Early Draft Foibles
Back in 2010, there was a Goldfrapp song in the charts. You couldn’t turn on the radio without hearing all about rockets and, to be quite frank, the song got on my nerves. It’s no surprise that it made it into the second draft of the novel that eventually became Such Crooked Wood, though my protagonist diverged from me by not really minding it. At some point along the way, the allusion disappeared from the novel, but the essence remained in my head at least.
Early drafts of novels yield treasures when you look back through them. There’s so much that’s developed into something better and elements that once seemed important have fallen by the wayside. I have to confess, there’s one character I scrapped from the early drafts and I almost regret it - Meg the cat. Meg was a stray adopted by a stray, but she didn’t work in the final story so she had to wander off elsewhere. I’m hopeful that she might stray into another novel sometime, perhaps when a character needs her more than Lily did.
There were other characters who didn’t make the cut, including one who my first reader absolutely hated. Looking back, I now dislike him too, but maybe that’s just her reaction rubbing off on me over the years. It’s true I’m considering putting him into a novel later on, but he may be a dastardly adversary rather than the sweet fella I’d first envisioned him to be.
How you take a novel from first concept to first draft all the way through to the final release is a different process for all writers. I wonder how many cats and characters have fallen by the wayside during those journeys.