I’ve got a problem with grannies. And possibly with aunties. Fictional ones, obviously.
I mean, they’re nice enough (if that’s what they are meant to be). But they are frequently so old!
My thought was that authors have forgotten that grandparents these days are much younger than they were. Except, they’re not really, are they? They might seem younger [in real life] because us oldies are now so cool-looking and dress like almost teenagers and we have younger hair.
But the grandparents of the past had no reason for being old. Many married young, had children young, and so did their children. Hence, the fictional grandchildren’s grannies ought not to be all that wrinkly. In fact, what with people marrying later and having children later, now would be more logical for fictional grandparents to be really old.
Except, there is something about this that brings out my OCD traits. If I have a ten-year-old character and their grandfather, who is so old and so close to dying because of being old, I start counting. I count to see how old grandpa is likely to be. Often it seems as though he shouldn’t even be the wrong side of 60.
And aunts, too. Especially if they’re meant to be a bit disagreeable. But when the fictional mother might be early forties, why should her sister be all that much older? And why does she have a not age-appropriate name? If she’s 48, say, the likelihood of her having a name more commonly found in women in their seventies or older…
I wonder if it’s because the author is old, by which I mean they are not a child. So they pick a granny, or a name for the aunt based on their own grannies and aunts. If the aunt has to be quite unpleasant, she could still be so while being called Tamsin, and not Hilda. And kill the granny by means of an illness, and not just old age, if you feel they must die.