But this one is different. Haven't changed the context of the story only the characters age. Ah. Age. I've struggled with this. First the protagonists was 12, then 14, then 11, then back to 12. Now she's 14. Why the change? Well, I've wanted this book to be a middle grade. Something 5th graders and up could and would read. I was fearful of treading into 14 year old waters...think Gossip Girls. Not for me.
Twelve seemed like the perfect age. But sending a twelve year old off to a boarding school fifteen hundred miles away from home was a stretch for most readers. They felt she acted more mature than a twelve year old would. Perhaps she should miss her family more...but for me that meant writing about family situations. Didn't want that to be the basis of my story. I've always envision the book to be about girls, the trouble they can get themselves into, the drama, the control issues, etc. Soooo, I reconsidered making Dree 14 again.
But here's the twist. She's arriving at Greenwood Academy for ninth grade where as most girls begin their training in seventh grade. She's entering into an established social hierarchy. She's the new girl...fresh from a small town and hungry for success.
I don't have to change many plot lines. The story is there, but I get to change what she sees and how she views her new world. I get to change the reactions of those around her. Why is Cameron so eager to befriend Dree on the first day? Why does everyone tread lightly around William? And what about Zoe? How does she become Dree's nemesis? Instead of Cameron, William and Zoe beginning Greenwood Academy alongside Dree, they have two years under their belts. Dree is really the new kid at school. Changes a lot.
And totally more fun.