The ghosts of old drafts

In some ways, the whole preliminary exploratory draft of TE was about simply figuring out that my protagonist had run away from something she shouldn’t have run from. So much is changing in the second draft, right down to the specifics of why the protagonist is running.

And yet other bits of the story keep finding their way from that exploratory draft back into the first real draft of the story, too, in unexpected ways.

Some bits are getting tossed for good, though (or at least until they find another story), and some of those I’m a little sorry to lose–like this one:

“Is she your girlfriend?”

“Not anymore,” he said.

“Did you know–” my voice trailed off.

“That she was making plans to kidnap you to some realm of the gods? That she even could do such a thing? That by telling her I’d met you I was helping her find you? Oh, yeah, sure, I knew all of that, and I still offered to take her to the movies Friday nights.”

None of that fits for the story I’m now writing, at all–M isn’t even the sort of character who could have a boyfriend anymore, and there really is no realm of the gods anymore, either, and there only sort of ever was.

But the ghost of the old story still haunts the new one. Some part of me never fully forgets that M and A had a thing going at one point, and even though that doesn’t even make sense now, it will still probably affect the story I’m actually writing in subtle ways.

I wonder whether all the stories we write are quietly haunted by–and quietly influenced by–all the stories we decide not to write.

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