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The Life and Mind of DamnBlackHeart
This is to help me stay actively writing. So expect to see rants, tips on writing, thoughts on subjects, me complaining of boredom, reviews, anime, movies, video games, conventions, tv shows and whatever life throws at me.
The Maturity (Or the Lack Of) in Immortal Beings
Many people may not have thought about this aspect, when it comes to immortal creatures. Depending on the seriousness of the genre in which they appear in, those with a very long lifespan are not going to be in the same state of mind as normal humans. That is obvious enough, but I'm specifically talking about their level of maturity.

When you think about it a vampire (or any other immortal being) isn't going to be childish forever. For example, a 300 year old vampire who looks like they're 17. Just because they "look" 17 doesn't mean they would act like it. It just doesn't make sense for them to be immature, to do stupid things and have no common sense. You would think that of all the years they have been "living" they would have learned so much and be very experience in most things. Actually, a perfect example of this is Claudia from Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire.

When she was turned, she was just a young child. It at first didn't matter to her because she was still young in mind and hadn't been a vampire for long. But as the years added up, she became increasing frustrated. Her mind matured into that of an adult woman but she felt trapped in her child body. She will always be viewed as a child. She will never get to experience the joys of adulthood. And because of that, it was understandable that her actions, her thoughts, and behavior was unbalance.

I'm not saying that you can't have an immortal being act immature but there needs to be a reason for it. You can't just have them behave like they're 15 years old, without ANY change to their state of mind when they have been an immortal for a very long time.

So when you write about an immortal being, there's a couple of things that you need to think about for their character development.

For example, lets say a vampire, he’s 200 years old and still acts like an angsty teenager. The excuse for his behavior is that it’s his hormones, because his teenage body is forever stuck in that state. But what the writers seem to forget is that 200 years ago, someone his age could get married and would be treated as, and act as, an adult member of society.

Two hundred years ago, teens knew how to run a house, farm, and would be married by 16. The average 13 year old girls life was up shortly after dawn, milking, feeding the chickens, washing, cooking breakfast, sewing, going to the market, making lunch, watching younger siblings/cousins, bringing in the cow and chickens, cooking dinner, doing dishes and be in bed by nine. For a boy he would be doing work on a farm or in a factory or down in a mine, or in a shop perhaps. Even some labor work. Some working class boys would be apprenticed to skilled artisans, like builders, carpenters, blacksmiths, and plumbers.

The point is, if he was acting the way he was now during then, it would be unrealistic. There is no reason for him to act childish just because 200+ years have gone by. Blaming his behavior on hormones is a petty excuse because he would have had plenty of time to get the handle of it. He has had many lifetime of being an adult, or at least being treated as such, so why would he start behaving exactly like a typical modern teenager? It’s not the character’s fault. Sometimes writers forget that they shouldn’t put modern behavior onto an immortal without an actual reason for it. Writers don’t realize that there needs to be an explanation of why the characters are the way they are.

Maybe they pretend to act that way because it’s how society now views them as. As long as they play along, no one will suspect their truth intentions and/or they won’t know that they aren’t normal. Or if a writer truly wants to use the excuse of an immortal acting childish because they’re stuck at a stage of puberty, than don’t forget that it’s the mind that’s the important factor of immaturity. The body matures much faster than the brain. After all, it is said by scientist that the brain doesn’t reach full maturity/development until the age of 25. But than again, not everyone is the same, some are much more maturer than others. And it also depends on the time period and what kind of childhood that the immortal being had. Like I mention earlier. society was very different a hundred years ago.

It’s also possible that they purposely do it to mess with people’s minds and they take advantage of the fact that they look young. Or maybe they are an immortal race, such as an elf or fairy or whatever else, that ages differently and for their species, a 500 year old (or however old) is the equivalent of a teenager. So to them it wouldn’t be unusual.

There are also some writers that decide to stunt their immortal being’s state of mind. For example, instead of letting them grow as time passes, they keep them permanently stuck in the way they were like when first turned. So a child vampire would stay as a child, not grow up mentally like Anne’s Rice’s Claudia did. This would understandable make sense and excuse the vampire for not being mature. However, it’s not something that writers like to do with their vampires because it’s not often that readers like them. Being unable to grow, not just physically, but mentally doesn’t bode well. Such character would have a harder time adjusting and adapting to changes and understanding the younger generations. In turn, it would be harder for readers to connect with the character or care to read about them.

Whatever the reason, never forget to make it clear as to why your character acts the way they do. You don’t have to explain, but show it in the story or hint at it.

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