1. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    Writing about young adults

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Patrick94, May 3, 2011.

    Anything I should know about adults between the ages of 21 and 25? Based on present day. What's their mindset on life? How mature are they? Stuff like that
     
  2. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    That's a bit too wide... and very possibly impossible to answer. People are way too different. I'm in that age range. Is there something more specific you want to know?
     
  3. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    Well, have you changed much since your teens? Even, - have you matured since your teens? I'm not saying this as in you were specifically immature as a teenager, just a general question, as I'm a teenager
     
  4. WastelandSurvivor
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    WastelandSurvivor Member

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    I am also in that age group but I do not exactly fit in with the people I went to school with--I don't party, I don't drink, I don't make incredibly ill-informed decisions and I don't go to college. That said, I feel that I have matured since I was a teenager but it was mostly due to starting my career early and training in martial arts. I will say that I'm still a dork, but I don't think you really "outgrow" being a dork. When I look back on my teenage years I think of how stupid I was and how I could have done things so much better, but at the time I was still doing better than most people my age in regards to working and managing money.
     
  5. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    where?... young people in ireland aren't exactly like those in the us or canada...
     
  6. Melzaar the Almighty
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    Melzaar the Almighty Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'd say generally there is the *expectation* to be mature, and it weighs on us differently. Some fall right into it, some struggle along and pretend and stress about it, and others feel its weight and go along or ignore it where it's easier/harder, while others out and out refuse to acknowledge it. It's different from being a teenager when most people except the most conscientious don't even worry about too many responsibilities. It's too hard to talk generally about any, of course, and the process isn't an overnight recovery from being a teenager, and there are always a million types of exceptions. This is just from people watching and growing up myself, rather than any study on changing behavioural patterns. :p

    Personally, I judge my maturity by my writing, rather than anything else, since it's the most consistent part of my character. I'd say the greatest jump occurred when I was 16/17 and though I'm always getting better, the stuff I've done in the last couple of years, since being at university and stuff, though technically better and often better presented blah blah blah, hasn't ever had the same emotional maturity jump as I did back when I was a teenager. So in my personal experience I did my emotional growing as a teen and have been pretty static so far between ages 20-21. And I'm still only just there, so I can't tell you about after that. :p
     
  7. writingsoccermom
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    writingsoccermom New Member

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    How a young adult grew up defines them more than anything. Where they grew up. The financial situation the family was in. Suburbs or inner city.

    You have to define the mc's up-bringing to define the mc.
     
  8. lilix morgan
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    lilix morgan Contributing Member

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    Exactly what Maia said. The viewpoints of a young adult in the US will be highly different than those of, say, Japan, or New Zealand.

    A few others have mentioned that their social standing will also play a factor. Obviously not everyone adheres to the standard mold of a place (i.e. a farmer's daughter being an old-fashioned young adult working outside the city, a city-dweller being a fast-paced individual) but if you're looking for a generalization, you have to start at the heart of it all and branch out from there.
     
  9. Froggy
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    Froggy Member

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    From what I've seen with my friends and myself - early 20s people think they have it all figured out and how grown up they finally are (I'd guess that would be even more so in the states where 21 is the big age) and then towards 23-25ish they go out and finally figure out they're not quite all that yet - which is a fair bit more mature than thinking you are...
     
  10. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    To be honest, I think I've changed disappointingly little since my teens. I mean, I've traveled a lot, studied abroad, studied a lot and experienced true heartache. Yet right now I still find myself in the same position I did when I left home at 18. In my parent's basement playing KH2... and I've barely done anything since I finished my abroad studies before Christmas. The only thing that makes me think I'm more mature is that now I find myself slightly pathetic.

    To the point, I think you can safely make any character you're planning any way you want them to be. Not to discourage you, but since you're a teenager, your story will most likely not get anywhere until you are older anyway :p
     
  11. teacherayala
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    teacherayala Contributing Member

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    Agree that it depends on your upbringing and geographical location.

    However, as a college student, I was surprised at how much I grew up academically and socially. Things go by so fast. Relationships develop fast, break up seemingly just as fast. I always felt a little outside of things socially because of the way I grew up. People around me seemed rather carefree and happy, partying and easily making friends. I was very focused on my academics and a close-knit group of friends. Now that I'm married and have a daughter, I'm amazed at the liberty I had to make abrupt decisions. I moved to another country by the time I was 23, despite not having family there. I traveled a bit on my own as well by then--going to Costa Rica and Peru. I learned Spanish by the time I was around 24, and had met my husband at 25. I was married by 26 and had my daughter when I was 28.

    I was perhaps slightly naive going into my marriage, but I definitely felt ready and old enough--like I had already enjoyed plenty of freedom and looking around. I had a steady job and had paid off some debt by then...

    I find that the kids coming out of my international school are more globally-aware, and more mature in terms of understanding the impact of individual decisions within that global framework. On that end they're more mature. They also begin drinking, in my opinion, at a very young age here in Panama, some are more mature in their approach than others. Most take the responsibility of college quite seriously.

