So I’ve written a lot in the crafting of children as believable characters but there is one characteristics that is present in all no matter how strange, how creepy, how weird and that my reader is annoyance. When writing about children you must include this, now a lot of the time you won’t even see that it’s there and only once you have taken a step back will you see the full picture. As it is a universal truth every child character has a tinge or a gallon of annoyance emanating from them, but how much of that annoyance that the character shows can differentiate to the liability to the readers.
Take Naruto from Naruto (A tale of a boy coming into his own power) on the spectrum of annoyance he is at the top just below Natsu from Black Clover. Naruto’s voice grates on your nerves, his stupid catchphrase and his brash immature nature can turn a lot of people off from watching the show but I find the people who are the same age as the character s find parts of themselves within him. As a majority of 12 year olds think they can do anything, just as Naruto can. If you read into Naruto backstory his behaviour is understandable, being a pariah in a ninja village because he has a demon trapped inside of him and because he was constantly ignored he does anything to get a reaction out of people, that’s why he acts like such a brat. The tragic history can tone down the annoyance a little for a few but he’s the character made for 12 year olds and not everyone can enjoy him, heck I even knew some kids who hated Naruto because of the way he acted, plus his eye burning orange jump suit was a real turn off for many, eye catching and metaphorical it may be but it just ups the annoyingness.
Now Greg from Over The Garden Wall (a journey about being lost and finding the way home) has what I call the middle type of annoyingness, which comes off as charming rather than annoying. The cavalier way in which he threw Cavendish’s penny’s into the pond, penny’s they needed to get on to the river boat to get Adelaide’s house to get back home, his constant positive attitude that can drown a person and general childishness that seems to emanate from him that makes you feel as innocent as he is, this could turn a lot of people off but for me I actually found his attitude amusing even endearing but never annoyed, his brightness managed to uplift the truly depressing parts of the show and it also helps that his general annoyingness only falls onto Wert his older brother and general stick in the mud. Wert who is a teenager 13 or 14 from my calculations? He’s trying to be mature but at other times he can be extremely juvenile. He’s the standard I want to be older type of individual as from his first few lines waxing poetically that they are lost he also has trouble with blame and it ends up putting it all on Greg some undeserved sometimes not and that allows our sympathies to mellow out his annoyingness and with Wert we have someone we can see ourselves as an older sibling constantly worrying and a little scared, especially now they are stuck in the unknown.
Of course there’s exception’s to this rule but they can come off as a little strange to the viewer. We get mixed reactions from the character Charlie Bucket from the film Charlie and The Chocolate Factory the 2008 remake (A story about a boy inheriting a chocolate factory). This Charlie has his annoyances removed by his desire to sell the golden ticket so his family will live better thusly he’s not selfish anymore and when you remove him drinking in the bubble room which is a disqualifier for him to own the factory you’ve removed the fact that he’s impulse a trait shared by most children, sure it’s annoying to watch that scene as uncle Joe leads him of the righteous path but he’s actually kid. In the remake he’s a kid and speaks like a kid but by getting rid these annoyances to the audience you’ve got a saint on your hands, he’s good and so he gets a reward for that but he’s not entirely realistic to a child.
I find that the realistically written children characters have their annoyances so minuscule that it takes repeat watching’s to actually identify them. Steven Universe (a tale about a boy coming into his own power with the help of his Mums friends) in the early seasons is identified like this by pearl, he has a light annoyance to his character that I find in most children such as repeatedly asking for things even though it can’t happen, trying to get everyone to eat there creations, trying to help people and half the time it works but not without some problems which causes escalations in a fun and goofy way. His annoying tendencies are down to earth and realistic, despite it being a cartoon.
If you want to write realistic kid what you have to do is combine annoyingness dependant on the environment they grew up in, spoiled rich kid super annoying, ignored orphan same result, a younger child you can have them extremely annoying depending on the attention they got or have them just generally annoying. In the end it’s all in the story that you want to write about and how to go about it. Let’s not kid ourselves here children can get on our nerves, generally drive us insane but when writing about them they must include annoyance otherwise they aren’t really kids they’re saints, it’s just how much you add either widens or closes their likeability to the reader.