1. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Writing a 10 year old girl.

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by chacotaco91, Mar 28, 2011.

    Hi everyone, I'm in need of some help right now, as I'm writing really far out of my comfort zone right now.

    Currently, I have a Sci-Fi story that revolves around a single family:

    -A Father, 49 year old doctor.
    -An oldest son, 20. Currently fighting in a war. Joined to impress his father.
    -A younger son: 16, defiant, and possibly about to be drafted into a war. Is willing to join because his father is now dissulusioned with the war, and he sees a way to get defy him by drafting/enlisting. Also wants to join his brother.
    -A 9-10 year old daughter. I imagine her tomboyish (being an all male faimily). She has an obsession with a futuristic city near their home that their family's social class is barred from entering.

    The mother had a mental breakdown four years ago, and commited suicide by getting too close to the futuristic city (which, outside its walls, is a kill zone).

    This family's lifestyle is a mix between 1930's and 18th century agrarian lifestyle (They have a radio, and some solar powered things, but must pull plows by horse i.e. no gas/tractors/trucks). The majority of their duties is tending the land. It is extremely difficult work, and leaves little time for other things.

    Now, I'm a young-male myself, so I'm more inclined to write through the perspecitve of a young man, and often in some kind of combat/leadership role.

    What are some ways a young girl would think? At her age, what would be her ideas on things like boys/sex/love etc? How do girls sometimes view their relationships with their brothers? How do daughter-mother relationships differ from father-son or mother-son relationships?

    I already know she's a tomboy, so other girls will make fun of her for being dirty and playing with other boy's etc, but I still don't want to make her interchangable with a little boy.

    What would be the kind of work a girl her age would do on a farm?

    I'm flying blind here, so does anybody often write through this perspective?

    I'm basically starting her character from scratch right here, so I'm needing some help brainstorming.
     
  2. Taylee91
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    Taylee91 Carpe Diem Contributor

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    Well from your description above, I imagine her as trying to run the house. Her mother is dead, so she's cooking, cleaning, and etc. Her father tends the fields with her older brother who's sixteen.

    I tend to write from a tomboy sort of pov when it comes to girls too. I'm a bit of both. I can see her worrying about her older brother who's off fighting in the war, wishing her mother were still alive, and wishing the tension between her father and her older brother would be resolved. I can see her also wishing to escape her world of drudgery.

    A little girl at the age of ten would milk cows, get eggs from the chickens, feed the horses, do the things not too physcially demanding. Of course, if there werent' any boys around, she'd be doing the manual chores herself.

    I'm writing in the pov of a fourteen year old girl at the moment. But I don't my pov differs that much from the pov of a ten year old girl. Their vocabulary might be a little different though.
     
  3. NateSean
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    NateSean Active Member

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    Really, the only difference between a boy and a girl is the plumming. That's what it comes down to. Beyond that, how a girl or boy at the age of ten acts or reacts to something is all down to their upbringing and their personality.

    Some girls like dolls. Others don't. In some societies, girls are expected to do all of the housework, cook and clean. So if the society this girl lives in teaches her to be an obedient perochial school girl, that's how she's going to behave. If she gets slapped whenever she has an opinion, or speaks out of turn, she'll learn that she has to be quiet and hold her tongue. If she's more of a Dorothy-type girl in the Great Depression, she'll bolt the minute things aren't going the way she likes them.

    On the otherhand, if her parents aren't super oppressive and her homelife isn't remniscent of the 18th century that you hint at, she may be more vivacious and out going.

    If the sixteen year-old son is such a handful, then between patients, the father probably won't have a lot of time to focus on her, which will give her a lot more leeway. The things kids get away with or attempt when they aren't supervised...

    Hope that helps somewhat.
     
  4. Terri
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    Terri Senior Member

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    I'm a tomboy myself who grew up on a farm with three brothers. & I have to say that I agree w/ what was said above... the difference is really in the plumbing.
    There are a lot of cliche emotional differences (that aren't always true) ie: girls are more sensitive / compassionate, etc. while boys are tougher / stronger.
    But for the purpose of writing true to your character, keep her strong but with a glaring weakness that your readers will identify with.

    As for work, here's what I did:
    Bottle fed calves
    Fed chickens & gathered their eggs
    Shoved horse sh*% from stalls
    Weeded the garden & harvested ripe veggies
    Picked wild berries along fence rows
    Made up beds
    Scrubbed floors
    Cooked
    Made bread

    & lots of other things that wouldn't fit in your era. Hope some of this helped.
    Best of luck!
     
