1. J.P.Clyde

    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

    Jun 19, 2011
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    Age, Intelligence, and Mentors -Oh My

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by J.P.Clyde, Aug 30, 2011.

    I really wasn't sure where to put this. Because it partly developing siblings and a mother who gave birth to them. And it's partly just a question.

    Do you think these age gaps are ridiculous?

    From the Main character's perspective:

    13 years apart from the Eldest child

    11 years apart from the Middle child

    8 years apart from the Second youngest

    His sister's current ages are as follow:




    He is 27

    Their mother is 60 and would have had them roughly 20, 22, 25, and later on 33.

    So, why such a large gap to have the child? Did they just consider they didn't want any children any more and then they had him? I kind of would like a woman's insight in why the sudden gap.


    How do I reflect intelligence?

    The main character in this strange psychological horror slice of life finding your identity novel is a genius.

    But, what does that mean? And I cannot make him a math genius because I am not good at math. So that's out of the question.

    So, what kinds of form of intelligence are there besides a math genius? And how can I develop that into his character and into the story...well? I know there are things like a musical genius and a science genius.

    But again, what does that even mean? I understand the textbook version of what they mean. Just to the character.

    He has a few published works. But then I have to figure out his subject before I can even come up with the name.


    The last thing is he has a mentor, but even at a young age he has surpassed his mentor. Yet, he can only connect to his mentor on a level that he cannot with other people.

    But this is more development of the mentor. All though this is first person and follows 27 year old, the mentor is a very key story element. The mentor is who 27 year old goes to when he has trouble. And even clings on the mentor more when he is thrown in a mental ward.

    How can I reflect how the mentor thinks and feels?

    I was considering body language. But what kind. I already gave him a fatherly tone. But again, what is a fatherly tone? That isn't an exact emotion.


    All I am trying to do in this thread is pin point simplistic things that I am making a bit complicated at current. But kind of on purpose. I was more interested in some people's views about these common things in writing. Or I hope.

    Any assistance is nice and I will be very grateful.
  2. Hawwyboo

    Hawwyboo New Member

    Aug 28, 2011
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    1) My grandmother gave birth to my aunt when my mother was 14. My grandmother would have been 37, or thereabouts. So I wouldn't say those age gaps are ridiculous, even if they aren't very common.

    There are a multitude of reasons why a person would have a baby after so long since their last birth, but here are a few off the top of my head:

    It was an accident. The best contraception is only 99% effective. The mother could then decide to proceed with the pregnancy for a variety reasons, from ethical issues regarding the rights of the unborn foetus to simply not disliking the prospect of having another child (perhaps she could be surprised to find herself looking forward to bringing up another child?)

    You said his other siblings are sisters? Some parents may want children of both sexes. But bringing up three children is a lot of hard work, so perhaps they just weren't up to having another child just for the sake of gender variety (it seems a bit shallow after all)? The parents' confidence could have improved as their children grew older, and their old desire for another child could have re-surfaced.

    Does it have to be the same father for all four children? The mother could have separated some time after her third child, or her partner could have died, and then found a new partner who wanted to have a child with her.

    Fear of the menopause. Though people don't usually go through the menopause until their late forties/early fifties, it can occur as early as puberty.

    These reasons are a bit generic. If you come up with a detailed biography for the mother you might be able to think of a more interesting reason.

    2) Why don't you think of some famous real-life geniuses (preferably one who fits your vision of your character as closely as possible) and do some research on them? You wouldn't necessarily need to model your character around them, but you might recognise certain 'sparks' that you could portray in your character. For his key subject, for consideration you could add to your existing list:

    Philosophy (this would probably be related to a different subject, but his genius could manifest in the form of philosophy)
    Visual artistic (as opposed to musical artistic, although there's no reason why he can't be both)
    General logic (Chess champion?)

    You could simply make him an expert in one or two obscure subjects. Like some sub-sub-branch of minerology, or something.

    3) If it were me I'd give the mentor a very melancholy aura. He'd be nurturing (otherwise he wouldn't be a very good mentor) and proud, but also sad, both because in his protege he sees everything he could have been but has not become, and also because he knows his protege has difficulty relating to anyone else, and will soon have difficulty relating to his mentor as he becomes more and more intelligent. As the genius protege's knowledge and such improves, his relationship with the mentor becomes more strained, and with it his best link with the rest of the world is gradually broken.

