Help! I cant figure out my character's age, and that is ruining the whole story!

Forums Fiction Characters Help! I cant figure out my character's age, and that is ruining the whole story!

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    Kayla Joy

    I have this story that has been musing around in my brain for a while now, the only thing that is stoping me from writing it is the male protagonist. I already have the female protagonist all laid out, but the male just won’t tell me his real age. And that is a problem.

    I have two ages that I am bouncing between.

    One is 30. That age would make him 9 years older than the female lead. That would leave me some room to give them a romantic coupling. I think. Is 9 years older too old? That is my main problem.

    The other age would be between 45 and 55. He would be an old mentor figure to the girl, with his love being more like that of a father than a potential love interest.

    Either way is a tragic ending, but I cant decide if I want to have a love story, or have a mentor/trainee realationship story.

    Oh, this is for an action/mystery story. The guy is a special agent, and he chooses her to train as his replacement. The only thing keeping me from writing is this age/relationship problem.


    Does that all make sense? Anyone have any thoughts?

    Red haired Disney Nerd. Proverbs 3:5-6 ENFP-T


    Uh..@kayla-joy…I just have a few thoughts that I hope could help with your problem. I’ve been struggling with something similar a while ago.

    I’ll dare to say that nine years apart is not too stretchy for a romantic interest. I’ve known “real live couples” who are eleven years or more apart in age. And personally, I think romance adds a spice into any story that nothing else could. Take that from a girl. 🙂  Just don’t overdo it, and don’t let the lovey-dovey stuff overtake the story.  And this could actually work alongside with the mentor/trainee relationship, since he would be training her anyways, right? So, something like a mixed relationship—which makes the story more interesting.

    Sound like a great idea!! I love clean, great, Christian action/mystery books. Keep it up!!

    Just my two cents. 🙂


    Writer. Thinker. Christian Gal. Canadian. Singer. Blogger. Health Nut. Author. Lumerit Scholar.

    Sam Kowal

    @kayla-joy You could have the love interest younger, and also be the mentor, I think. He doesn’t have to be old to be training her. I think you can get the best of both things 😀

    *nom, nom, nom* *eats donuts*
    Oh, are you hungry? *begins weeping*
    I would have saved you one!

    Kayla Joy

    @girlsetfree @sam-kowal Thanks guys. I think I will stick with the guy being younger. I love a spice of romance, I was just afraid it was getting overused. But if you guys think it will work, I’ll do that. 🙂

    Red haired Disney Nerd. Proverbs 3:5-6 ENFP-T

    Jenna Terese

    @kayla-joy People seem to like romance, and I don’t think 9 years is too far apart for a love interest. You just have to figure out which age will benefit the plot and story the best. 🙂

    "If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write." -Martin Luther

    Rachel Rogers

    @kayla-joy I would say, when deciding whether to add romance into any story, you should always ask the same question you’d ask about any character or relationship:

    Does it make the story better?

    In other words, a romantic relationship probably isn’t going to work in a story when it’s added in just for funsies. It needs to impact the plot in a way that a non-romantic character relationship couldn’t accomplish.

    If it does make the story better, though…go for it! 🙂

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

    Kayla Joy

    @scribbles That is one of my problems. I can’t really decide which relationship would make the story better. Would it be better for them to fall in love, or better to have the mentor being the father figure she never had. One moment I think it would be better to have a love story, and I see the perfect character for it, but then I see in my head an older man who is rough and has seen so much pain he is hardened to the world, but she brings out a soft spot in him. I really cant make up my mind.

    Red haired Disney Nerd. Proverbs 3:5-6 ENFP-T

    Rachel Rogers

    @kayla-joy Ah, I understand that struggle. :\ Sifting through pros and cons is a pain with choices like that!

    Another factor that might help you decide is the question of what experiences you have to pull from. Whether or not your experience is direct, you’ll be able to write more compellingly about something that you’ve experienced first- or second-hand in depth. Obviously firsthand experiences are easier to write about, because you’ve thought all the thoughts and felts all the feelings about whatever it is (in this example, a romantic relationship or a mentoring relationship). But, for example, say you really want to write a romantic relationship, but you’ve never been in one yourself. That plotline might feel a little flat, because you’ll be forced to tell instead of showing without those experiences to pull from.

    However… Say your best friend or your sibling *has* been in a romantic relationship and so you’ve been able to watch this process unfold gradually and in more detail than with someone you don’t talk to much. Even though you (continuing with the hypothetical situation here) weren’t the one falling in love, at least you have more material to pull into your story than if all you have to pull from is hearsay, essentially. (“Hey, did you hear that Joe and Lizzie are getting married?” “Aw, really! That’s great! It’s so obvious they’re in love!”)

    I hope this makes a modicum of sense, haha! Basically, when in doubt, consider how much you *really* know about what you’re trying to write. While you can definitely write well about things you haven’t experienced or haven’t done (never once have I been a squirrel, but I write from their perspective all the time), you *do* have to have some kind of experience that also applies and makes your writing feel true.

    Ambiverted INFP. Scribbles all the words. Names the plant friends. Secretly Edna the Piguirrel.

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