Writing a child character

Xilefenko

I am having problems writing a little girl that apears in my story. I have really high standarts in my head and I dont know how to write her convincing. Any advice?


XanMag

I assume it is third person?


Anonynn

How old is the little girl? I might be able to help.

0-6
7-12
13-17?

^_^

I love this question. Every time, all I can think about is when the woman on the movie "As Good As It Gets"
asks..."How do you write women so well?" to the male writer guy who's a big jerkass.
He responds..."I think of a man...and I take away reason and accountability." xD !!


Xilefenko

6 or Seven. I want her to say things but in a childish way. I tried to Think of the little girl that Lives in my neigborhood but the only thing she ever did was giggeling.


DarkLizerd

You ask her a question about the old house on the hill, and she giggles, "That spooky place? Why would you want to know about that?"

OR... try watching a few TV shows with little kids in them and how they talk...
But knowing that adults wrote the lines...
Talk to a 1st or 2nd grade teacher, find out what the kids say...


Xilefenko

2.Tarsi

You look over to the little child that can not be older than 7 or eight. She is wearing a light yellow dress with a small bow on her neck. The dress looks very wearied and old. But it does not seem much to her. Her hair is brown and very short cut. Underneath she wears white stockings and small brown slippers. She plays around the playground and enjoys the last sunlight of the day, which wraps the playground in a rich orange.

Hello

You walk slowly towards the girl from the side. You kneel down to not scare her. Even before a word can leave your mouth, the little girl chatters at you.

You look funny!

"I look funny?"

Yes!

• a.) Why then?

Because you look funny!

• b.) What looks funny on me?

Your nose is funny!

You can't find out exactly what she means. Your nose looks good, does it not?

• c.) No YOU're weird!
You change your voice and say, "No, you're funny!"

She giggles and looks at Mika.

Who are you?

• a.) I am a friend of Mika

She looks over at Mika and he waves at her trustingly.

Mikachen is very strong! He'll punch you if you're stupid!
Once there was a flying monster! He punched it. After that it fled.

• b.) Do not worry, Mika said I can talk to you

Mikachen is very clever! He knows everything in the world. He protects me. If he likes you, I like you too!

• c.) I am Anon
Aaah okay. I'm Tasi

"Didn't Mika call you Tarsi?"

I told you!! Tasi! Stop being silly!

• "Mikachen? Is that how you call Mika?

Yes, he's my Mikachen. I like him a lot!


Anonynn

The best way to write children at that age, in my opinion, is that they...

  1. Don't follow social norms. Meaning most of the time (depending on upbringing) they will call out the first physical attribute on someone that they see. ie, Big man, big woman, blonde lady, scary man, yucky cat, funny dog. Keep their vocabulary very simple and their sentences relatively short (unless they've had a particularly rich/privileged upbringing).
  2. Girls also tend to be a little more sensitive (again depending on personality). Like, if they got a new dress and it got wet, they'd probably cry about it. Boys will be focused on things they want or are comfortable with. Again, these can vary greatly depending on upbringing and the type of character that you want.
  3. They can usually focus on ONE thing at a time. For example, looking at a ball and then running into a wall, or looking at a cloud and then tripping. This makes playing games with them fun as they get completely immersed in what you're doing normally. And some children are extremely particular about getting their way.
  4. They also LOVE to laugh and they will laugh particularly hard, even at very silly things.
  5. Cling when they are scared, or want to be held/picked up particularly by their mom's and dad's.
  6. They tend to be very shy when meeting new people.
    Check out some Miyazaki films; Ponyo, My Neighbor Totoro etc.

For your paragraph...

2.Tarsi

You look over to the little child ((probably refer to gender here; little girl, little boy. Makes it feel more natural)) that can not be older than 7 or eight. She is wearing a light yellow dress with a small bow on her neck. The dress looks very wearied ((weathered)) and old. But it does not seem much to her ((But that doesn't seem to matter to her?)). Her hair is brown and very short cut ((and cut short)). Underneath, she wears white stockings and small brown slippers. She plays around the playground and enjoys the last sunlight of the day, which wraps the playground in a rich orange.

You ((slowly)) walk towards the girl and the playground, and then kneel down once you get close enough. You certainly don't want to scare her. She doesn't even notice your approach. Seconds later, you call out to her hoping to get her attention, "Excuse me! Hello!"

Upon hearing you and realizing you're talking to her, she immediately stops playing and then turns to face you looking slightly confused. You can see her study you momentarily before she finally takes a step forward in your direction, but naturally she keeps her distance.

