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A Little Help in Age Picking


Which Age Is Better?  

8 members have voted

  1. 1. If I was to have a young girl deal with both of her best friends dying right in front of her and having to cope with the losses and the blame she feels, what would be a good age? I can't decide between 12 years old, 13 years old, or 15 years old.

    • Twelve
      0
    • Thirteen
      0
    • Fifteen
      8


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I want to do a fictional story about a young tween or teenage girl who witnesses the death of her two best friends and having to struggle between the shame and guilt she feels and if she should commit suicide or not. I want to do as young as 12 or 13, but 15 kind of sounds appealing. Help??

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Any of the three ages would work, but I think fifteen is ideal. I think a fifteen-year-old would be more likely to have the feelings of guilt/shame/hopelessness, while a twelve or thirteen-year-old might lean more toward only sadness. Then again, all kids are different. :)

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I went through a rough, life-altering event at 13. To me, it really felt like I had my view of the world shattered and cheated from stained glass to harsh reality. I did go through a patch of depression in the weeks after. I also went through a similar situation when I was 15/16. Looking back, that time was a lot more emotional with more anger and other powerful emotions coming into play. 

 

Basically, what I'm trying to say is it depends on what you want. I feel that 12 or 13,the event you want to include would be more of a shock to your character while at 15, she might express a greater range of emotions. Suicide would probably be contemplated at both ages. 

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I agree with the comments above. You would also want to decide if you are aiming it at a YA audience in which 12 might feel too young. Culture is a factor too - children from certain cultures experience life realities differently. In my wife's country people die a lot in road crashes, a 12 year old would be used to hearing this by 12.

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I think Claire has hit it right.  (And I am sorry to hear you had it so tough but so glad you came through with your faith stronger).

 

I would go for 15 - that way you will probably get more depth out of the story.

One of  my books had a female lead who started aged 13. I had to limit her emotions and understanding.  (That is not to say that someone can't be mature at 13 just that they wont have the same emotional reactions as someone older.)  Then I aged her to 18 and it made it easier for me to go in to more depth emotionally with her.

 

 

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I think part of it depends upon which age you have current "access" to. Yes, you've been through them all, but probably a while back, and you weren't thinking about how you would react from one age to the next. You want her reactions to be authentic.

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@carolinamtne Actually, I haven't been through all of those ages yet. ;) I'm quite a bit younger than you'd probably thought I was. But I see what you mean. All of these comments are making me think of starting out with my character being twelve and then eventually hitting those emotions when she's fifteen. But I'll wait it out a bit for now.

Edited by Ky_GirlatHeart
I didn't want to hint too much at my age.
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I meant to reply to this yesterday and got distracted...

 

I agree with the consensus here. From my own experience, I experienced a suicide for which I felt some guilt at 12 (person told me before they did it, I couldn't stop it). I experienced abandonment by my birth mother at 13, and felt guilt and shame over that for other reasons. And I experienced a few smaller things at 15, but it seems like at 15 the emotional weight of all of it came to bear, and that's the age at which I felt the most hardship (and suicidal tendencies of my own). So, I would answer that 15 is the right age for the full brunt of those emotions to be expressed.

 

That said, girls tend to mature faster than boys, so a female character might hit those points earlier. It was also quite a while ago for me, and it seems like these days kids experience these sorts of things at younger ages. So 13 or 14 may work just as well. And like someone above said, writing what you know is a good plan, so if you're 13 or14 that might be the way to go by default. 

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On 10/26/2020 at 8:56 PM, Chris Brown said:

And I experienced a few smaller things at 15, but it seems like at 15 the emotional weight of all of it came to bear,

First, my sympathy for having to deal with all those things at any age.

 

Second, just wondering if the few smaller things at 15 would have had the same impact without the earlier ones?

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I think I might start my character as a twelve year old and then jump to where she's fifteen for the story to actually begin. Again, I've never been fifteen yet, but I've experienced serious suicidal and depressing thoughts at the ages of 11-early 13; I guess that might help with the emotional part there?

But thank you guys for the help and for some of what you shared with your past!

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Sorry to hear you had it so rough as a young person. Hope life is better for you now Ky.

 

Just be careful about tapping into your own demons - Try to stay in the mind set of your character to keep some distance.  

 

I recently wrote a short story about an incident that occurred in my 30s and it shook me up for a day or two. Be careful.

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7 hours ago, carolinamtne said:

just wondering if the few smaller things at 15 would have had the same impact without the earlier ones?

 

This was all against the backdrop of my father being on death row. I'm sure the things that happened in my mid-teens would not have been so impactful if they were not in the light of everything else already going on. 

 

My first book was a memoir, and I actually found the whole process of making it into a book very therapeutic. I'm a couple of weeks from turning 40 so all of these events were a very long time ago. 

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