Writing: Why Age Shouldn’t Matter

I found a notebook recently while going through my desk. In it are blogs I had written and planned on posting but never did… probably because I’d misplaced the notebook. I’m going to go through some of these posts, edit them, and get them up eventually. This particular topic had been submitted by Elisa Bell.

I once heard someone commenting on a story they’d read. They extolled the narration, called the plot inventive, said the characters were lively. “Overall, it was quite wonderful for something written by a fifteen-year-old.”

I’ve never quite understood that phrase: “It’s quite good for a…” Would you think it wasn’t so good if the author was older? What makes it good, but not good enough to be held to the usual standards of goodness? What would you think of the story if you had no idea how old the author was?

If there is some alternate set of standards for young authors, where’s the cutoff? When does an author start being measured by the “normal” set of standards? High-school graduation? Legal maturity? Legal drinking age? The birth of their first child? At what point does one stop being a junior author and start being an author?

Honestly, age shouldn’t matter. You either like a book or you don’t. To judge by something as transitory as age is ridiculous. I know sixteen-year-olds who have seen more in life than some thirty-year olds.I’ve read books by middle aged authors that were horrible and some books by teenage authors that were just was bad; but I’ve also read books by both groups that blew my mind. In the same way you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover, you shouldn’t judge a story by its author. Let the tale speak for itself and then like or dislike it for itself, not the person who wrote it.

3 thoughts on “Writing: Why Age Shouldn’t Matter

  1. Kamille Elahi

    This is like when I handed a piece of writing into my teacher. He said he was surprised at my writing and that I wrote like Kafka. At that point, I didn't even know who he was but after I read some of his work, I walked around for a week with a perma-smile on my face.

    But I have read some books by adults that seem like they were written by a 2 year old.

  2. Sera Phyn

    I love teachers like that, the ones who recognize and attempt to nurture talent. If everyone had at least one teacher like that, the world would be a much better place.


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