Thursday, December 8, 2011

Guess the character's age

Brenda Drake is doing an interesting blog-hop in which everyone that signs up will post the first 250 words of a story. The point is to see if the *voice* is enough to tell the reader the age of the characters. You're not supposed to list title or genre.

Well, I'm going to use my NaNo story (so, slightly cleaned-up first draft) and I'm pleased to say I edited this section down to exactly 250 words, which is something I wanted to do anyways, 'cause I wanted to end with that particular line.

EDIT: And for extra fun, try to guess the gender of the MC :) So far it's about a 50/50 m/f split ;)

So without further ado:


48 comments:

  1. I think I'm gonna go with 17. Seems to know about driving enough to describe it, but the voice still sounds a little young. Interesting concept. The only critique I have is to watch out for the words had, was, that, were, because they seemed to be used a lot, when you can just nix 'em. :)

    Interesting concept though, lots of action then there's the bomb of a dead body in the trunk. Yikes!

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  2. I think 16. Maybe even a little younger.

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  3. I'm guessing 17ish. This is a very intriguing beginning. The crazy car ride is great. It was a little confusing at the beginning of the second paragraph. Who are Dave and Sam and why are they only mentioned once?

    Love the Depends line!

    And a little typo at the end, I think you meant "trunk" instead of "truck".

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  4. Bad driving and old enough to find alcohol? I'm guessing 16.

    That said, I had no idea what exactly was going on here. I read the first two lines about five times, trying to figure out what they meant. I'm still not 100% sure.

    I REALLY like the voice here, though. It promises of an interesting YA thriller to come. The prose just needs a little cleanup.

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  5. I'm guessing 17. I like the voice and the story (the dead body & drunk driver) promise to be intriguing.

    A couple of comments about writing: be careful of using "to be" too often. It flattens your prose. I found the second paragraph a little confusing with all of the names. I wasn't sure if you were switching from first to third person at first and had to reread it a few times.

    Also, I love the Depends line, but I think it's out of place. Would the protag really be thinking of the guy's Depends if he were gripping the dash and trying not to go through the windshield? Not to mention there's a dead body in the trunk. The protag definitely has a sense of humor, which is good, but just misplaced in that particular scene, in my opinion.
    Keep up the good work and good luck!

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  6. oooh gritty! Impressed! I'm thinking 27, like Kely I think this character sounds older, although the fact you write YA suggests the MC is more likely under 18?

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  7. Well, fine I'll give a guess then. My initial reaction when I first read this was an older character, but this has changed a bit since I read that one. Now I'm thinking that in certain respects you character seems 14 or maybe 15. In other respects, a bit older. I'd still go with 14.

    It is hard to give this a valid rating as part of my impression is based on a feeling I've gotten from the other bits of this I've read.

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  8. Hmmm, so it's a tie between Jenny Kaczorowski & writeidea

    The main character is a very jaded 15 year old, ALMOST 16. Triss is 17 for those who care.

    ...now, anyone want to guess what GENDER the main character is?

    *grins*

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  9. lol well, I was going to guess about 18 or 19, actually, but I guess it's moot now. ^_^

    I feel like the narration was too sophisticated for a 15 year old. It was too...aware? Especially with the humor about the Depends. (which made me laugh)

    As for gender... hm.... Well, if it's a really jaded character, it could definitely be a girl. But right now I'm leaning toward male.

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  10. I was going to guess 16 or 17, but then I saw you posted her age in a comment. His age? My inclination is to say it's a girl.

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  11. Re: had, was, that, were - maybe a couple too many but e prime is one of the bits you have to watch out for

    Interesting excerpt - and yeah obviously over age 16 due to the driving. Hmmm but it’s not the driver speaking :D

    Well obviously people who aren’t familiar with this piece were confused. Since it is the first 250 words, one would think it has to be cleaned up. But it doesn’t. I re read the comments. It’s not clear who is speaking. Maybe I’m too intimate with this WIP :D

    Evil you are asking them to guess gender.

    Because MC is who they are, in one sense may sound older but isn’t.

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  12. Honestly, the "crazy is relative" concept is what makes me think the MC is older. It's not something I can imagine a 15 year old saying. Even mature 15 year olds, I think, wouldn't talk like that. But the voice itself is interesting and it does make me want to read more.

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  13. Woops you shouldn't have given away the age. I was going to say about 17.

    Denise

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  14. I would have guessed Trish was 20ish, but I see she was younger. I think the person riding shotgun is male. Good start to the story and I want to read more

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  15. I'm guessing 17 because of the thought process of how Triss is behaving seems like an older teen. I really love the start to this. Hilarious!

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  16. I think the age is still supposed to be secret... :)

    However, I actually was going to guess 15 or 16, so spot on with the age-specific language and setting. Character sounded young enough to not be sensible about the situation, yet old enough to be *in* such a situation.

    Also, it does seem a little wordy and with some sentences that can be chopped into two to make it tighter and flow more smoothly. Interesting, though--I'd keep reading.

