1. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    YA fantasy love interest

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Lea`Brooks, Apr 1, 2015.

    Yo. :superhello:

    I have a YA fantasy I'm working on. My MC is a 17yo female. And I came up with an idea for her love interest. However, he's in his mid-20s. And I'm worried that won't go over well in a YA book. My story is a high fantasy, so the teens are put to work at a younger age than now. They're almost forced to be more "adult" than the modern teen. So to me, it isn't a big deal. But I'd hate to finish the book only to have problems with it later.

    Do you think the age difference would be a problem? I could change the MC's age, but then I'd have to change a lot of stuff about the story. Her caretaker, friends, and the back story would all have to be adjusted to fit. And I'd really rather not do that. I could nix the love interest with this certain person, but I think it adds a lot to the story. I could give her a different, younger love interest, but I don't really have a place for such a character, and I'd have to do more rearranging.

    So whatcha think? Change it? Leave it? Take it out completely? Thanks.:blowkiss:
     
  2. ZYX
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    ZYX Member

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    Yikesky, that's a tough problem. I'd say the age of consent needs to be 16 or 17 so legally within the world it's okay. If possible, I'd drop his age down to like 22 / 23 or just early twenties unless it will interfere with it.

    Otherwise, I think the biggest issue with age gaps is the power / experience differences, so if their initial relationship has a hierarchy that places him on top that could be an issue. It would also be an issue if he's been in more serious relationships or whatever, too.

    May I ask how they know each other and if the relationship is sexual ?
     
  3. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    To make a long story short: she becomes Queen, and he's one of her advisers.

    I hadn't initially even planned for a romance with him. I knew I wanted a romance. I just didn't know with who. Then I created his character, and for some reason, it just seemed right. I had planned for him to be around 24-25, very serious (being in a position of power and all), but also very kind.

    My MC is going to be in love with a bad guy for the entire story. This older guy is going to be there the whole time, supporting her and guiding her and whatnot. She's going to be attracted to him and recognize his interest in her. But because she's so in love with this other dude, nothing is really going to be "final" with them until the end. Nothing sexual is going to happen between the MC and either of the guys.
     
  4. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I think it might be a bit weird to transport our ideas of age and maturity to a fantasy setting. I mean, assuming you're doing a vaguely medieval thing, as so much fantasy is, I think you should consider that women were considered adults and married much earlier in the medieval period than today. So a seventeen year old would probably already be considered an adult, in which case the love wouldn't be too inappropriate, right?
     
  5. kfmiller
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    kfmiller Active Member

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    When I was a teen I knew other girls who dated guys in their 20s. I don't think you need to adjust the age to fit into our "real world" social construct- and even today it happens all the time. For a flip-side to it my 24 year old brother-in-law recently dated an 18 year old and we all thought it wouldn't work because he is a master's student and she hasn't even graduated high school yet (some weird situation why). Low and behold- he ended it.

    plus like @BayView pointed out if you're writing fantasy I can't see it being as much of a problem especially since this notion of 16 or 17 year olds can't date anyone over 18 is a relatively recent thing.
     
  6. live2write
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    live2write Contributing Member

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    Okay so let me as you this. When you were younger, where there any idols that you had a fan crush on that were older than you. Most people would say yes. Technically it is somewhat taboo for a girl under 18 to be dating someone who is older. Especially in high school and with the statute of limitations. However, it is high fantasy, and reality is pretty skewed. If something is fiction it becomes more if a "could be life story". Fantasy/science fiction however can bend the rules a bit because it is not like our world but could be something so obscure. Now, anything to do with realistic taboo that could be criminal would make your reader and possibly your publisher's blood boil and steam coming out of their ears. (more of taboo young as in a child not a late teenager) that innocence seems too graphic. Some cultures have taboos like young marriage, but they have changed for modern days. You can reflect on the past but not the present.
     
  7. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Sounds like in your setting and world it'd be just fine. Don't see a problem in that. :) I actually started to wonder why she doesn't see she's in love with a bad guy while the good, perfect guy is right there next to her? :p

    Here's an interesting blog post about "Creepy marriages" in the Middle Ages. The site contains a collection of interesting posts by a medieval hobbyist (who mentions as her study of interest Medieval literature), actually.
     
    Last edited: Apr 2, 2015
  8. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Thanks everyone! That's all very good news, and I'm glad I don't have to change anything. :superagree:

    When I was 17, I dated a 27 year old. :supergrin: So to me, it isn't weird at all. But I hadn't read too many books (except one) where a character under 18 dated a person over 20, so I just didn't know the "rules." I know that in Pride & Prejudice, the youngest sister was 15 when she ran away and eloped with an older guy. The book doesn't really say how old he is, but I'm sure he's at least in his 20s. So I guess it happens, huh?

    My world actually isn't set in the medieval times! :cheerleader: I read how most fantasy books go there, and I definitely didn't want to follow the crowd. The world is mostly inspired by the turn of the 19th century, but I guess the best reference is Hunger Games. There are parts of the world that have no technology and no electricity. But then there are a few towns that are very modern, with electricity and gadgets and all that fun stuff.

    So yes. All good stuff. :supersmile: I was worried I'd have to make some major changes, and I've worked so hard to get to where I am now. lol Thanks all!:blowkiss:
     
  9. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    When I was a teen/pre-teen, I read a lot of pony books. Usually the heroine was about 14-16 and she always fell in love with an older guy who was like in his early to mid twenties. I didn't realize how creepy that was until I was something like 23 myself and went to teach in a high school. One day a group of girls remarked I look about 16 -- their age. But there would've been no freaking way I would've dated a 16yo! The idea of it felt like hooking up with a kid.
     
