Thanks, Darren Stehle. I was working hard to tell the story while keeping three goals in mind.
First, stick to the facts. Write characters that reflect common reality. Queer homeless kids are usually on the street because of religiously-based family rejection. Further, though, these kids are very likely to have suffered physical or sexual abuse at home.
Second, I didn’t want to write a story that ended in stereotypical tragedy. No dead trans hero for me at the end. But obviously, I wanted my readers to be on edge and to doubt the outcome.
Third, I wanted to make sure that none of my characters get rescued. I intended to write them as strong, within the limits of their age, experience, and capacity.
I couldn’t have Marissa rescued by Pat and LT, and I couldn’t have Becky swooping in to the rescue either, even though she wanted to.
My characters had to stand up for themselves.
After all, if they’re running toward hope, they need to run, not be carried.