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  • Writer's pictureRachel Demeter

How to Write Believable Children Characters

Updated: Sep 9, 2023

Little girl in field

Creating authentic and engaging children characters in your novel or fiction piece is a crucial aspect of capturing the hearts of your readers. Whether your story is set in a fantastical world or the everyday realities of childhood, relatable characters are key to immersing your audience! Learn how to write believable children characters in your story with my tips below.

Tip 1: Understand Age and Developmental Stages

To write convincingly about children, you need to grasp the nuances of different developmental stages. A child's thoughts, behaviors, and language will vary greatly between a six-year-old and a twelve-year-old. Consider how their understanding of the world evolves as they age.

Example: Compare the thoughts of a 7-year-old character: "I hope Mommy doesn't forget to pack my favorite stuffed animal for the sleepover." to those of a 14-year-old: "I can't believe I have to go to that family gathering. It's so boring, and I'd rather hang out with my friends."

Tip 2: Use Authentic Dialogue

Children have a distinct way of speaking that reflects their age, vocabulary, and experiences. Avoid making them sound overly mature or using language they wouldn't realistically know. Embrace the spontaneity and simplicity of children's speech.

Example: An 8-year-old character might say: "I don't wanna eat broccoli, it's yucky!" while a teenager might express the same sentiment as: "I hate broccoli. Can I have something else?"

Tip 3: Capture Emotions and Vulnerabilities

Children experience emotions deeply, but they might lack the tools to process them fully. Show their vulnerability and honesty through their reactions to situations.

Example: A 10-year-old character reacting to a lost pet: Big tears welled up in Lily's eyes. She sniffled and said, "I miss Fluffy so much. It feels like a piece of me is missing."

Tip 4: Reflect Interests and Hobbies

Incorporate a child's hobbies and interests to add depth and relatability to their character. This can reveal their passions and help connect readers emotionally.

Example: A 12-year-old character who loves soccer: Every evening, Sarah rushed to the backyard with her soccer ball. She imagined herself scoring the winning goal in the championship match, the crowd cheering her name.

Tip 5: Family and Peer Relationships

Children often form strong bonds with family members and friends. Explore these relationships to showcase their dynamic personalities and growth.

Example: An 8-year-old character's interaction with their older brother: Lucas groaned as his little sister, Mia, burst into his room. "What now, Mia?" he sighed. "Can you help me find Mr. Snuggles? He's scared of the thunder," Mia said, holding her stuffed rabbit tightly.

Tip 6: Incorporate Realistic Challenges

Children face challenges that are relevant to their age, like making new friends, school projects, or standing up to bullies. These obstacles can drive the plot and character development.

Example: A 10-year-old character dealing with a bully: Jake clenched his fists, his heart racing as he faced Tommy, the school bully. "Leave me and my friends alone," he managed to say, his voice shaking but resolute.

Tip 7: Show Growth and Learning

Children characters should evolve and learn from their experiences, just like adults. Portray their growth in their understanding of the world, relationships, and personal values.

Example: An 11-year-old character realizing the importance of honesty: As Emma looked at her unfinished homework, she sighed. She remembered how lying about it had only made things worse before. This time, she decided to tell her teacher the truth about why she didn't complete the assignment.

Conclusion: How to Write Believable Children Characters

Children come with unique perspectives, challenges, and joys. By understanding these idiosyncracies, you can create characters that are relatable, endearing, and unforgettable to your readers!

About Rachel L. Demeter

Discover my captivating historical romance novels, where tormented heroes find solace in the arms of passionate heroines! Check out my books on Amazon. 🥰

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