"Hello, Mr. You look funny!"

"I look funny?"

"Uh huh!" she exclaims with a wide smile.

• a.) Why then?

"Because of your nose! It's big like a clown's!" she giggles.

• b.) What looks funny on me?

"You have a big nose like a clown!"

You can't find ((figure)) out what she means though. You always thought you had a rather decent nose.

• c.) No YOU're weird!

You change your voice and say, "No, you're funny!"

((This response depends on the child. But typically they will either like you, or dislike you; which means they will react to your insult differently))
(Like You Possibility) She giggles, "Nuh uh! Mika says I look pretty!"
(Dislike You Possibility) "No, I'm not." she says with a pouty frown, "Mika says I look pretty. He'll beat you up if you make fun of me! He once punched out a huuuuge dragon. He's strong!"

(Like Continuation)
"I'm Tasi. I'm a friend of Mika. He asked me to talk with you."

"Huh? You know Mika too!?" and then she approaches a little closer but still seems a little unsure of the stranger's presence.

  • a.) I am a friend of Mika

Mika then waves and gets her attention which causes her to smile really big. She excitedly waves back. You proceed to answer her at this point, "Yes, I do. We're old friends. Do you mind if I ask you a couple of questions, {little girl's name}?"

"You know my name?" she asks.

"Yup, Mika told it to me. I think it's a very pretty name." She responds with a playful giggle as you continue."{questions.here}

Meh! It's not perfect, but I hope you get the idea. Children aren't stupid, they are extremely observant especially when they are younger. ^_^ I hope this helps a little bit.


Xilefenko

This is more advice then I ever expected! One huge thank you!
This helps me a lot. The way the player meets her feels much more natural. It was a little bit forced and I didn't know how to fix that. I also have now an better idea on how her character should be.

Again, huge thank you!


Anonynn

Anytime! Also, my example is for a 4-7 year old tops. If you are going for 8 --- you definitely have to make them sound more like a adolescent, not so much a child. Children whom are 8 tend to have stronger personalities, more complicated speech, emotions, want independence, face challenges etc. :)

Anonynn!


Xilefenko

I'm curios. Where do you learn such things like characteristics of personalities or writing so detailed?


Anonynn

Are you asking me specifically, or just in general?

What I like to do is picture the entire scene and then I try to act as a sort of "director" like I imagine where the camera would be set up, the angle of the camera and how it moves, time of day, weather and then I describe the things that the viewer might see first if they were watching the scene, which eventually get us to the character interactions. For example, the scene that you presented...

The sweltering sun settled high over the plastic-laden playground and the surrounding trees causing brilliant beams light to cascade through the canopies. As a result, shadows stretched like reaching fingers across nearby side-walks, which intertwined like a silken web through the park. Already, children were playing; screaming, chasing one another and laughing contently, creating a powerful energy that filled the hearts of those passing by. Among them was a ruggedly handsome young man of medium build with weary grey eyes that told of a past weight that he still lugged around on his shoulders. Regardless of this pain however, he was present here and now with a warm, pleasant smile stretching his lips thin and a hand brushing across his thin, black locks. His clothes were partially disheveled and carried stains of the day before which were contrasted by a much larger, but younger man who had the bone structure of a Greek god. His clothing was neat and well-kept, each detail of the outfit picked specifically and coordinated right up to his thick, chiseled jaw, bright blue eyes and his blonde hair. He too wore a smile, but it was much lighter than his dark-haired pal beside him. 

At that point, I imagine the mood of the characters, their life---things like that and then I try to imagine how the two character's I've made could connect or disconnect depending on the relationship you want to make. I love movies too that certainly helps a lot! ^_^

Anonynn.


crystalwizard

maybe, if you really want to know how this age group acts, you could try volunteering at the y-day camp for a summer.

Kids, just like adults, are completely unique. One six year old might do nothing but stare at you, and another might want to sit down with you and talk about the latest movies. The next might find it funny to pick his nose and eat it to make you gag, while the fourth might act more like a minature adult than a child.

You need to go get to know a bunch of first graders on a personal level.


jmnevil54
  1. Do not write her giggling unless it's expected (that's a stereotype...).

  2. Give her personality, likes, interests, etc.

  3. Usually the most important thing is to emphasize the character (unless it's a side character). What are her interests? Tie to the story? Tie to the characters? Does she have some bond with them that is somehow special?

And that's just regular, general character development stuff.


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