1. Ferdinand&Alfonso
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    Ferdinand&Alfonso Member

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    Young Characters

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Ferdinand&Alfonso, Aug 15, 2012.

    I've had to be a little flexible with my age groups in one of my books because of the complicated story history. My main character is 14 years old and his flashbacks throughout the story are important to understanding the chronology of the book and its sequals. His earliest flashbacks are from when he's around 3. He's 7 when he and his friend loose their parents (his parents, his friend's adoptive parents, since his family adopted said friend). Is it unrealistic for someone to remember things like dialogue and TV programs from when they're between 3 and 5? And how unlikely is it for a pair of 7 year olds to be able to survive on the streets during a war?

    Also, I have some side characters in the same book who are 7 and 8. One of them is sort of a child genius--an unrecognized genius, but a genius none the less. The other isn't stupid, he's just a coward. They both sound older than they are, though. So far I'm working on the assumption that the 7 year old lives in his genius brother's shadow, and mimics him more than anything else when around him. How can I make them sound younger? I've never been good at it. Childlike slang? Bad grammar?
     
  2. Crystal Parney
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    Crystal Parney Member

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    Is your book a children's book? Who is your audience? I'd be careful about slang with kids as young as 7, kids that age don't seem to use slang as much as older kids. But for your main character it would definitely work. For the younger kids, depending on their environment, I'm not sure about bad grammar. You could describe their tone, the pitch of their young voices. Hope this helps some.
     
  3. Ferdinand&Alfonso
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    Ferdinand&Alfonso Member

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    It's not a children's book. I'd say it's for teens and young adults, (like most of my books) an adventure sci-fi. Most of my characters are around 14-19, with the acception of two recurring adults and 4 children between 6 and 8. My idea that the two younger ones (Cycel and Lainus) would have their own slang they use with each other, a friendly brother type thing. They're very close in the story and not very social when it comes to other people, so I can see this happening. Lainus has a condescending type tone, but that doesn't mean much because he still has the voice of an 8 year old. Cycel is a sheep more than anything else.

    Thanks for the advice. I'll look into it more.
     
  4. Blique
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    Blique New Member

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    Well, there are people who claim to remember things all the way back to the womb, if that's any reassurance. XD

    I personally remember things back when I was just a few years old, but only fragments. I started remembering things better when I was around 5. So based on my experience, I think it's reasonable for a child from 3-5 to remember fragments of conversations or snippets of TV programs. Anything more might call for a character who, by nature, is less concerned about himself and more observant of his surroundings.

    As for surviving during war...kids that age are pretty hardy from what I know, though their knowledge might be lacking. If their parents taught them what to do and what not to do when surviving on their own, they can probably pull it off pretty well (at that age, they may not know what they're doing or why they're doing it, but they'll do it nonetheless).

    For learning how kids talk, I recommend finding videos of children talking. Try writing down what they say and compare it to how adults speak.
     

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