1. feathers
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    feathers New Member

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    Young Child Characters - Questions - Help me, please!

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by feathers, Aug 7, 2011.

    Hello!
    This is my first post here, so I thought I'd shoot right off the bat with my main problem in my writing/characters at the moment, and it's basically the decision between whether or not I want my single-mother-MC's child to be male or female.

    I began the plot outline/sketches/drafts ect with the idea of the child, aged six-ish, as a little girl, starting out life much like her mother - fatherless, yet wide eyed, independent and entirely observant.
    I had the intentions of exploring the bonds, not so much between mother and daughter, but between daughter and father - or lack thereof, thus creating the want for a fatherly figure.
    The Mother and child's lives are an eclectic mesh of 'make the best of everything' and 'what could possibly go wrong now?'

    I am also focussing most, if not all, of my narration from male POVs - one observing the single-family, and the other absentee Dad and his feelings towards the 'family duties'; so you could say that the varying ideas and ideals of masculinity are a pretty big 'thing' in my plot.

    So I was drafting away, when it occurred to me, that I never considered the option of the little girl to be, well, a little boy instead.
    I've never written children before, nor have I read many books with small children characters or family themes, so it's a new frontier that I want to tackle, and tackle well!

    I'm also worrying that I was putting the little girl into too much of a 'pigeon-hole' where she's just a typical little girl, and she was becoming obnoxious (to me, and I'm meant to like her!)

    Long story short - I would love to know your opinions on which following scenario would appeal more on an emotional level to a reader, or maybe have more of a relation to the ideas of masculinity:
    A) a little boy that wants to keep his mum safe; trying to suss out his own place in the world whilst finding a (fatherly) man to emulate, as his own is absent

    OR

    B) a little girl that strengthens her mother and feels no connection to her 'real' dad as he's been absent for many years, and when he is around, regularly lets her and her mother down; she yearns to be in a normal house with a normal Dad - just like all the other girls she knows.

    (Also to add, I'm pulling most of the child's internal thoughts about single-parent-family-life from my own experiences - so it's not like I'm 'inexperienced' with the emotions the child will be feeling - it's just, which is going to appeal to an audience without becoming too 'cliche' or obnoxious-cookie-cutter-kid?)

    Thanks in advance!
     
  2. Sundae
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    Sundae Contributing Member

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    You're breaking one of rules. You're the writer, YOU decide what direction your story should go. Hell, even if the direction you went turns out to be the less appealing version, guess what? You're a magician in the form of a writer, make it appealing.

    Anyways, all I will say is that both of your scenarios are cliche and have been done to death. But that doesn't mean you can't take cliched idea and make it unique. You decide.
     
  3. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with Sundae that you should make this decision yourself. It is your story, and each choice leads to a somewhat different variation.

    However, there is no such thing as a cliche story idea. All ideas, especially in such general terms, have been done before, again and again and again.

    A cliche is a word or phrase that has been overused to the extent that it has lost all impact or even meaning. However, the meaning supplied from a story concept is how that concept is born in the process of developing it into a full story.
     
  4. proserpine
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    proserpine Member

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    I agree with the above posts. It is your choice, just make the choice that works with your plot. Surely, one of the options will make the character the person you are looking for them to be.

    Also, try to think outside gender biases. Who says a little girl can't be protective of her mother, or that a little girl wouldn't try to emulate a father figure? Maybe he/she wants her family to be like a neighbors/storybook one, and lives mostly in his/her head? Children are little people, and at least as complex as adults.
     
  5. AxleMAshcraft
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    AxleMAshcraft Member

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    Maybe a little girl that struggles with not being like all the other little girls who wear pink dresses and frilly hair clips.
    If no one knew any better when I was a kid, they would have said I was a boy. but it was because I was constantly trying to keep up with my older brother.
    Or a little boy with the openness and outward love that is often tacked on a little girl?

    I like the idea of trying to blur societies steriotypes, I feel like it would make a strong point if this "confusion" was portrayed as a young child. Sort of a "this is the way things are when a household isn't 'average'".

    In other words, I agree with just about everyone else haha
     
  6. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    Contrarily:

    A little _girl_ that wants to keep her mum safe; trying to suss out her own place in the world while rejecting the abandoned-helpless-woman role model of her mother. She wants to be non-emotional and strong and able to take care of herself, and she looks to men, not women, as role models.

    ChickenFreak
     

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