“I glanced down briefly at the soft, olive-toned skin of my own hands before running them through my hair, which was now completely red itself thanks to the last three months I’d spent in the Helian Protector Camp, training. I was laid back on the sofa in front of the roaring fire in my lounge waiting, as usual, for the triplets to show.”
Triplets. In my initial draft, Avery was one of three. So what happened to her siblings? I wrote them out over time because they just didn't fit into the plot as it evolved. But sometimes I feel nostalgic about those early characters, so this is a blog post dedicated to the ones who didn't make it:
Disclaimer: All of the quotes in this post were written when I was between the ages of 15 and 17. I’m checking it for errors, but otherwise not changing anything. Please don’t judge me too strongly on the quality of the writing!
Riley (who was later renamed Josh, before I got rid of him completely). My original introduction of him was:
“His hair was almost completely red now; the flecks of onyx were getting fewer and fewer everyday as his powers progressed … He looked almost completely different to the boy that I’d known three months ago; that boy had been slowly erased over weeks and weeks of intensive training: target practice; physical conditioning; fire manipulation; control. The only resemblance the boy sat before me had with my Riley, my cousin, who I’d grown up with, plotted and played pranks with, teased endlessly about his tall but scrawny figure, was his eyes: still the same deep, americano coffee brown as mine and Avery’s and Darcy’s, in fact, pretty much our whole family. They were so dark they were almost black, blurring into his pupils, yet his gaze was still soft, comforting; it said trust me, I won’t hurt you, I want to look after you. That’s why even the non-protectors in the Royal family always got their way: you didn't need to worry about words, or tone of voice, when all you needed to do was look at someone to make them listen to you.”
Riley was a good friend for Roxy and a potential love interest. The latter was what did for him – I needed Roxy to be more isolated. So I introduced a darker, less desirable love interest through Cinaer. Some of Riley’s nicer and more useful traits were given to Vincent and Avery (another reason that he had to go – there were just too many characters fulfilling the same purpose in my original draft).
Darcy I don’t have a lot to say about Darcy, which justifies their removal from the series really. One of my very initial ideas for Fire was to have Brae sent to the Helian Realm to marry one of their Princesses. In a bid to put him off, Darcy was going to act like a psychopath throughout their stay:
“I’m going to spend the month acting like a psychopath – muttering darkly to myself whenever I’m in ear shot and laughing evilly every time I look at him. All you guys have to do is convince him that, if he marries me, there’s a good chance that I might murder him before we've been married a week.”
She had a few fun moments, but when I realised that the arranged marriage plot line didn't make a lot of sense, there’s wasn't space for her in the story – it was rare that she appeared without Avery, so everything she said or did that I wanted to keep was just linked in to Avery’s character instead. Before getting rid of her completely, I did try replacing her with another guy – Nate – but I quickly felt that he didn't work either so he went too.
Boyd Was an Arcan Protector. He lasted the longest and actually made it into my first finished draft. However, the Arcan group just seemed to busy – there was too much going on and not quite enough space to accommodate them, especially after it was suggested to me that Brody and Devon ought to get a little more space in the book. So Cameron and Boyd were merged into one character and Brody went to the Helian Realm with Jasmine.
Elliot sort of made it into the book, but with a dramatically reduced role. He was supposed to befriend Jasmine on her trip to the Helian Realm, but I decided that it was too long a tangent for the plot and also gave me more romantic issues than I was interested in. Once I had decided that Brody was going to the Helian Realm with her, he was also completely unnecessary. However – some of my initial ideas for Elliot can be seen in Kit, one of the new characters from Water. He fits in much better there.
Unfortunately, soon after making these changes I started to read the Game of Thrones series, and wondered if I had got my character strategy completely backwards. But looking back at them now, I can still see why they needed to go and am pleased that they did.