So I’m sitting here right now, working on Sacred Heart (I may need to retitle that lest someone thinks it’s a religious book, but I have no ideas what to replace Heart with), and all I can think about is how to show the vulnerability doesn’t mean weakness.
For the uninitiated, Sacred Blood is about Juliette’s 18th year, when, soon after aging out of the foster system, she’s in an abusive relationship, escapes, and, rather than being saved, saves others and herself in the process. She reclaims her life as her own. It was important to me that she not stick with, or try to defend, abuse, throughout the book, but yet for her to also show a lot of victims stay in bad situations. She turns from victim to survivor, partly through being the one to initiate escape, and going on to become a leader in a supernatural battle. I’m pretty proud of how I wrapped up the relationship aspect of that book since I didn’t want to send the message that a woman is only complete if she has a man.
Sacred Heart shows the next three years of her life, when she’s struck out on her own. I show her building her life, building a career in films, which include things she doesn’t necessarily enjoy, but that’s work for you. She has a couple relationships in this book as part of her process of self-discovery, and through it, learns self-sacrifice for the sake of family, and that she has more family than she thought.
So we’ve got her early time, her self-discovery, and the third book is meant to show her starting her own little family with an unplanned pregnancy, still working on letting go of her past, dealing with emotions she didn’t realize could so easily surface, and just generally having to grow up in more ways than she bargained for. Something I want to show is that it’s okay to be vulnerable and let others take care of you. As someone who has a lot of medical issues, and unfortunately has to rely on my husband more than I really like to admit, I know it can be harder to let go, and let someone else do the things I can’t do for myself at the time. But the balance I need to strike with Juliette is not to have her look weak to seem like she’s regressed into childhood. While pregnant, one of the literal demons from her past returns. So she is vulnerable, and necessarily isolated for protection. This would be a tough thing for most people. Yet her isolation leaves her exposed in many ways.
Each book presents a different stage in her life, and right now I feel I have vulnerable and afraid turns into finding strength, strength turns into take total charge, and vulnerable in a…well, right now I fear it is showing her as helpless, even though she’s not. Despite her isolation, she’s still wanting to be entirely independent, which sometimes comes out in ways that are more petulant than anything. She’s just plain in a tough situation.
I really like what I have so far, at least story-wise. I’m just concerned I have be going too far in one direction that it’s not balanced. In a trilogy that’s meant to show a woman as not a weakling and not spineless, I’m afraid I may have written myself into a corner where she could easily become just that.
Well, it’s a challenge, figuring out how to get out of this corner without pulling any cheater deus ex machina moves, and if there’s anything I embrace, it’s a challenge.