Jarvis was the brother of my heroine in Betsy Flowain. Once during the rough draft phrase, he actually stole the title from my main character because, I realize now, he was the most interesting character in that book. I often said that if I ever re-wrote Betsy it would be from Jarvis's point of view. It's not that Betsy wasn't likable, she was just...boring. Anyway, so this story starts with his existence.
I started to write this book called The Bow--a copy of which only one person in the entire universe has (that is, my #1 fan Leah)--at this time, I was actually thinking about Betsy Flowain and about Jarvis. If you're a writer, you'll get this next bit. If you're not, sorry, this is really how I think. I couldn't help this feeling that Jarvis was intolerably bored over in his "finished" novel where he was the only character that had real life. And he was bugging me. So, I thought, "what the heck, I'll stick him in this novel." I re-named him as Gervais, and put him in The Bow to pacify him. He was supposed to only be around a little, you know, a very minor character. Just to quiet him.
Then he jumped onto a frozen brook to save my heroine, Rosamond, from drowning. After which I fell in love with him. And found out he wasn't Jarvis. He just looked like him. CONFUSION GALORE!!
After the monstrosity that was The Bow, I started on Etched in Black, which was basically the same book from Yvette's POV--except it was in third person...Gervais kept "stealing the show" when I switched to following him around. And, so, again...
Now the book has the ironic title of Worthless, and was told from the first-person POV of Gervais. Which, if you remember, I dropped in late June because of story goal problems. However, when I first found myself plunging into the first person perspective of a BOY, I kinda freaked out. This is important, because...
Why am I dragging you through the labyrinth of some of my creative process? Well, one reason is because (some of) you asked for it. The other (real) reason is because I'm a little in awe. Until I discovered this, I still felt like The Bow/Etched in Black/Worthless was really a little worthless. Sure, I still have plans for finishing it eventually, but I've written something like 120,000 words on it and have nothing to show for it.
Now noticing this, it again shows me how writing builds. How each story I've attempted or succeeded at has bolstered and pushed the next one higher.
And, once again, how nothing is wasted.
Have you ever fallen into the trap of considering old and failed novels wasted effort? Do you still see them that way?
P.S. If any of you are feeling sorry for Hywel 'cause I put a baby announcement under his name...I do too. It was just too funny not to miss. And he says it's okay. He guesses. And "hey, you're writing that?!"
Why yes I am. Readers, meet Hywel. Hywel, meet readers.
Hywel: Robin's right. You are annoying.