In Which I Write Another Spooky Adorable Child


My nano project is a fictional blog from the POV of an 8 year old tree spirit. I did some test posts. His entries are around 300 words. I’ll have to rethink project timeline and structure.
My original idea was to do one entry a day for the month of November, and I can still do that, but honestly I could write all of them in about a week. There’s not much “challenge” in that, and I need a longer body of prose to really dig into the growth arc. Now I’m thinking I might just set a loose goal to blog through a year of his life.

I don’t know that I would ever publish these as more than a blog, but I’ll have some issues if/when I try to write Noah’s actual story.  (Which would be marketed for adults, because I don’t think the topics suit young kids’ books; there’s a lot of Dickensian Orphan going on.)

In the first place, he’s emotionally about 8, possibly even younger because he hasn’t had a lot of adult support or encouragement, but intellectually older and has a range of experiences that typical Westernized kids don’t have. Like, it’s no big deal for him to spend a day wandering through a magic forest or go to a library in the city by himself because he’s used to taking care of himself and would hate it if his (recently adoptive) parents tried to keep him on a leash. He does have some supervision throughout the day in the form of his dog — who is magical and basically functions like an animal companion in a Disney movie, but the two of them get up to a lot of mischief. I’m not sure it’s clear from the test posts so far that Noah’s parents are actually doing a good thing by letting him have the freedom to wander as much as he does. (Or that Shah is actually a parent-appointed babysitter.)

There’s another thing where his blog topics range from gross humor about snot to musings about whether it’s socially appropriate to pee off of his back porch to mermaid legends, King Arthur, and connections between Christianity, numerology and the origins of Friday the 13th.

Here’s a sample from yesterday. (I must have known this from somewhere, but he just randomly started talking about it without my conscious involvement. Welcome to my writing process.)
Hi guys. It’s Noah. I found out that a lot of people on Earth have superstitions about Friday the 13th. I wondered what the origin of Friday the 13th was, and it turns out that nobody knows.

Near as anybody can figure, Friday the 13th wasn’t a scary thing until sometime in the 1800s. Some people say the idea of it comes from the Last Supper in Christianity where there were 13 guests at the table and then Jesus was crucified on the next day which was a Friday.

There’s a whole thing in numerology where 12 equals to protection and perfection. So 13 is kind of awkward and off with an extra digit there. It makes it have weird energy. In numerology, a lot of things come in threes, sixes, and sevens. So 13 is like one too much (6+6 = 12) or one too small (7+7 = 14) I think that’s prolly closer to the real origin, and Christianity added to it. Numerology is older, but Christianity has a lot of folk traditions and superstitions that came in during the Middle Ages cause nobody could read.

…I don’t know how I know any of this numerology stuff. I didn’t look that up. I just looked up Friday the 13th origin stuff. I need to ask Caleb. Talk to you later, bloggies.

There’s a couple more here and here on Noah Woods Live.

I got some flack for stuff like this when I wrote Star Wars too, where young characters would have harsh and vastly different life experiences (having been slaves, living through war, having access to advanced scientific knowledge and mysterious metaphysical forces, etc) but my audience would expect them to think and behave like American children whose biggest problem is some tough math homework. I was a primary caregiver for my siblings since I was about 8 or 9, so my expectations for kids’ behavior is probably at the other end of the spectrum. It’s difficult for me to find ways to let my audience know that his behavior is not supposed to be “average American little boy.” Anything that would make that clearer would be helpful.

I’m not interested in changing Noah or making him sound more like a typical eight-year-old.
I am interested in reader perceptions of him and especially how old he sounds because I can’t put my finger on it. I think if I was reading his blog without knowing it was fictional, I would assume he was 11 or 12, but even that is sketchy since he talks about having trouble reading but he has really good grasp of language and clearly likes to write for an audience.