
    As a 28 year old girl I wouldn't mind reading the thoughts of a 13 year old again. An audience will be there for whatever you want to write -sometimes adults want to be 13 year olds again. Other than trying to tap into our memories-a story that you could write about your current situations would be another way for us to reach that perspective. :p
     
  14. scumlander
    Offline

    scumlander Member

    Joined:
    Jan 10, 2007
    Messages:
    15
    Likes Received:
    0
    Location:
    Hell on Mars
    Well personally, at 15 years old i dont think i could really, properly do a 19 year old because even from 15 to 16, (well in britain anyway) its a very big leap. but you should give it a try and see what you get.
     
  15. MohadGlub
    Offline

    MohadGlub Member

    Joined:
    Jan 22, 2007
    Messages:
    17
    Likes Received:
    0
    even if we fail, we learn...

    That is so true... :D :D

    (Hi everyone I'm new- first post was in poetry- Hero Haunted, feedback would be fantastic)




    Anyway, I'm a young writer (male), and was very scared of feeling as though I havent 'lived enough' to get into the mind frame of one of my characters- a young single mother. Hell, I have no idea what I was thinking trying to pull that off- and I most probably havent; (Salutes all those gallant young mothers out there).

    Anyway, I had a go, and though I havent had any feedback whatsoever, I feel as if I have at any rate reached a new level in my abilities as a Writer.

    Also, as 'research' if you like, I read some Jodi Picoult- who has mothers as her protagonists quite often, and found it very useful to 'get into the role'.

    So, yeah, that's my advice- have a go, see if its believeable (and probably get some objective and brutal feedback- which I have yet to do.... :rolleyes: ) and read anything you can which has a similar character- Immerse yourself in their mindframe.

    You never know, you might just fool them all.
     
  16. Thedarkersideofme
    Offline

    Thedarkersideofme Senior Member

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2007
    Messages:
    148
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    Inside Delaware
    I think the story is alright...but maybe you should try something more suitable to your age..no offense..i mean its ok, but you need to start explaining how joe slept with her...but other than that its alright...
     
  17. crazycat007
    Offline

    crazycat007 Member

    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2006
    Messages:
    33
    Likes Received:
    1
    Location:
    in the deep recesses of my mind
    hey. ok, as a 14 year old girl with no note-worthy life experiences whatsoever, i tend to make my characters either extensions of myself or other people i know. if that won't work, i try to at least make a character react/act in a way i can at least imagine reasonably. of course, i make all matter of outrageous things happen anyway, so...yeah. just as long as a character seems rear to you, he/she should work out fine.
     

Share This Page