The Magic and Terror of Early Adulthood

Adobe Kroger, like the protagonist of my webcomic Molly Beans, is 22 years of age at the start of her story.  Another main character that will star in an upcoming audio drama I’m developing is roughly the same age. This isn’t a coincidence; it’s a very deliberate choice, one made mainly because of the implications presented by that brief window of time in a young person’s life.  In keeping with the theme of an earlier post, I’m using something I know.

What is it, in my view, that is distinct about a person’s life between the ages of 18-22?  Granted, it’s not a hard and fast rule, nor is it set in stone, nor is it universal, and all of that standard disclosure stuff.  But what is it that I find most intriguing about it as a writer and artist?  Why is it my go-to age range for my protagonists?

Here’s how I see it.

At that point in a young person’s life, their entire adult life lies before them, and their entire childhood and adolescence lies behind them.  It is, at the same time, a period of exhilarating liberation from the dependence of childhood, replete with endless possibility.   It is also a period of terrifying uncertainty, removed from the comfort of childhood, replete with endless possibility.

Your life is now your own, and, like a blank canvas or sheet of paper sitting before an artist or writer, it will contain nothing but that which you add yourself.  On one hand, you can do as you please.  On the other hand, you can do as you please, you are in control, and its all your fault.  Your brain is also reaching its final stages of maturity, so you are truly becoming the person you will be for the rest of your life.

When I was much younger, I was enthralled with the sight of train tracks.  Yes, train tracks.  The image of those paired metal beams converging on a distant horizon, or bending around a curve to an unseen destination beyond was endlessly fascinating.  Looking back it’s clear that I was drawn to them for the same reasons as I’m now drawn to depicting the lives of young adult protagonists.  They represented an escape from the familiar into the unknown, and all of the good and bad that implies.

I think that, as a writer, depicting how a young person handles this transitional period, whether successfully or not, offers a fount of opportunity for rich character development, conflict, growth, maturation, and drama.

Have a look at Adobe Kroger, and let me know if you think I did a good job!

Thanks for reading.

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