1. StoryWeaver
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    StoryWeaver Member

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    Protagonist age for YA paranormal mystery?

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by StoryWeaver, Sep 28, 2013.

    What should be maximum age for a female protagonist for a YA/teen paranormal mystery novel?
     
  2. Thomas Kitchen
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    Thomas Kitchen Proofreader in the Making Contributor

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    I think you can have her at death's door and/or 70+ if you need to. As long as there are other elements of YA (less complicated plots, younger side characters, etc.), then I don't see any problem in having a granny as the hero!
     
  3. GingerCoffee
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    She should be the age you think she is. Characters are who they are.

    That said, seventeen seems to be standard, but also a bit cliché. Nonetheless, I went with 17 for mine.

    Maximum I would think would be very early 20s. But I agree, the story is what makes it YA, not necessarily the age of the protag.
     
  4. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    the YA market covers the entire teen range, so fiction for that market is most often aimed at either the lower or the upper half, since what a 13 year old will be likely to read is not always what a 19 year old will find of interest... and v/v...
     
  5. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    55% of YA books bought by adults
    The study looked at readers, not just parents buying the book for kids. It's a fascinating glimpse of marketing research.

    I don't think of young teen stories when I think of YA, but clearly they can be in that genre. Harry Potter, for example, is not about the same age kids as Twilight or Hunger Games. All three appeal to a very broad reader age range. In my limited experience, I've always referred to books marketed to the younger age range as 'chapter books'. That's what those rows of same size paperbacks are called at the book store.
     
  6. StoryWeaver
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    I am definitely looking for an upper age limit (but under age 25), say 15-25, maybe 19-20. Here is my dilemma. My protagonist is based on a real life historical person (long enough in the past to be out of reach of copyright issues) 19 years old; that could go down to 15 years old to capture more of a teen market (e.g. The Mortal Instruments - City of Bones, etc). However, I have a sidekick homeless secondary character age 10-12 whose plot interweaves with my teen MC and a nice ending would involve the MC getting married (girls got married young long ago) and either adopting that secondary character or somehow giving permanent shelter, a home, to that secondary character. So an older MC (early 20) fits better with marrying a romance and perhaps adopting that much younger secondary character; but a younger MC (15-17) fits better for a mainstream YA teen audience--yet presents an impossibility for any sort of adoption of the younger secondary character.
     
  7. Burlbird
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    Burlbird Contributing Member Contributor

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    @ToryWeaver sorry, but I guess a historical figure that was once 19 in her/his life was once also 15 (and potentialy 25, if he/she survived) :)

    Personally, I had no problem reading about a 60+ Don Quijote when I was 8, nor to read about 7y/o Alice when I was 16... And most of my friend read Harry Potter in early 20s (I've just recently read it because of my work, and I'm over 30 now!)

    I actually work with 13-14 year olds, and they have no problem connecting with characters of any age - it's cool, of course, if the character is in his teens as well, but I've never heard them complain about reading of mature characters (they do, however, complain about reading sometimes) ;)
     
  8. GingerCoffee
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    19 works for me.
     
  9. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    19 still puts it in the YA market, so don't worry about the sidekick... that just gives you a shot at both ends of the YA readership and every age in between!
     

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