Young Geoffrey (ed_rex) wrote,
Young Geoffrey

30 days on writing: Entry #21: The inhumanity of children in the modern imagination

21. Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?

The perils of not taking a sneak-peek ahead: Yesterday's entry, and especially the extensive excerpt from The Valley of Shabathawan would have served as a pretty conclusive reply to both questions.

But in case you didn't read Question 20A then or don't want to now, I'll sum it up by saying, "Yes" and "Quite well, thank you."

Still, that's not quite all. The question itself strikes me as a little weird, and not in a good sense. I'm tempted to go in for some armchair psychoanalysis of the meme's creator, but I'll just note it instead.

"Do any of your characters have children? How well do you write them?"

The presumption that children are not characters in and of themselves vexes me the more I look at it. I don't know about other writers, but when I write children, they are characters (mewling and puking babes in arms notwithstanding, perhaps).

I said I don't want to get into any armchair psychoanalysis, but armchair sociology isn't quite the same thing.

If the word of my parents (and the quality of my own, limited, memory) are to be credited at all, when we were young — ages five and three, for example — our family would elicit looks of horror from restaurant patrons when we would enter.

Kids! Oh Christ, they're bringing in kids! I'm talking real restaurants, here, not Crappy McCrappy. But y'know, places with waiters or waitresses, and sometimes table-cloths.

Thing is, and though our parents never hit us, they did expect us to behave when out in public. Once finished eating, we were allowed to wander away from the table, but we were not allowed to bother other diners; we were not allowed to run around putting the serving staff at risk; we were, in other words, expected to behave. And, almost always, we did.

Similarly, when my parents would throw a party, they always made it clear that kids were welcome. Not just to attend and play in a back room, but to hang out with the grown-ups if they wanted to — so long as they were willing to act like a grown up (minus the drinking). (I was almost invariably the only kid who would take advantage of that license, but that's another story and even less related to writing than this one.)

The point is, to a large extent we were treated not as something alien, but as people. People who needed to be told what to do, yes, but people nonetheless. And so we acted like people and mostly managed to fit in pretty well.

A concept that the modern western world seems to find incomprehensible.

Here and now, parents seem to treat their children in one of two ways. Either as a precious darling who Can Do No Wrong, or else as an encumbrance best shoved into a back room, with or without some hired help.

The third option, of introducing a child to society as soon as the kid seems ready (and interested) in being so introduced never seems to occur to anybody.

Which, I venture, is behind the reason why the meme-writer doesn't seem to think that children can be characters in their own right.

And that's a crying shame.

0. Explain yourself! In which Young Geoffrey explains the meme and his reasons for exploring it.

1. Tell us about your favorite writing project/universe that you've worked with and why.

2. How many characters do you have? Do you prefer males or females

3. How do you come up with names, for characters (and for places if you're writing about fictional places)?

4. Tell us about one of your first stories/characters!

5. By age, who is your youngest character? Oldest? How about "youngest" and "oldest" in terms of when you created them?

6. Where are you most comfortable writing? At what time of day? Computer or good ol' pen and paper?

7. Do you listen to music while you write? What kind? Are there any songs you like to relate/apply to your characters?

8. What's your favorite genre to write? To read?

9. How do you get ideas for your characters? Describe the process of creating them.

10. What are some really weird situations your characters have been in? Everything from serious canon scenes to meme questions counts!

11. Who is your favorite character to write? Least favorite?

12. In what story did you feel you did the best job of worldbuilding? Any side-notes on it you'd like to share?

13. What's your favorite culture to write, fictional or not?

14. How do you map out locations, if needed? Do you have any to show us?

15. Midway question! Tell us about a writer you admire, whether professional or not!

16. Do you write romantic relationships? How do you do with those, and how "far" are you willing to go in your writing? ;)

17. Favorite protagonist and why!

18. Favorite antagonist and why!

19. Favorite minor that decided to shove himself into the spotlight and why!

20. What are your favorite character interactions to write?

Question #20A, "What are your favourite character interactions to write?"

22. Tell us about one scene between your characters that you've never written or told anyone about before! Serious or not.

23. How long does it usually take you to complete an entire story — from planning to writing to posting (if you post your work)?

24. How willing are you to kill your characters if the plot so demands it? What's the most interesting way you've killed someone?

25. Do any of your characters have pets? Tell us about them.

26. Let's talk art! Do you draw your characters? Do others draw them? Pick one of your OCs and post your favorite picture of him!

27. Along similar lines, do appearances play a big role in your stories? Tell us about them, or if not, how you go about designing your characters.

28. Have you ever written a character with physical or mental disabilities? Describe them, and if there's nothing major to speak of, tell us a few smaller ones.

29. How often do you think about writing? Ever come across something IRL that reminds you of your story/characters?

30. Final question! Tag someone! And tell us what you like about that person as a writer and/or about one of his/her characters!

This entry was originally posted at Comment there using OpenID, or here as per normal.
Tags: 30 days on writing, ashera hawkins, auto-biography, children, dialogue, excerpt, fiction, meme, random gloats, the valley of shabathawan, writing

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