Earlier this week I turned 50—half a century. Sounds bad when I put it that way. Doesn’t it? (It’s okay if you have some “over-the-hill” jokes to insert here. I can take it. Give it your best shot!)
I’ve never been one to get hung up on my age. Age has always seemed a bit irrelevant to me. We are who we are regardless of age. There are some things that age cannot change or erase.
In a conversation with a friend we both commented over the fact that we found it difficult to wrap our heads around this whole aging thing and how difficult it was to believe the age we are. (One of those, where-have- the-years-gone? moments. I told him I thought that we all had a set idea of what age we are in our minds. He quickly agreed. When I asked how “old” he was, his answer was eighteen. I laughed and said, I thought I was probably somewhere between twelve and thirteen.
I think I chose this age because, when writing, I find it a very comfortable age to identify with. I don’t know why. Maybe I’m just in a YA state of mind. Maybe that age was pivotal in my development. Did something earth-shattering happen a way back then? Darned if I know.
I usually prefer to write a story from a child’s perspective. It wasn’t always that way. I’ve written many short stories from an adult perspective, but as time went by I began to notice a pattern evolving—many of my characters were children often around twelve or thirteen
You might say, “But you write for kids of course your characters are young,” and that would be true. I think, however, since I didn’t start out writing solely for children I still haven’t figured out if I should be classified as a children’s author or simply author. (Perhaps this is a topic for another post somewhere down the road.)
So who knows, while the protagonist in my current WIP is twelve (yet again), I might decide to make a concerted effort to change this in the future. There’s only one problem. My stories all start with the character first. The story follows. It’s very rare that I would have a plot already decided upon and then create my characters. When writing Bitter, Sweet I had a bit of a plot in mind for many years, but until a character made herself known to me I wasn’t able to write that story. It’s certainly something to think about.
I’m not worried, though. I’ll eventually figure out who I am as a writer. A writer’s journey will take us down many unexpected paths but none of them will lead to the sign saying wrong way. The only thing we can do is relax and enjoy the scenery.
But for now, for the time being I’m definitely in a YA state of mind.
How about you, what age are you in your mind?