My Challenges With Creating Child Characters

Oh, that pro alliteration. My skill is unparalleled.

Alright, so I’m pleased to say that I am, indeed, writing again. I’m back in my natural habitat shunning outlines and writing whatever so happens to enter my head. I don’t know if I would say that it’s easier. I definitely find it more fun, especially considering I don’t have to spend months just to plan the damn thing; and I’m glad I don’t have to go through all the characters and write out the personalities of each of them, since I’m more than fine storing that stuff in my head.

But, I do have one big problem . . . well, six little problems that I think even an excessive plan wouldn’t have been able to fix, and they go by the names of Kathy, Lili, Obi, Alex, Melissa and Kevin.

Now . . . I’m not a parent, and certainly not one of five-year-olds. I don’t have any younger siblings, and whenever I’m out in public I usually have headphones blasting music into my ears, so even if there are little kids around I can’t even hear them. Call me crazy, but I don’t think it would be a good idea to go to a park with a notebook and a pen, and proceed to watch the children, therefore, the only real experience I have with how children behave is my own. And with my twenty-one-year-old mind, it’s hard to look back on my memories of that age with the mind of a child.

So, when it comes to writing child characters, most of whom are wildly different from one another, I don’t have a lot to reference. I mean, there was one book I had to read for A-level English Literature that I could reference . . . if I wanted to end up wanting to murder each and every child in my book . . . Look. I seriously hated Room, by Emma Donoghue. I don’t even feel bad for wanting the kid dead. And who knows? Maybe he does die. I’m not going to pretend I was able to endure that book to the end. I applaud Donoghue for trying, for being ambitious, but in my opinion, Room is a perfect example of a little child being written awfully . . . I’m sure I was making a point before I got lost in remembering just how much I hated that book.

Ah, yes! My point is I don’t have anything to help me write child characters well. In my previous attempts at getting anything to do with this series finished, the characters were in their late teens, and while I can take a few character traits from that, it would be weird for a little child to behave like a young adult. Also in a previous attempt I had a prologue with three of those characters as children, so I could use that as a basic template. After all, they do grow up to become those people.

The thing is, some children tend to be both innocent little angels, as well as malicious little demons, and in a story that has them as consistent . . . no . . . very important secondary characters, writing them as well-behaved pretty much all the time, though convenient, wouldn’t be realistic. Perhaps I could get away with a couple of the more timid and reserved children not being annoying, but not all of them. The reason this is such a problem is because my main character is a single mother of four of these children. Quadruplets, yes. She certainly has quite a bit of help raising them, but still, they’ll be consistent characters throughout the story, and children or not, they’ll still have to be good, well-rounded and developed characters.

Oh, and Melissa . . . Jesus. How do you write an excessively educated five-year-old who sometimes even corrects adults, and her grandfather, at that?

Well, I’ve been going on instinct, and what looks right thus far, and it doesn’t seem so bad. Certainly not as bad as that spawn of Satan from Room.

Okay, okay. I’ll stop ragging on it.

I’d like to think that written in moderation (or as moderately as one could write the kids of the main characters) I can write them reasonably well.

Kids. Even when they only exist in words they can be annoying . . . even if they’re my characters and I’m far too attached to them.

At least I’ll make sure I don’t write them to the same standards of Room . . . Alright. That was the last one.

Till next time.

Laurence out.

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