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Thread: A quick question about the age of my main characters.

  1. #1
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    A quick question about the age of my main characters.

    I have a question, two of my main characters in my novel are twin sisters who are twenty-one years old, while their younger sisters are Eighteen and Sixteen in the current draft that I'm writing.

    All four sisters play a major role in the overall storyline. The only thing that I'm curious about is if the ages of my characters is too high. Most YA that I've seen tends to have younger characters. The twins used to be younger in older drafts, and I gradually changed their age as the storyline changed.

    Are the twins too old to be the MC's in a YA novel? The genre is Fantasy if that helps.

  2. #2
    All I Ever Wanted Was The World Violeta's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caryslan View Post
    Are the twins too old to be the MC's in a YA novel?
    Hum... The short answer? Yes. Long answer? Teens and pre-teens can't relate to
    twenty-something-year-olds. For them, those MCs are too old. Too far
    away. Too "adult" and unreachable. It's like another universe for them. So, yeah,
    I think they're too old.
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    practical experience, FTW sadbeautifultragic's Avatar
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    Whose POV is the novel being written from? If it's one of the younger sisters I think you should be fine. I think it's okay for somewhat older characters to be main characters but probably crossing the line (in most cases anyway, it can work but I'm not gonna go there right now) for them to be the POV.

    P.S. Read the stickies.

  4. #4
    Moonshade lauralam's Avatar
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    Possibly, or possibly not. Personally, I read mainly adult as a teen, so I was used to MCs in their early twenties. As with most things, it depends a lot on execution and the main problems and plots your characters are dealing with. If you're worried, see if you can shave a few years off the older characters and get them to 18/19. But you could also hop on the New Adult wave that's currently happening as well.

    Basically, write the book, make it the best it can be, sub to agents who take both YA and adult maybe, and see what happens. It's all a marketing category anyway, IMO.


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  5. #5
    we're gonna make it out of the fire The_Ink_Goddess's Avatar
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    INVINCIBLE SUMMER by Hannah Moskowitz (AW's Shady_Lane) is a good example of this. The POV character ages from 14-18 in the course of the book - so pure YA - but the book focuses heavily on the relationship between him and his older brother, who closes the novel at maybe 19 or 20, and his little sister. There's a lot about the little sister when she's 12/13. But it's definitely YA, because the main anchoring voice is.
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  6. #6
    Shooting stars. lolchemist's Avatar
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    I think you should be fine, especially since it's fantasy! Just be sure to load up the beginning of the book with the 16 and 18 y/o's pov's so that by the time the agent/editor/readers hit the twins, they don't even care how old the twins are they just want to keep reading and see what happens next.

    And remember, most Disney princesses look like young 20-something grown women, not teenagers (except Alice in Wonderland) and yet little children and teens are still enchanted by them!

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  7. #7
    practical experience, FTW rwm4768's Avatar
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    If you tell it from the teenage points of view, it's still YA. However, if the twins have their own POV chapters, it might be a tougher sell. I'm in a bit of a similar place with my fantasy, which I'm not calling YA. My two MC's are 18 and 16, but I have two other viewpoint characters who are 25 and 30.

  8. #8
    New Fish; Learning About Thick Skin
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    If I aged the twins down to nineteen years old, would that help? I need to have the oldest sister stay above eighteen since she is the heir of her homeland and takes the throne at the end of a story arc. As for the two youngest characters, I can also adjust their ages by a few years. I can easily make the youngest sister fifteen years old, which will still make her work with her current personality and power.

  9. #9
    we're gonna make it out of the fire The_Ink_Goddess's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Caryslan View Post
    If I aged the twins down to nineteen years old, would that help? I need to have the oldest sister stay above eighteen since she is the heir of her homeland and takes the throne at the end of a story arc. As for the two youngest characters, I can also adjust their ages by a few years. I can easily make the youngest sister fifteen years old, which will still make her work with her current personality and power.
    Yes. 19 is upper YA pretty much NA but between her younger siblings, that would put it firmly in the YA bracket to me.
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  10. #10
    supercalifragilisticexpia lidocious Ashwood's Avatar
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    I think 19 would work better, yes. From a teen's standpoint, 21 could be deemd 'old'.

    Come to think of it, I used to think 30 was ancient. Now I'm 3 years from 30... and well... not so ancient anymore.
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  11. #11
    stuck in the middle Dagrami's Avatar
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    Agree that 19 would be better.

    But be prepared for some teens to still think she's really old/unrelateable...

    When I was 16, one of my friends dated a guy who was 19. And to the rest of us, he was really old and it was really weird.

    It's only now I'm on the other side of 20 that I realise 19 really ain't that old. But remember to be mindful of your target audience. Small age gaps are a huge thing at that time in life.

  12. #12
    [Shhhh....I'm writing.] Mandiloo322's Avatar
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    19 is much better, and I agree that as long as the sixteen-ish girls are the main POV you should be fine. The Stickies have a lot of info regarding what is and isn't YA as well. Read a lot of YA in your genre so you can get a feel for what is out there right now as well.

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