Since I'm figuring I'll be hearing from my editor and/or about my agent pretty soon about Blood Wounds, and since the alternative was moving things out of my entertainment center, in preparation for the arrival of the new entertainment center which will hold my shiny new TV set in a couple of weeks, I spent this morning rereading Blood Wounds.
I don't think it's a spoiler to say it's fabulous and my editor and/or agent had better agree with this assessment.
Actually, I don't think anything I'm about to write is a spoiler, since I'm committed to not revealing hardly anything about the plot until I absolutely have to, but I am going to write a bit about the book, so those of you who hate knowing anything and intend to read the book when it comes out a year and a half from now and might remember what I've written today, consider yourselves forewarned.
My heroine, Willa, a junior in high school, has two stepsisters, Brooke, who's a year older than she is, and Alyssa who is two years younger. Alyssa is a nationally ranked junior tennis player. Willa sings in her school choir. But Brooke's interests have changed from first draft to today.
Brooke and Alyssa's father is a sports reporter, and I wanted his daughters to be athletic, (which, now that I think about it is pretty funny because the couple of sports reporters I've known haven't been athletic at all, unless talking is a sport in which case sign me up for the Olympics). Anyway, I pictured their father, Jack, as being sufficiently athletic that it would be a connection between him and his daughters if they were too.
In the first draft, the first hundred or so pages which my editor and agent read last fall, Brooke played softball. She also played the violin, mentored, and was active in Special Olympics. Brooke was one of those golden girls who everyone legitimately loves. And I needed the Special Olympics for part of the never to be disclosed plot.
But when I got back to writing, Brooke became thornier and less lovable. I was a little taken aback, but I let Brooke say what she wanted, even if it wasn't very nice, because it provided more conflict, which is a good thing in a plot.
The problem was the thornier Brooke became, the less the Special Olympics part of the subplot became plausible. So I changed things. There are two big bad things that happen in Blood Wounds, the second of which had involved (peripherally) the Special Olympics. So I rewrote the first hundred pages to alter the second big bad thing. It's still big and bad and the most essential part of its big baddedness remained the same, but there was no need for the Special Olympics anymore. Which meant Brooke didn't have to be so do-goodish.
And once Brooke stopped being so do-goodish, she switched sports from softball to lacrosse. It's amazing how a simple change in sports reflects so much about character and class. Lacrosse is a far more elite sport than softball. Even the sound, the hard "c" is classier than the "s" in softball.
Since Brooke was no longer involved in Special Olympics, she had more time. I let her keep playing the violin, but I gave her dressage for a hobby.
Blood Wounds has always been a book about family, with money running through the action. But just by changing what Brooke does for fun made the focus on money that much stronger. She now has an elite sport and an expensive hobby. Of course, so does tennis playing Alyssa, but with Alyssa, it's more like a job, or at least an apprenticeship.
Blood Wounds is Willa's book. There are three occasions where we see Willa singing, and her pleasure at being in the choir is an integral part of the story. We never see Brooke playing lacrosse or riding her horse or Alyssa playing tennis.
But the choices of those activities are reflective, if not of their characters, then of their characters' place in the world. A place that Willa knows intimately but isn't a part of. And that sense of being a part of yet not truly belonging is a great deal of what Blood Wounds is about.
Now I just hope my editor and/or agent see it that way also!