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What is the Youngest a Child Could be and Survive Homeless and Alone?

I’m writing a story in which a character lived ostensibly alone on the street until they were taken in and adopted at a rather young age(<10yo). 

What is the youngest that character could have started living alone on the street where they would have no memory of not living on the street or of having any parental figure and be able to survive for several years?

Additionally, this story takes place in a contemporary fantasy world. So the issue of warmth could be somewhat mitigated by the use of fire magic. Although the use of magic takes energy in the same way that physical activity does. (Also small child + fire don’t often mix)

2 Answers

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  • 1 month ago

    As a writer, you need to learn how to do your own research, so look at real life stories.

    Asking here is not a good way to do it, first of all, you have no idea of what our credentials are. I could make a guess and say six years old, but I could be wrong and you would have no way of knowing it.

    Second of all, you'd have to take our word for it and you would not be able to defend the child's age to critical readers beyond "People on Yahoo Answers! told me so".

    Third of all, like you are already aware of, since you're explaining part of your world building, much will depend on temperature, how easily available food and water is, that kind of thing. The problem is that we don't know your world as intimately as you do.So set aside an afternoon and google things like "street children" and "children living alone" to get a better idea of what age would be realistic.

    E.g. Hope the toddler from Nigeria was living on the streets, alone, until Anja Ringgren Lovén found him, but he would probably not have survived for much longer had they not met. So that's an example of a child probably needing to be older than that in order to survive for several years.

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  • Andrew
    Lv 7
    1 month ago

    So you're writing a work of fantasy, but you're incapable of deciding on a minor plot point such as a number. Definitely put me down for a signed copy. You're well on your way to being the next Mervyn Peake, aren't you? 

    How about this - get a fecking die and roll the goddamn thing. Then use the number you get as the start point. 

    If you roll a "1" and aren't happy with it, then roll again. If you roll a "2" the next time, and you're still not happy with it, you might be answering your own question. 

    And what in Hell is wrong with the inhabitants of this world that you created that over the span of years not a single one of them felt compelled to take in a homeless child, or at the very least to see that the child was placed under the care of somebody who could provide for them? 

    Do you people ever do any actual thinking or do you just let the story run away with itself and then spend an eternity patching all of the continent sized holes in your plot?   

    • Lv 4
      1 month agoReport

      Did you just like your own answer?

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