    That's only my interpretation, though, it might not work at all in the context of your story.
  3. Lost_in_Thought

    Lost_in_Thought New Member

    Jul 4, 2011
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    I use to live in a Igloo, but it melted :)
    The age differences are much but it wouldn't be blink at in my family
    My older half brother is five years older then me (my mom had him at a really young age)
    Then I'm older then my other brother by 3 1/2 years
    My twin brothers are 9 so I'm six years older then them
    then I'm 8 years older then my sister
    Then my youngr half brother is 14 years younger then me.
    So for my family large age diffrences isn't a big deal, but there's also kids inbetween
    I also have a 14 year old friend that was an only child untill she was 12 or 13.
    These days age gaps are more common then one thinks like look at the simpsons lisa and bart are 8 and 10 but maggie(the baby) is like at most a year old.
    But it also depends on the common marrying age at the time and the culture of the family. Like if this family was from a 3rd world country the mother would most likely have more kids at a younger age (like 14) but in the richest countries of the world this would be considered a large family and she would have married very young (more and more people are marry at age 30). And if the time period was like the middle ages she would marry at about sixteen and try to have many kids (also depends on the wealth in the family [more wealth less kids])
    But on the family matters thats your choice.

    There are many forms of intelligence. Like someone of great intelligence of one topic but is treated like a fool because he's not intelligent at anything else. Like an athlete can know how to play sports very well and know al the moves and angles to get the perfect basket and know strategy very well in foot ball. Thats a kind of great intelligence that many people and many athletes don't have. But if he can't write or read his great intel on sports is forgotten. Does it mean hes not intelligent? no. Infact the are so many ays to be a genius that I can't explain it all, and no one really can. But he can't be a genius at everything, that a rule. If you watched the Big Bang Therory (a hilarious TV show by the way) you would know what I mean. Sheldon (the star and reason of the show) Is good at practally everything to do with science math and all short of academic stuff. Yet he has no idea how to be social or truelly creative (even though he thinks he is)
    And no genius is perfect, ever single one of them have to practice hard.Foot ball players have to run to stay in shape, writers have to write to get any better and to stay a good write. and ever pianist had to do skales over and over again,and has to practice the same song over and over again. No one is perfectly good at one thing and no one is perfect at everthing.

    Now for the guys mentor, if you want him to have a fathery tone, but what kind of fathery tone. There is the middle eastren tone that is stirct and often mean, the easy going what ever type, something inbetween those two, or even an akward almost like fathery yet the mentor doesn't see himself that way, or it can me something completely different. Any way you want to protray him as can affect his body language. Draw from your own fatherly experances as well. And if your planing to do you by this person's point of veiw and are struggling wih how to show his feelings then read any book that is in first person or is narrated by a charater of the story, those would help get some ideas on how to do this.

    But all in all its your story so write on what feels best to you. (and you don't have to be a mathmatical genius to write about one)

    oh and sorry for the rambling
  4. J.P.Clyde

    J.P.Clyde Prince of Melancholy Contributor

    Jun 19, 2011
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    The father thing is interesting. I never put the father in the formula only the mother.


    Yeah, I was kind of considering an artistic musical genius type of person. He explores and sees details in the world that others cannot see. I'm start to realize the things he notices is the way he pictures the world. All the things that I had dreams about when it came to him were in his perspective. So it's like he finds these things in our society that no one else cannot see. And can make connections that they cannot.

    Things we would consider controversial at times, he can see them clearly in the world. He's both jaded from people because some people think he's completely wrong with the way people paint the world. And there are the very few who want to be unique individuals so they agree to look smart.

    Maybe an artistic philosopher. But something about details and reading people and the society built. Which makes connections very difficult.


    Interesting idea about the mentor.
  5. mammamaia

    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

    Nov 21, 2006
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    Coquille, Oregon
    i have 7 children ages 52, 51, 50, 49, 48, 40, and 34... i was barely 20 when i had the first, pushing 40 when i had the last... you do the math!
  6. Mr What

    Mr What New Member

    Aug 8, 2009
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    1) My grandmother's six children range from 56 to 32 and she didn't start until she was in her mid-20s. So no, that's not unrealistic or implausible (particularly prior to the 70s/80s/90s when women having careers and children was less common). There are plenty of feasible explanations as to why that would happen, to finances, miscarriages, gender, contraception failure, religious duty, new marriages, father in the military/gaol/a job that keeps him away from home for extended periods with few chances for procreation inbetween, multiple fathers/multiple partners, general promiscuity and so forth. Be creative and knock yourself out.

    2) On the 'what he does' thing I'm not much help besides saying genius is often specialised. On how to convey it, if you are telling it in first person as you suggest in (3) then try utilising vocabulary, attitudes, and thought behaviour (bad phrasing, it's late - for example if he's prone to be erratic or panicing, convey that by using a series of short simple sentences (or long ones) to convey his thought patterns/processes. If he's delusional, have him trail off into some kind of delusional observation etc.

    3 Have your character observe his body language, his tone, and so forth. Perhaps in dialogue have other people express his ongoing concern via his communcations to them (bad example: Mom screamed down the phone 'and can you tell your mentor to stop calling me, it's not like I have a better clue of what's going on with you then he does')

    Hope that garble makes sense.

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