    Oh, yes, and my relationship with my parents also changed. I was given more freedom at my house when I came home from college--I stayed out later and went out frequently. It was a stage of growing independence, and I would grow easily bored at home. I looked for friends to hang out with, and I even went on a few road trips just for fun.

    Don't know if this answers your question...
     
  12. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm well past both age groups. But some random thoughts anyway:

    - A teenager often has someone around to perform small rescues - to make sure they get up on time, get to work, get to class, have money in their pocket, don't get stranded downtown without a ride home, and so on. There's less of this for a young adult, though I'd bet that a lot of twentysomethings can still call Mom and say, "Uh, I'm a little short on the rent this month... any chance of a loan?" But making sure that you have clean socks, that you mail off your bills, that you get to work on time, that you clean the kitchen before your roommate loses his temper and throws your dishes out the window, is now your problem.

    - As long as you're in school, and being at least partially supported by your parents, your work and accomplishments are largely about you and developing yourself. Sure, you have to get your schoolwork done, and done to someone else's standards, but the purpose of that schoolwork is still to benefit _you_. And, sure, you may have a part-time job where your boss doesn't much care if you live or die, but your parents and teachers still care. As soon as you get a full-time job, the main work hours of your life are not about you any longer, they're about your employer.

    Now, of course there are exceptions in both directions - teens who have been supporting themselves by working since they were fourteen, and young adults who've managed to find a job that lets them exercise their talents and continue to develop themselves. But I still think there can be a bit of a jolt in adjusting to a situation where the authority figures around you are not all that interested in your personal development.

    ChickenFreak
     
  13. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    Would it be unrealistic to have around six people between the ages of 21 - 25 living happily, independently + good jobs in/around the city?
     
  14. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    given how many people live in a city, why wouldn't a mere 6 of them fit that description?
     
  15. spklvr
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    spklvr Contributing Member Contributor

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    However, I think they'd either have to be very intelligent and graduated from a great college or have wealthy influential parents (at least if they have a high living standard. It kind of sounded like it from what you said for some reason). Sadly, it's almost impossible for the average person to live like that straight out of college.
     
  16. Patrick94
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    Patrick94 Active Member

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    Six close knitted friends (think of, well, Friends)
     
  17. Lankin
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    Lankin Member

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    Well, it depends on where you set the story, and for which readership it is planned. Depending on that, a story doesn't have to be plausible or realistic. Highly successful tv-series are based on "teenagers" or "adults" you hardly encounter like that in real life.

    I am past both age-groups, and there are certain things that are changing.
    In Germany, between 21 and 25 of age, you either work already or you go to university. So, dependant on your education you make a lot of different experiences during that time. Most university students work to finance their living. (I mostly did that with night-shifts.)

    What really changes during your life at that point is that after you finish school you are forced to part with old friends, and all of a sudden meet many others. It broadens your horizon, significantly. Also, starting university you might feel a little lost as there is nothing you already know to depend upon. A new town, new people, a new flat, trouble with the landlord maybe, all in addition to your actual studies. The first friends you are making will maybe not be the ones who stay friends, and some people you disliked from the start may turn out to be your friends for eternity.

    A very interesting time.

    Another thing changes as well. You mostly leave home in that time period the latest, which means that the influence your parents are having decreases. You are getting more independent, which is a part of growing up. You have taken some crucial and hard decisions already that will affect all your future life -- where you work, or what you study.

    Oh and at that age, as at every age really, you like sex. A lot. You have a room of your own, your parents are not there any more to spread concern and opinions on what you're doing. This is not only a font of joy, but can also be the exact opposite. In general, people over twenty are better informed and have a little more distance on the subject of sex, as the phase is over where the mere mentioning of boobs makes you blush.

    Well, I'm not sure if that was helpful, and I know the thread is rather old. Anyhow, maybe it helps.
     
  18. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    This ^

    Times are hard right now with jobs and such. It's hard to begin with but the economy tanking in the U.S. has just made things more difficult. Hell, people of all ages are feeling it right now.

    As for if I'm different than I was as a teen- I'm very different. I had a spinal tumor that's left me with nerve damage, chronic pain, and I will always have to monitor it. It really depends on where the person is and what they've been through. Everyone is different but things like that have a major bearing on their personality. I've met a lot of over privileged, super sheltered, young adults that act like fifteen year olds.
     
  19. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm confused. I realize that this is a resurrected thread, but the poster just said "...living happily, independently + good jobs in/around the city...". There was no mention of penthouses or Ferraris. It's certainly not that unusual for someone under age 25 to have a job and be able to pay their rent. I understand that in this economy there are plenty of people who are struggling to accomplish that, but that doesn't actually make an employed twentysomething a rarity that would be unrealistic in a novel.
     
  20. TerraIncognita
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    TerraIncognita Aggressively Nice Person Contributor

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    *facepalm* I didn't realize this was an old thread. I just assumed it was new because there were fresh posts in it. :/
     

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