1. Justin Rocket 2

    Justin Rocket 2 Contributing Member

    Jun 13, 2013
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    Young adult characters and drawing on one's life experiences

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Justin Rocket 2, Apr 9, 2016.

    I've really been digging into how to create and write good characters. A friend recently told me that he thought my characters were a bit flat, so I'm trying to change that.

    A lot of books on young adult characters talk about the author trying to remember what they were like as teens. But, I really feel that my youth was pretty far beyond what the typical experience of teen males is. My dad was schizophrenic violent and unreliable, my mom blind and deaf, I was raised in an extremely fundamentalist cult (church and school) as a closeted gay kid, etc. So, I worry if I can connect to the average teen male.

    So, what do I do?
  2. Lalochezia

    Lalochezia Member

    Aug 26, 2015
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    Bay Area, CA

    Sounds like you have some pretty damn interesting experiences to draw from.

    I don't want to read about average, mundane lives. I want to read stuff like the above (generally).

    Worst case, you would still be surprised how many people have similar experiences. Maybe not everyone is raised in a "cult" but oppresive religious views are common enough.

    Roll with it. I'd read it.
  3. Kinzvlle

    Kinzvlle Active Member

    Mar 5, 2016
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    PA, USA
    Putting you're experiences and such into a work is a good idea, and sometimes they`ll even leak in regardless, they ferment in the same brain as the story after all. Also like above I think you may be underestimating how common rocky adolescents actually are. Maybe not specifically the same but fundelminst families and communities are rather common as are parental issues spawning from disabilities, mental illness, and etc. I myself grew up closeted in a rural rather Christian redneck ish area so while i`m sure there`s some striking differences between that and a cult the main theme of hiding something fundamental about yourself due to bigotry and ignorance brought on by a certain set of beliefs, still resonates. Even if the specifics are different certain things would still be relatable to people. You're characters don't even need to have the same specifics background as you but similar would work just as well or maybe even better depending on what fits best into the story and how comfortable you are writing about you're experiences. Maybe if you can`t or don`t want to fit in a cult type element, you could do a very stern Christian family or a catholic school.

    Don`t turn the chars fully into a bio of yourself though. Haveing some autobiographic elements are ok, and can work out rather well but in genrel, it`s good to remember they are there own characters and this isn`t a biography or a memoir.

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