All Because of Chickens

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Saturday Morning Musings: Are writers naïve?

Hello and welcome to the last October Saturday.

So, how has the month of October been for you? Will you be celebrating Halloween this weekend? Something else or simply spending time with family? Whichever is your choice we want you to have a blast.

Let's get to today's musings: Do you think you're naive in your character writing - writing more innocent than reality? Writing more how you were or wish times were?

If we are writing with some accuracy, we will write young characters that are real and a product of the time periods we are writing in. The children in my fantasy series are flat-out precocious, and I make that known from the beginning. They do not behave as their peers because of who their parents are and how they are raised.

It is a danger to write too innocently because you will lose your target readership. That said, historically children were more innocent in different eras than they are today.

For example, I was watching rehearsals for a community theater play where this young boy (14 in the original play) chased death up a tree so he could still have his grandfather around. The actor playing the boy was about 11 and wondered why his character was so “dumb” and didn’t know much about life. The director sent the actor to the library to find books written in the time period with boys who were 12-14. (I looked them up, too, by the way.)

The young actor realized (as I did) that the children in those stories did indeed behave as if they were at least five years younger than he was. So, this young man thought about how his little brother who was 8 behaved. That gave him the insight into his character and made him believable on stage.

Write according to the readers you are engaging and be careful about liberties you take with history. You will need to balance accuracy with keeping your readers’ interest.

Although I strive for reality in my characters, I think I'm probably more naive than I should be when I write about them. It's hard not to draw on the experiences I had when I was a child, when it seemed like the world was a very different place, and it's also difficult to know how influenced I am by those experiences. But I do consciously try to base my characters in reality. In 'Daffodil and the Thin Place', there are characters from the Victorian times and the eponymous Daffodil from the present day, so I had to try hard to make them children of their times and to distinguish between each one's experience of life.

Keep reading and dreaming. If there’s anything you’re curious about just drop me a note:

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