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Romance > Does Age Matter?

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message 1: by Geraldine (new)

Geraldine Cantrell (goodreadscomdeeniecantrell) | 7 comments The main characters in Contemporary Romance novels are usually in their 20’s or younger even though the target audience may be significantly older. Do you prefer protagonists who are close to your own age, or doesn’t it matter to you?
Natural Disasters, A Love Story by Geraldine Cantrell


message 2: by Ellie (new)

Ellie Mitchell (elliemitchell) | 15 comments I think everyone prefers characters similar to them as it makes it easier to relate to them. However, maybe making the characters your target audience's age would be good?


message 3: by Shanna (new)

Shanna Swenson (shannaswen) | 72 comments It honestly doesn’t matter to me... age is just a number, true love knows no bounds! My books cover multiple relationships in different phases and covers a family throughout generations! My MC starts at age 28 and by the end of the saga she will be in her late 50s. Her parents are also a part of the mix too! ;-)


message 4: by Zita (new)

Zita | 11 comments Age doesn't matter to me, although I can relate more to characters around my own age. I have a natural tendency to write about characters in my own age group too.


message 5: by Geraldine (new)

Geraldine Cantrell (goodreadscomdeeniecantrell) | 7 comments It's been interesting to see the responses to my question about the age of protagonists in a book, whether it matters to readers. So far, from Facebook book club members, the responses are 48% nay it doesn't matter and 52% yay it does matter. I myself enjoy reading about my own generation and how they handle the relevant issues of our era. How 'bout the rest of you folks?


message 6: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) Even more than that, I enjoy being surprised. Age is a number - some 60 year olds are healthy and hiking the Appalachian Trail; others can barely move.

In my own trilogy, you will have to figure out how old the protagonist is from a series of hints as you go, and each one gives the number a little sideways hitch. And pokes at your expectations. And the exact number is important.

The point is that the minute you tell readers the number, all their assumptions about age form a stereotype that it's hard to dislodge, and I'm deliberately subverting that stereotype (as well as several others). I haven't had any complaints.


message 7: by Geraldine (new)

Geraldine Cantrell (goodreadscomdeeniecantrell) | 7 comments That's a fun, curiosity-piquing way to get readers to relate to your character!


message 8: by Alicia (new)

Alicia Ehrhardt (aliciabutcherehrhardt) It's a heck of a lot of hard work, too! But I figure that's the job I took on when writing mainstream fiction, indie.

I always find it irritating to be given a police-blotter description of a character - and being expected to remember it.

Our appearance, our movements, how we compensate for disabilities - all that is important to who we are, and how the world sees us.

Stereotypes are convenient - and some people actually prefer reading about characters they can instantly place in a familiar slot - but I wouldn't be writing, with all it costs me, if I wanted that.

I like to form my own conclusions about a character - and I like other authors to be subtle. NOT long-winded in excruciating detail; subtle.


message 9: by Paganalexandria (last edited Dec 10, 2018 01:19PM) (new)

Paganalexandria I'm open except to anything YA-ish. One of the reasons I tend to avoid second chance tropes is because even the blurb gives an impression of older characters, too often the flashbacks of high school experiences eat the book.


message 10: by Jim (new)

Jim Vuksic | 1043 comments Age is just a number and does not always serve as a reliable measurement of maturity or a fascinating personality.

During my life experiences, I have come into contact with some 16-year-old mature adults and some 50-year-old immature children.


message 11: by Marra (new)

Marra Roscoe (tressaadventurebooks) | 3 comments Geraldine wrote: "The main characters in Contemporary Romance novels are usually in their 20’s or younger even though the target audience may be significantly older. Do you prefer protagonists who are close to your ..."

It depends on how the book is written. If the focus is on the strength of the relation, the pitfalls, the hot summer nights and I can feel a bond with the characters on an emotional level, I don't care if they are young, old or in between.

If the book is written about young characters and the author tries overly hard to "sound" young, then it grates on my nerves. Like the real British accent versus someone faking a British accent. One is sexy, the other isn't.


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