  5. Trish
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    Trish I've been deleted.. again Contributor

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    I agree with everything said above. Only thing I would point out (as a past tomboy) is that while the other girls may make fun of her, to a degree, they also will be a tiny bit afraid of her and jealous of her relationship with the boys (even though they say they're not). You might want to throw that in there.
     
  6. Still Life
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    Still Life Active Member

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    Everything believable about your character hinges on whether or not she still remembers this event here:


    Actually, wouldn't she not fit in anywhere? She might have a handful of close friends, maybe, or even just hang out with her brothers. I imagine her to be more of a loner: the girls would make fun of her for not acting the way a girl should, but the boys would probably badmouth her family history. She didn't have a mother after all, and the boys in my neighborhood (including my brothers) were always quick to pick up on hurtful stuff like that.

    Personally, if I'm not sure I can write a believable character, that character gets scrapped. It's really hard for anyone to tell you how to write a believable character because everyone's ideas are different, it's your character not ours, and we're all struggling with the same dilemma on this board anyway. Plus, you can't satisfy everyone. But if you're going to throw caution to the wind and do it anyway, the best thing to do is to either write from your imagination (or what you think she should be like), or get an overview of what girls are like at that age through books/films/etc.
     
  7. Mallory
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    Mallory Mallegory. Contributor

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    All the points made by others seem correct.

    Also, when writing kids, try to make them a little more mature than you think they would really be, because kids are more mature than adults give them credit for (because kids don't share all their knowledge and experiences with their parents, obviously). It's annoying to read stories where the 10-year-old girls all run around playing with dolls and using words like "Mommy," "yummy," "dolly" etc and starting to cry all the time. Yours seems pretty capable and mature, so I don't think you've got much to worry about.

    When I was 10, I climbed in trees, had boys vs. girls war games with neighboring kids, had slumber parties at which there were pranks and truth or dare, talked about periods and who'd gotten theirs, etc. My friends were girls, but I wasn't prissy or girly. I never played with dolls (not even when I was really little) but I did play with beanie baby cats until I was around 10. I was always very independent and not the type of kid who needed their parents to be there all the time and help then with everything.

    But I didn't grow up on a farm, so I don't know if this is applicable at all. :)
     
  8. Show
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    Show Contributing Member Contributor

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    lol Some tell me that my kids are TOO mature. xD lol All of my girls tend to turn out tomboyish or whiny. So I can understand the OP's trouble with writing a girl.
     
  9. chacotaco91
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    chacotaco91 Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone, priceless help. Big things I've changed from y'alls suggestions:

    -I've had the mother die 2 years ago from when the books takes place.

    -She would be doing all the chores her mother would have probably done, and not the heaviest of the manual labor (no idea why that didn't cross my mind).

    -I had taken to consideration what the death of her mother would mean to her, but not in many other aspects. I've moved away from her being "tomboyish" to being more sullen. I like the idea of the loner somewhat: she doesn't have any friends because there really aren't that many around her, and potential companions are turned off by the dark history that surrounds the family from the mother's passing. The only reason she could be considered having "boyish" traits is that she simply couldn't fit the role of the giddy little girl; she's already too spent from the emotional toil and physically demanding work of her life.

    I'm honestly getting a lot of inspiration from the character of Arya Stark in Martin's A Game Of Thrones, though much more tone-downed.

    And Terri, I'm about as urban as they get. Don't be surprised if I randomly PM you about for descriptions and step by step things on something as simple as milking a cow.

    Also, for clarification: my description of the time frame (1930's, 18th century whatevs) was more for an idea about technology, not societal structure. There's really not going to much difference between this society and the one we have now, in terms of things like parenting and how women are viewed and such.

    Thanks everyone.
     
  10. Terri
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    Terri Senior Member

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    No prob. I'm available.
     
  11. bekajoi
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    bekajoi Senior Member

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    My daughter is approaching this age and is a tomboy who likes to dress up sometimes. She loves to climb trees, ride her bike, help out around the house... is interested deeply in writing right now, likes cooking and helping out in the kitchen while I cook... She also is "in love" with a boy who barely acknowledges her presence. She thinks about him all the time, writes about him in her notebooks. Mostly she thinks he is cute and a nice boy.

    She hates her little brother most of the time. He's easy to pick on, a sensitive boy, and she takes advantage of it. She gets angry easily and lashes out, and he's the nearest target most of the time. He cries and she yells at him for crying, etc.

    Just a few things to toss out there. ;) You can really make it whatever you want! She could be interested in boys, or girls, or nobody at all... that part won't matter until she's older either way, really.
     

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