1. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    Writing from the POV of a child (13 y/o)

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by doggiedude, Mar 13, 2016.

    One of my characters is introduced to the story when she is 8 years old. I tried to write a scene from her perspective and gave up. Later on in the novel she is now 13 and I really need to start using her POV because by the end of the story she will be an adult and these views will become relevant.
    Having never been a 13 year old girl I'm unsure if the scene I've written so far is realistic. I don't want her to come off as a giggling mindless child nor do I want her to be one of these magically genius children that far too many books feature. She just needs to be maybe an above average intelligence & social awkward. Other than that just an average kid.

    Any suggestions? Words of advice? Bland comments?
    Anyone with a better clue that would like to review a short scene for verisimilitude? (In a private message I don't want any of this work posted publicly yet.)
     
  2. King Arthur
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    King Arthur Banned

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    I don't see the problem with writing a 13 year old as a slightly less verbose and talented adult.
     
  3. Wayjor Frippery
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    Wayjor Frippery Contributing Member

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    Hi doggiedude, do you have or do you know anyone with teenage daughters? Hang out and observe (within the bounds of the possible and the decent, of course).

    Teenagers tend to be very self-centred. Not necessarily in an arrogant way. It's just that at 13 year olds tend to see the world through the prism of their own experiences much more intensely than adults. They tend to lack a developed/sophisticated sense of empathy. Teenage girls are often very self-aware in the sense of their own social standing among their peers while at the same time unaware of how the wider society views their peer group, and even 'outsiders' tend to be part of an 'outsiders' tribe.

    These are all sweeping generalizations of course, but maybe you can pick something out of them.

    I'm no expert, but I've done some teaching in my time and seen herds of them grazing in their natural habitat.
     
  4. BoddaGetta
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    BoddaGetta Active Member

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    To Kill a Mockingbird has a great example of a young female protagonist dealing with situations that are more mature [racism, rape etc]. She isn't a giggly, stereotypical young girl, nor is she brilliant or can understand the magnitude behind every event around her.

    Unfortunately I wouldn't be the best for advice because luckily I was a 13 year old girl at one point, so I have memories as fallback and reference.

    Maybe skim through some books that feature 13 year old girls that are considered well-written? I know it wouldn't be the most entertaining of reads, but approach it like you're reading a Wiki article for research :p
     
  5. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    You were a 13-year-old boy, I assume - I think that's pretty useful background to draw on.

    Unless you're writing a very girly-girl character, you don't need to go overboard worrying about the different sex. Just write a compelling 13-year-old, and treat her sex as just one aspect of her personality.
     
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  6. LostThePlot
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    LostThePlot Contributing Member

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    You can pull it off no problems.

    I would say don't make her socially awkward. That's just not who kids are. Unless she's a genuine loner (ie she chooses that) all kids have some friends and around those friends they are going to be mostly comfortable. The really defining feature of teenagers is that they act differently around different people. Around your friends you want to look cool and grown up, around boys you want to be interesting even you probably won't be at that age, around teachers you don't want to get in trouble, around other adults you want to be on their level, with parents there's a bunch of back and forth. The point is that depending on your point of view all teenagers are socially awkward or none of them are but the truth is that they are always worried about how people see them and, in short, trying to pretend they are rather more grown up than they are.

    What I'm trying to say is don't pathologise the fact that she's a teenager. She's always going to be awkward around some people, around others she's going to be happy and comfortable. Just let it be that.
     
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  7. doggiedude
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    doggiedude Contributing Member

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    I didn't mean to say that she's overly socially awkward, that's actually something that's more in her own head. She's living in an environment with limited physical access to other kids her own age (only 90 children of all ages) but does have post modern internet type interaction with others back on Earth (She's on a habitat in orbit around Earth.) She also has a disease that makes her feel like an outcast around other people. Her father has the same disease in a much more advanced stage so she's growing up knowing what's going to happen to her.
     
  8. Heck
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    Heck New Member

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    I have one of these living in my house. 13 year old girls think they are the shit (13 year olds in general do), except 13 year old girls are really smart. Not wise, just really clever. While some 13 year olds don't excel socially, their "I am the shit" attitude is put into their passions. 13 year olds are self centered, but not aware that they are. They don't take into consideration the feelings of others when they want something and they aren't afraid to test the waters of authority in order to get it. A 13 year old expects others to consider her feelings, but not necessarily their own. The concept of "compromise" is vague, and feelings are much more likely to escalate past rationalization --to a point where what their arguing about doesn't even make sense to... well, you know, us. But especially teenage girls need to feel appreciated and valued buy the adults, because inside, they are adults. They will find new an innovative ideas and say "Look, look at this, adults! This is amazing, isn't it?" When it may be a mediocre idea at best, it is thought up in this burning passion to be respected as the shit. As a 13 year old, being treated like an adult is the best thing you could ever want (Except without the adult life. Win!). All 13 year old girls want and think they can change the world somehow in some way, even if it is minor. The cool thing is that some actually do.

    As they get older, they start thinking about all the possible outcomes of their actions, and then that's when the "I'm the shit" spark starts to fade away and they start thinking very logically about all decisions.

    Yes, I am a girl, in case this sounded weird. The 13 year old is at school trying to get the 8th graders to boycott a dance because the school can't afford to separate the 5th and 8th grade dances --which is going to raise money for all the 8th graders to go on a trip. But not anymore because who wants to go to a dance with 5th graders ewwww
     

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