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  17. My guess after reading was early 20's. Maybe just because this reminds me of my early 20's :)

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  18. Yeah, I think I'm gonna have to go with early 20's too. I like the voice in this a lot :)

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  19. Through most of it, I was guessing 16-17, then the last line made me think mid-20's.

    Also, I didn't catch that she was talking about Triss being crazy--I thought she was talking about the new crazy people who ride in Triss's car. It makes more sense on the re-read, but maybe see if you can make that more clear. Also, why is her left hand hurting if gripping the frame of the seat the most natural thing in the world? Pain doesn't scream "natural" to me. :)

    I'd suggest taking the last line and moving it a little closer to the top of the page, then move on to other people reacting to Triss. I want to feel that Triss is normal... then see her through the eyes of someone else.

    I'm intrigued. I'd love to read on.

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  20. Interesting first 250 for sure. Although, I agree it was a bit wordy and confusing at times. I had to go back and reread a couple times. I agree with Robin's second paragraph.

    Very intense! Nice. I was thinking about 16 or 17. And I'd guess female, but not sure. :)

    Watch for passive voice as others have mentioned. Ex: my left arm was ripped in pain. How about...pain ripped through my left arm.

    And should Triss's be Triss'?

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  21. What an interesting opener-- especially the last line! I'm thinking she's sixteen-ish from the internal monologue, though they seem to be doing some shady stuff!

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  22. I got lost after the opening line as to where things were going, so I might condense those two paragraphs to the minimum of details to get us into the story, so we can start reading the interesting part that will actually hook. Maybe delete them, actually. The 'crazy is relative' idea never really made sense in context, so hopefully editing will clear that up, because as is, it seems like a gimmicky opening, when I'd rather just be thrown into the story from the very first line. As for age and gender, I'm tentatively guessing sixteen years old and female. Good luck with this! =)

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  23. Sounds like a perfectly normal night out to me!
    Personally I thought 18 but I can see it coming from a younger guy

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  24. 'guess' the gender suggests that you know what it is :-)

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  25. First, love your voice! I'd guess male age 17-18. Well done.

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  26. Thanks everyone for your comments, especially those who pointed out errors/etc.

    @ sue

    of COURSE it's evil of me to ask people to guess the gender!!

    Honestly, I'm loving that there's a pretty balanced split :)

    @ Sarah

    I WISH I knew! ...but writing a genderless character IS most of the fun of writing this story, which is why I'm so happy that some people think male and some think female.

    ...and you never did guess what gender you think he/she sounds like :)

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  27. Great excerpt! Also, I gave you a couple of awards over at my blog. Stop by and pick them up!

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  28. I'm guessing 17 by the carefree recklessness. And I think it's a female character. Either that or an extremely passive male! ha ha...

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  29. I think 17 or 18. But it's kind of hard to guess when you don't know if the character is male or female.

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  30. My guess is 17 and I love the little bit humor in it.

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  31. @ Prerna

    Thank you! I will pop over shortly :)

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  32. Interesting start :) I would guess 24. Still young but old enough to drink.
    Julia

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  33. Great voice! I'm going wit 16, maybe 17. The driving is what makes me think less mature. ;)

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  34. Nice Monkey! I am going with teenagers. They are driving, but they are still careless and probably should not have licenses yet... they are too imature. Here in NJ you need to be 17 to drive, but I know it's younger in other states. I'm going to say 16 or 17. Great opening!

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  35. Awesome awesome voice!

    Thanks for checking out my blog. I'm following you now :)

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  36. A great start. I'll say 15 or 16. Since one of the characters has a car and the others don't seem to, I thought they may be on the cusp on driver's licenses.

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  37. Oh, and for gender, my guess is girl. But not sure why exactly.

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  38. Two challenges! I think your POV is male, younger than Triss. She sounds like she might be 17 and "he" has been riding with her for a while so he can't be much more than a year or so younger. My guess is that the POV is 15.

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  39. By the way, you were the only one remotely close to Mortimer's true age. Though it is true, since the first post, I've made changes to sledge hammer the point. It is not only big kids who Game-on-line - for the boys in my class (10 year olds,) half the fun is getting away with playing in restricted zones.

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  40. I'm guessing 17. Great beginning! Love how you casually mention the dead body in the back!

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  41. I'm going to go with younger than Tris...so, 15 or 16? Maybe male? I think the thought process is more masculine, but it could just be a girl who grew up with guys.

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  42. @ Elaine

    Well, I guess that works out 'cause you were bang on with your guess :)

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  43. I didn't guess because I change my mind practically with every exerpt :-)

    How do you do that? You make me keep changing my mind, yet you still manage to stay true to the voice.

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  44. @ Sarah

    I have no idea! ...perhaps just because the character is so gender-neutral in my own brain. But, I do admit I'm having fun and intentionally playing with the question ;)

    ...like the scene where he/she is wearing a pair of Triss' pyjamas... purple with yellow cartoon ducks. Those would be hilarious enough on a tall/skinny/boy-ish girl, but the idea of a teenage boy wearing them? I swear I was laughing to myself for days :)

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Type me out a line of Shakespeare or a line of nonsense. Dumb-blonde-jokes & Irish jokes will make me laugh myself silly :)