Finished writing the second chapter of the book I started at the beginning of this month. It’s not going too quickly. Not sure why. I have time to work on it right now; just haven’t really felt like it (except for the times I did feel like it and did so).
The new chapter is only 1,750 words long, bringing the manuscript to 5,429 words now. You get to see the inspiration for Megan’s drawings (though I don’t make that 100% clear until I guess the end of the chapter), and you get to meet her sister, Dyane.
I’m not sure what I think about her. She’s not quite what I expected, though that’s pretty common for me when I think up characters and then write them down. I’m a little worried that she’ll come across like a stereotype.
An earlier book of mine, Finding Mulligan, is New Adult but I entered it as YA in a contest once. One of the judges praised me for actually having a YA heroine whose family life isn’t horrible. “The parents are married and aren’t at each other’s throats and nobody’s experiencing abuse! Bravo!” So I guess it’s kind of become a cliché that our YA leads are coming from broken or dysfunctional homes. I’m a little worried about that because not only does Megan live with neither parent–she lives with her older sister in a dubiously legal situation–but the sister is clearly not a competent guardian.
Which I think is realistic given her sister is only twenty-four, and it’s not like Megan is much younger. (She’s eighteen, so she doesn’t technically need a legal guardian, but before she turned eighteen, her sister was acting as her guardian.) I don’t want the story to be too stereotypical and rely on broken-family tropes to manufacture problems. The focus of this book isn’t honestly on Megan’s home life, but I’m sure it will figure in, because it has to.
I initially conceived Dyane as sort of emotionally abusive in her interaction with Megan, but as I thought about it more, I wanted them to have a much more complicated relationship, where Dyane isn’t exactly happy that she’s had so little time to be a child but she loves her sister and watches out for her in weird, sometimes misguided, sporadic ways. I wanted there to be some clear love there even if her sister’s very immature.
I think the sisters’ interaction came out pretty good though. Megan’s clearly executing a practiced series of actions while dealing with her sister, which suggests her emotional state coming home at 3 AM is not uncommon at all, and Megan makes concessions for her sister that she doesn’t for others. I’m just not sure if this is a good place for this interaction yet, though. I’ll figure out how to arrange these chapters later, I’m sure, and I did want to get Dyane on the page as soon as I could, but now that it’s written, it kind of feels like a lull and I worry about whether it will mess with the pacing.
I have to send Megan to school in Chapter 3 so wish me luck.