30 Days of NaNoWriMo 2 – Day 17: Writing a Kid

I wound up just sticking to one writing session for today, because that session was a pain in the ass. For reasons that I now totally understand: Yesterday, I got to write the intense nightmare Sydney Tempest was having. Today, I had to write Modis being super positive.

But it wasn’t so much the positivity that made today rough–it was Modis’ age.

I remember certain things about being a kid, but I have no idea how old I was when I felt those things. I know everybody’s different, but I also know that being young means being subject to a universal suite of things–being much more heavily swayed by what everyone else is doing, for example. So . . . when I was 10-ish . . . was I trying to be cool already? Did I care if other kids liked what I liked? Was I smart enough to get myself out of trouble? Was I still naive enough to think my mother could solve any problem?

Of course, so much of this is case-sensitive; Modis is a smart kid, so, regardless of the intelligence of other kids his age, he’s able to get himself out of harm’s way. He’s had a really solid upbringing, so he’d probably be extra naive about his dad being able to solve any problem. A bunch of this I’m pretty sure about.

But, around it all, there’s the question of, “Is he believable?” Do I make him sound too much like a grown up? But wouldn’t it be really annoying if I gave him the speaking ticks kids have (“Hey! Hey! HEY! Um…,” “Whoathatssocool,” etc.)?

Questions like these made today’s scene super slow-going, especially because it involved Modis interacting with his familiar. In the end, I’m satisfied with what I got, but I can’t help thinking he sounds older than he should. 11? 12? Eh–I’m not sure.

But what I am sure of, at the very least, is that I’m not locked into making him 10; when the novel is done, whatever age he reads like is the age he is.

And, in the meantime, I should just be thankful. This is a new problem; I’ve never had to worry about a character sounding the right age in my work. At the very least, I know that I’m doing something I’ve never done before, and that feels awesome.

Words for the Day: 649

NaNoWriMo Total: 7,887

Published by

Louis Santiago

I'm a fantasy writer based in New York. One of my short stories, "Aixa the Hexcaster," was published at Mirror Dance Fantasy. You can read it here: http://www.mirrordancefantasy.com/2016/09/aixa-hexcaster.html.

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