Writing Older Protagonists

Why did I choose to write an older protagonist?

Do most writers create their characters on purpose? They aren’t born fully formed from your mind as Athena was to Zeus?


I have to think about this one, and you get to receive my stream of consciousness in written format.

I knew I didn’t want to write a coming-of-age tale. I’ve read tons of those, and I still enjoy them, but as I’ve grown older and I watch my friends age with me (ten or twenty years ahead), my mentality on it all has changed as well.

It is my belief that our culture, society, what-have-you tends to glorify youth and the lessons that come from it. Truthfully, they’re often more exciting – jumping a train and accidentally ending up near the next state’s border – compared to the ones that come in adulthood, like doing your taxes wrong and living with anxiety for the next four months or more. Worrying about your next martial arts test instead of whether your chronic pain flares will be manageable today.

But my friends are smart, and they’re funny, and they’re still learning about themselves and the world. We share the lessons we learn in therapy, rant about the newest show, and dig into the reasons why we liked or disliked something so that next time we can save ourselves the frustration earlier, or start on something else much faster. We’re taking up new hobbies, developing new skills, trying genders and pronouns and sexuality to see if one fits closer, truer to our Self, updating our language and celebrating the challenge to be kinder, be better.

With the momentum we’ve built, I don’t see all of that stopping soon. The historical non-fiction I read on various subjects shows me that humans have changed very little in some significant ways, so I reflect that with my views of the world and myself into my writing.

In the Unwoven Tapestry novels, Donovan brings a wealth of experience to the table, conscious or unconscious. He has learned lessons that are best understood over time and, while he has plenty of human flaws like the rest of us, he is comfortable in his strengths and who he is. I firmly believe that compassion is a sign of maturity, and Donovan has a lot of compassion.


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