The road to a finished book is littered with discarded characters. As subplots are cut and the main character’s story is streamlined, some characters no longer serve a purpose in the book and are bid farewell.
In an earlier version of A Strange Companion, Kat had a second brother. He was the Golden Child with the perfect family, who could do no wrong in Kat’s mother’s eyes. But he and his family didn’t serve the story, so they were cut and Jon inherited some of his former brother’s traits.
In another draft, Kat sought spiritual counsel from an elderly Chinese woman who had strange mystical powers and operated from a dusty old shop on a backstreet. She was a wonderful character, but I needed Kat to get more pragmatic advice and a bump back down to reality, and so Marjorie Gladstone took over the role.
One of my favorite characters, now residing in the character graveyard, is Victoria, Kat’s classmate and a potential rival for Owen’s affections, or so Kat believed. In fact, Victoria, with her huge purple glasses and plummy private school speech, was an innocent, completely oblivious to the effect she had on men. But after the “watch incident” and Kat and Owen’s break-up, Kat went to Owen’s dorm room to apologize, only to find Victoria sitting cross-legged on Owen’s bed, supposedly getting help with her chemistry homework. Although nothing ever transpired between Owen and Victoria, she raised the stakes for Kat, showing that Owen had other options if Kat didn’t get her act together.
Victoria was part of a storyline that would have thrown Kat and Owen together at a conference later in the book and forced them to decide if they had a future together. But alas, the conference would have taken Kat away from Mai and the main storyline of the book, and so it—and Victoria—bit the literary dust.
I do miss Victoria and many of the characters and scenes that didn’t make the cut. But I’ve kept all their scenes, and maybe they’ll make a comeback in another story. Who knows?