Friday, June 5, 2009

Are the age of characters really an issue?

Interesting things I'm hearing from New York responses to Banquo's Son: some have expressed concern that Duncan and Fleance are too old for the YA market (being, of course, the eldery age of 21. One house has alreay passed the opportunity to read the manuscript with the explanation that "... no matter how well the novel reads, it just won’t work for us if he is that old and adult things happen to him."


Personally, I can't see the problem. He's a young man and he will age 10 years over the course of the trilogy but Keavy and Bree will also become teenagers during this time and be important players as well.

Here in New Zealand, The 10PM Question,a novel aimed at YA with a 12 year old main character won not only the award for YA but for the whole lot and has just been selected for our national book awards (not children).Read what Mary Mcullum has to say about this here

It always amuses me what people think teenagers will read esp if they aren't around teenagers. The girls in my class (and my own children) read books with young protagonists and adult - it's the story and the characters they care about.

I told my editor and agent about the conversation between Nicola and Angela from my Y9 English class - these 13 year olds are looking forward to reading what I've written of Bloodlines.

Anyway, I'd be interested, girls, if you posted your comments about what you think about the age of characters so that those NYC houses hear it from the 'horse's mouth' so to speak - not that I'm saying you are nags.


Anonymous said...

I think that that is complete rubbish. People my age read books about 40 year olds and they're still enjoying them. The age has nothing to do with who will read it, in my opinion, but if the events that are happening to the character are inaproppriate to their age, then yes, that may effect this. But I personally
enjoy a series of books where the main character is about 60, so I don't see that it makes much difference. Also, girls seem to prefer 'older' men, ie older than themselves, so this all seems to mean that they will fall in love with Fleance and Duncan just as we have. 21 is the right age. Don't you dare change it :)
From Laura *picture of immaculately drawn tree*

Anonymous said...

I dont think that age matters as long as the characters are likeable i mean look at Twilight one of the things that people like about it is the novelty of having a main character character who is a vampire and although theareticly being 17 really being older than 100 there are heaps of books aimed at teenagers where th main characters are older people.I think that if fleance was any younger it wouldnt work. Yes in some books the main character seems the rong age but thats only because their actions don't suit them not the actual age. sometimes having an older main character makes readers look up to them!

Anonymous said...

I have to agree with the others.
= ) Having an 'older' age will attract the younger ladies attention and create a role model, wheras if the character were younger they may be considered by the older age bracket as immature etc, losing another whole age of readers. Teenagers don't want to read just about other teenagers but involve themselves in the 'adult world'so to speak.Having a slightly older character also makes the deeds and people more believable- 21 is just the right age for all the right reasons. Please don't change it!!!
Dani B.

Anonymous said...

I think 21 is absolutely the right age for Duncan and Fleance. Remember, they're both mature adults. This story might involve love, but it is chiefly about the responsibility undertaken by both Duncan and Flea. They aren't stupid teenagers, constantly changing their minds and their age reflects that.

These are the publishers of America talking and America is the country that fiddles around with titles of books because "no one will read about a Philosopher's Stone, it's too complicated!" It might seem strange to them, but anyone who reads the book will see that, as I have already said, their age suits their actions.

You can fiddle around with some things in a book, but writing about teenagers is tricky, we're such changeable creatures. Flea and Duncan have much more purpose.

Also, if Flea and Duncan were to change you would then encounter further problems with Rosie and relating her back to Flea. The gap between them shouldn't be substantial, but it's good to see her as a very love-focused young woman compared to the slightly older Flea who has responsibility to take on.

Overall? The ages seem fitting.

Anonymous said...

Duncan and Fleance have to remain 21 yrs old. Peo... Duncan and Fleance have to remain 21 yrs old. People my age read so many books about teenagers, but at the end of the book we are not satisfied, because we can not imagine people our age having such experiences and it is much easier for us to admire older characters. Also, we learn a great deal when we read about characters who are older than ourselves, and we can use the characters experiences to benefit our own in the future.
Can you imagine Fleance and Duncan, a couple of seventeen year olds, going to war, fighting villains and agonising over loved ones? It just doesn't work.
Duncan and Fleance need to stay 21yrs old because they help the entire story take shape. Everyone loves reading about young heroes just like Fleance and Duncan but if they were potrayed as younger characters, they wouldn't be as attractive and likeable to the reader.
From Annabel :)
p.s. R.I.P....?... *sob*

fleance (aka TK Roxborogh) said...

Thanks guys for speaking what I already felt in my gut was true.
Annabel, I had to moderate your last line because that is 'sensitive' information. We can't be giving that away before the book is read eh? *whink*

Anonymous said...

I agree with all previous comments. Teenage male characters are usually too flirty and only want one thing. Flea and my liddle Dunky Wunky (!) are just the right age for any girl over 12 to fall in love with, who cares they are older, boys their own age are usually just annoying!
From Imo

Aimee said...

lame! its not harry potter! why cant the characters be mature?

I dont know about other people, but i dont pick up a book and go "oh wait, this guy is older than me IM NOT GONNA READ IT"
And it might scare off older readers, if they think it is purely a book for younger people.

and a few disjointed thoughts... can teenagers life swords... wont people think "ha dumb teenagers, love isnt real at that age".... why would the older, more experienced characters pay any attention to a little teenager, its a bit unrealistic...

please keep their ages as is, they are just perfect!


(ps, sorry for bad grammer, in the middle of moving house!!!)

Laura said...

They are most definitely NOT too old!!! I read and enjoy books with older main characters and so does my little sister. Everyone (adults and teenagers) are going to love Banquo's Son! :)
From other Laura