Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Age Angst

An agent on Twitter was having a hard time with what I assume was a submission.

The female character in this submission had her head on straight. Strong, educated, good looking. The male character had his head on straight. Strong, educated, good looking.

The agent's issue was that the female was twenty-five and the male, forty-two. Their relationship wasn't being billed as a woman looking for a father-figure, or a man trying to hold onto his youth and be seen with nice looking eye-candy. The conflict in the story was centered elsewhere.

But the age difference of this couple bugged the agent.

A different example of age angst: I've heard arguments (excuses?) over and over about what publishing houses are looking for and what they're rejecting based on the ages represented by the protags. But hey, I read Harry Potter and loved them. I also loved Emily Pollifax and Miss Marple. The story ruled, and the skill with which the characters were drawn made me care about them regardless of their age.

Do you think there is something to this, or is it just an excuse to reject a story?

CR: Angel's Tip by Alafair Burke.

It's all better with friends.


  1. I think there's something beautiful about a Maqy/December relationship. My father-in-law, (who just turned 100 in November!)married a woman almost 30 years his junior back in 1983, three years after my husband's mother passed away. They've had a lovely marriage.
    Would it sell as fiction? Probably not, at least not that much of an age difference. On the other hand, it depends on the story the writer wanted to tell.
    My 3-cents-worth. :)

  2. Now that's what I call an age difference.

    I was 19 when I met the LOML. He was 35. We've been together 36 years. But would I want to read it in fiction? Dunno.

    As you say, story rules.

  3. I have seen that age difference in a novel at some point -- maybe it was a historical romance though. Maybe that agent's limitations were he/she just didn't know how to sell a novel with that age difference (the 25 & 42 year old) or else the agent felt it an unnecessary impediment? Seems to me like it might have added variety to the characters since they might have had wider pools of friends. I was surprised to find that my own personal soul mate is 15 years older than I am but everybody thinks we are the same age as we share the same interests and views on most issues. (And as the years have gone by he actually looks younger than most males who are my exact age.)

  4. LOL. I have to say that on one hand, I love that my husband looks and acts so young. I tease him that having a young wife helps. On the other hand, I miss people thinking he robbed the cradle like they used to. {sigh}