How to Make Children Appear Believable

Posted by [email protected] on March 2, 2013 at 12:20 AM

When including children within your manuscript it isimportant that you write about them and for them in such a way that they appearbelievable. This includes considering such elements as their physicalappearance, their clothing, their interests, their relationships and theirlanguage.

As a writer it is often difficult to get inside the mindsetof your characters, particularly as an adult trying to write the character of achild. As with all characters, to help you with this process it is essentialthat you do adequate research and planning before you get down to the actualwriting. There are several ways in which you can do this research; listen tothe conversations of children that you may pass on the street, watch characterson television who align with the type of character that you are trying todevelop and pull on some of their mannerisms or their fashion style. Importantlyyou should also read others' books to see how they make the children in theirstories believable, or not, as the case may be.

One of the most important aspects to consider is language -which can manifest itself in both dialogue and thought. Remember it is no goodsimply ensuring that your character speaks like an 11 year old girl if theythen go on to think like a 50 year old man!

Points to consider with respect to language therefore - inspeech and thought, are:

 Use of slang                                                                         

Not all children will use slang but it is likely that theywill have their own words to describe certain items or situations. An examplecan be seen in the way that children have described something that is perceivedas good, over the years; mega, cool, wicked, sick etc. are just some of theterms that have been used and words such as these are continually evolving sotry to ensure that you use the right phrases for the time period that yourchildren and your story is set in. The urban dictionary is a good place to gofor an insight into the most current terminology used.


Remember that the language used by you as a writer will notbe the same level of language used by a child. Keep it simple.

For example, rather than:

'I could not even begin to contemplate what I was supposedto do next'


'I didn't know what to do!'

Children do not generally think or speak in long convolutingsentences and therefore keeping them concise and simple will allow for yourcharacters to become believable.

Incorrect sentences

If your characters are very young children, consider howthey would form sentences - they may not do it correctly, omitting words orconfusing words even, but providing you have developed your characterappropriately, writing in this way will be believable. A grammatically poorsentence can be just the thing to make your character believable.

With adequate planning and working on getting the languagejust right your character should begin to develop into someone believable,someone that looks, thinks and sounds like a child.


When your manuscript is ready for submission, use the Words WorthReading Ltd professional manuscript proofreading service to make sure that your characters arereally convincing.


Categories: Style

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