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Kreschyboy
October 3rd, 2005, 10:44 PM
I was looking through the thread "age labeling in novels" i ran across merancapeman saying:


Oh... I thought this was a thread about the age of the CHARACTERS in the books...

*turns around and heads back out.
I thought it was a good question. Does anyone find it easier to write with the main character being an adult vs. being a teenager? Two very different fantasy series i have read use different types of main characters. Terry Goodkind's sword of truth series (of which i am a huge fan) is written with Richard, a grown man, as the main character. Whereas Eragon, (one of my inspirations to begin writing, seeing as how the author was 19 or so when he wrote it) had the main character being Eragon, a teenager. About my age in the first book i believe.

I personally find it easier to write about teenagers, seeing as how i am one, but i have tried to write short stories about adults. Writing from a different gender? beyond me, i'm sorry.

What do you guys think?

JamesL
October 4th, 2005, 11:31 AM
Eragon...you mention the author that created this character was only 19...was this Anselm Audley by any chance, or am I mistaken? If it was him, it's the first time I've actually seen someone make a reference to his books on this site!

As for your question, it's an interesting one. Most of the main characters I've created in my time seem to be aged in their early-to-mid twenties, which funnily enough is roughly the same age as me. Coincidence? Probably not; I think it is natural to write characters that are the same age as you, as you have much more of a feel for how they feel and would respond to certain situations.

tracyt1800
October 4th, 2005, 12:07 PM
As for your question, it's an interesting one. Most of the main characters I've created in my time seem to be aged in their early-to-mid twenties, which funnily enough is roughly the same age as me. Coincidence? Probably not; I think it is natural to write characters that are the same age as you, as you have much more of a feel for how they feel and would respond to certain situations.

When I was a teenager, I wrote about teenagers. Usually the standard "poor little farm/village boy finds a sword (or something)" or "poor little farm/village boy turns out to be a great wizard" or whatever.

When I was in my 20s my protagonists were as well. Although my story lines had changed (thankfully).

Now in my late 30s, I find that my protagonists are still in their 20s. In my 20s I was much more fit. I've seen my waistline increase over the years and my physical endurance decrease. I prefer a protagonist that can run, jump and fight with the best of them. As opposed to a guy like me who gets extremely winded after a 3 mile jog.

So I guess you write what you know ... or what you knew. I don't think I could write about a 40 or 50 yr old. But I could write a late 30s protagonist. If his life involved mowing the lawn and going to work every day. :)

JamesL
October 4th, 2005, 01:04 PM
When I was a teenager, I wrote about teenagers. Usually the standard "poor little farm/village boy finds a sword (or something)" or "poor little farm/village boy turns out to be a great wizard" or whatever.


Lol, that pretty much sums up all of my earlier efforts at writing a novel! ;)

Holbrook
October 5th, 2005, 02:28 AM
My work has contained characters from newborn to extreme old age.

Observation is the best tool, when it comes to writing about people of various ages. Think on people you know in the age bracket you want to write about. Note and think on how they speak, react and behave. Then layer that with emotional content you want to show. Believe it our not, older people feel the same emotions as younger people ;)

Eiskristall
October 11th, 2005, 01:23 PM
I'm 19 years old and most of my protagonists are 5-10 Jears older than me. I find it more interesting to write about a guy(or whatever) who is in his 'best years', who is an adult with some experiences and who has a more matured point of view as people in my age.
A few years ago, the characters in my stories were at the same age as me.
But I can't imagine to write a about a guy who is younger than me.. I think, I wouldn't take him serious.

In Germany there is a fantasy author (Wolfgang Hohlbein, don't know if you know him) who often writes stories with young teenagers as main characters(from 12 to.. 15 I think). I really love some of that stories, but I don't think that this young characters are well portrayed, they act, think and feel like adults, they are more maturely as they 'have' to be in their ages, in my opinion.
So it would be better to take some older protagonists when you can't portay them well.

MrBF1V3
October 12th, 2005, 01:13 AM
How old would you be if you didn't know how old you were?

Almost everyone seems to have their 'glory days', whatever time it was when you were at the top of your game. I suspect most of us tend to write characters at about whatever age that is.

For my part, unless the age is an issue, I don't spell it out for the reader. If it is an issue in the story I will either mention it somewhere, or give various indicators which will lead the reader to an understanding of the basic age of the character. (Hardly ever start a story with; "It all started when Sarte was twenty-one years, three months and fourteen days old . . .") hmmm ... the guy behind the screen jots down a note to himself, wondering why that particular age might be important, and what kind of adventure it would entail for our unsuspecting hero ...

What was the question again?

I tend to write characters between twenty and fifty, leaning toward twenty. Twenty was half my life ago, more or less.

Different gender? We did that thread once before. Various answers.

I suppose someone should PM merancapeman to let him know about this thread.

B5

World Builder
October 31st, 2005, 03:43 PM
In my longer works, I tend to have a variety of ages in the main characters. In the primary story of my fantasy sequence, the characters include a 14-year-old girl, a 20-something shepherd, a soldier in his mid-thirties, 50-year old woman, and an elderly man. The complete work will actually be collection of short stories told from each of their points of view, similiar to Hyperion -- with the shepherd filling in as the focus of the omniscent frame narrative.

My main SF story is also written in various POVs, but the bulk of which are adult or young adults. The story coves three decades so the characters age quite a bit throughout.

In smaller stories, I tend to focus on characters more my age, early twenties. Though I have a handful of contemporary fantasy stories that involve teenage characters.

Miriamele
October 31st, 2005, 09:12 PM
I like to write characters of all ages because as Hollbrook pointed out, older people feel many of the same things younger people do. I don't find them too mysterious. :) In the book I am (okay, was) working on, I work with several point of view: a girl and boy in their late teens, a girl just entering adolescence, an immortal man who is very old, and a middle-aged woman. And all their personalities are very different. I love diversity among my characters.

But it's true that when I started writing it (at age 26) I made the main character a female who started out about 19 and would reach about 27 by the end of the series. I was using what was familiar I guess.

Evil Agent
October 31st, 2005, 09:23 PM
JamesL: Eragon...you mention the author that created this character was only 19...was this Anselm Audley by any chance, or am I mistaken? You are mistaken. Eragon was written by Christopher Paolini, a 19 yr old American who apparently had a huge marketing machine behind him, maybe trying for a 'new Harry Potter'. The book becomes a huge budget movie next year.