First, this is a YA novel but I realized I'm writing the main character too much like an adult. The protagonist is eighteen and it's been a hard eighteen years but I start the story with him already living on his own, out of school and working at a job.
That all made sense to me but my wife mentioned that it may not be relatable. That turned a lightbulb on in my head. I'm sure there are teenaged readers out there who have jobs. But I don't think very many of them are out on their own, out of school and living like an adult.
I made my character but I didn't make him a teenager. I didn't make him relatable to a YA audience. Now, maybe some of the readers will look at Simon, living on his own, not beholding to anyone and project themselves onto that. I know I really, really wanted to be on my own when I was 17 or 18. So I'm not sure how much more I need to add to the beginning. But I do think I need something there, something in that first 10% of the pagecount to establish my character and to show him dealing with one or two challenges that kids his age and a few years younger really deal with.
See, I didn't think I needed that for my plot but I'm realizing that I do need to ground my character in familiar settings and relationships before I get him dragged off, blackmailed and on the run.
So, I'll need to re-write the opening chapters. But first, I need to finish the first draft. That will give me an idea of the rough page count and give me an idea of how many pages I'll have at my disposal before everything changes for Simon.