  10. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    Is this a period piece set in a different time or world? if so then the readers are much more forgiving of the age gaps. Think of books series like Song of Ice and Fire or anything by Ken Follett. Those all have relationships that include younger and older partners, some are positive, some are negative but the reader accepts them as natural.

    If this is set in present day, then you will be held more rigidly to the moral standards of today. Yeah its not fair, but its how people are.
     
  11. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    I don't see a problem with the age difference...I'm 6 years older than my wife, my son's 10 years older than his wife, my daughter's 7 years older than her husband...

    The problem that I see is a 25-year old in the position of adviser to a monarch. Typically, an adviser would be much older than mid-twenties and have had a successful career, usually as a warrior in any sort of semi-medieval setting. OK, Cardinal Wolsey hadn't been a warrior, but he had served a very long time before reaching his level of power.
     
  12. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    @KaTrian I completely agree! I'm 26 now and couldn't imagine dating someone still in high school. Not so much because of the age difference, but because of the maturity level. Someone in high school is likely to be very immature, and I just couldn't handle that. Also to answer your earlier question, which I forgot to address, she doesn't know he's a bad guy right away. He's a bad guy pretending to be good, but by the time she figures out he's bad, she's so in love with him that she goes along with it for a while until eventually leaving him and getting with homeboy. :-D

    @wellthatsnice Nope, not a period piece. :bigsmile: Strictly fantasy. Made up world, made up magical creatures. I've read the Songs of Ice and Fire series, so I know that huge age gaps happen in books, but I didn't know if it was frowned upon in young adult.

    @Shadowfax I'm sure I'll figure out some reason for him being so young.... lol But I think my brain is currently broken because I'm having a hard time coming up with anything at the moment. :bigtongue:

    I may consider bumping her age up to 19... That's not too much different really.. Then I can avoid the whole thing, and up the age of her love interest so it makes more sense with him being an adviser.... But then it wouldn't really fit into Young Adult anymore, would it?

    Oh, poo. :supersleepy: My brain has shut off. lol I'll think about it more later.
     
  13. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    Do you have to be so precise about her age at all? That might be sort of a societal thing - we measure people's lives from birth in THIS world, but maybe in hers they don't keep close track, or have some sort of ritual re-birth at puberty or when they kill their first Quarzog or phlome the Elkergi for the first time. Or whatever. It might be easier to be a little vague, is what I'm saying.
     
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  14. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I originally was going to point out that she's the youngest Queen to ever been Queen (there isn't a royal lineage in my world -- the queens are "chosen").... But I guess that isn't really necessary when I really think about it. I may just go the vague route! Who cares, right? :)
     
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  15. Lemon flavoured
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    Lemon flavoured Active Member

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    17 would be considered a bit old to still be single in some medieval societies, especially for someone who might become queen.
     
  16. Shadowfax
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    Shadowfax Contributing Member Contributor

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    Harold Godwinsson, loser of the Battle of Hastings, had no claim to the throne by lineage, he was selected by the Witenagemot to succeed Edward the Confessor to the throne. He did, however, come with a powerful Earldom to support him, and a family in other positions of power, so the selection process wasn't entirely because he was a nice guy.

    And William, winner of Hastings, based his claim on the (alleged) fact that Edward had promised the throne to him (a promise he had no right to make, given the role of the Witenagemot) and that Harold had sworn on oath (made under duress) to support his claim.
     
  17. ZYX
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    You can probably do both and just never say how old she is outside of "younger than all the other queens".
     
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  18. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    She is a super young person who was selected to be queen which would mean that she is incredibly gifted beyond her years (no line of succession). That simple fact alone would help you get past the maturity issue. She clearly would not relate to people in her own social age group and would relate more to someone older.

    I will say in a novel about royalty or politics the line of succession or how the characters come to power tend to be very important to the readers immersion in the story. Dont be to vague or you may find that people have issue's accepting the world that you have created. People also tend to be very interested in these types of stories, hence the popularity of House of Cards, GoT, Downton Abbey. Don't lose and opportunity to add depth, particularly in an area that has proved popular with audiences.
     
  19. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Hmmm...young, teen,girl becomes queen and has romantic relationship with older man. Isn't this done in Game of Thrones and a thousand other stories? Definitely nothing out of the norm in your genre.
     
  20. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    Cliches are cliches for a reason. :superwink:
     
  21. wellthatsnice
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    wellthatsnice Active Member

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    Yeah, Danny is 13 when she marries Drago...and then has a sex scene. so clearly people are ok with it as long as you make sure to explain that in the society it is the norm. Heck, 90% of the people having sex in GoT are young teens.
     
  22. Lea`Brooks
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    Lea`Brooks Contributing Member Contributor

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    I wasn't questioning whether it happened in books. I've seen in happen plenty of times. I was worried about putting huge age differences in a Young Adult book. GoT is an adult series. Adults know that's not okay. But I was worried putting a teenager dating a man in his twenties would make an actual teenager think, "Well, it's in a book. That MUST mean I can do it!"

    So I think I'm just going to do the vague route. Her age isn't actually important, and neither is his really.

    I'm actually considering just making it an adult book and keeping her age the same. When I really start thinking about it, the second book (or at least the end of the first) may have some pretty adult themes. So I'll just write it and worry about the age group later.
     

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