First Draft versus Final DraftThe first draft of Leaves of Fall was written way back in 2011 or 2012. I don't remember the inspiration behind the story or why I set it aside. It never left my mind, though. When I opened it again in 2018, I knew there was a lot of work that needed to be done. Here are a few of the changes it went through to get to the story you can read today.
The first draft I went a little weird with names. I had parents naming their kids weird things. Rudyard was Highway and his little brother was Rug. At the time, my thinking had been parents were naming their kids exact location they were born. For example, Rug was born on a rug. Weird, I know. I scraped that idea and went with parents naming their kids after places from their past. So Highway became Rudyard and Rug was Canyon after the Grand Canyon.
Trees also got name changes. At first, I just named them all random tree names, but beta readers and editors found it jarring. When they heard the name, they thought of that tree and not the tree character.
Not all names changed. Armory, Mini, Pine, and Oak's names stayed the same. Birch, Silver, Alaska, Dahoon, and River all had different names. I changed Birch's the last because I was fond of the first name: Maple. I considered changing him to a Maple tree, but I wanted the unique appearance of birch trees for his character.
2: Dahoon and Pine
Dahoon and Pine weren't in the first draft at all. Very few trees were. Most of the interactions Armory and Birch had were with other people. Some of those interactions made no sense, though, so they were cut. I'm very glad for this because I adore Dahoon and Pine. They're so laid back and easy going.
One huge difference between the first and final draft was a character called Miracle. Armory meets her after she is kidnapped. Miracle is a small child and she goes with Armory and Birch on the journey to get Armory home. I tried putting her in as I rewrote, but found it stopped the story and I realized she had to go.
4: Communities and Nomads
I waffled between what to call the groups of humans that lived in this post-apocalyptic world. Communities started as tribes, but that was cliche, so I switched to families. My editor suggested communities at one point and since I found using families a bit confusing at times I went with that. Nomads were outlaws at first, but I switched to nomads since that was the lifestyle they adopted. They just aren't lawful about it.
Birch promises he can get Armory home. He says not all trees wanted a war. Armory has no choice to trust him if she wants to see her family again.
Together, they trek across the ruins of America, meeting both human and trees who want nothing more than the fighting to stop. But the hatred between the two may be too deep to heal. Armory isn’t sure her friendship with Birch will be enough to convince the human race to take a chance on peace. Birch has a plan, though. He’s just not sure he’ll survive.
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About the Author
Patricia lives with her husband in Michigan, hopes one day to have what will resemble a small petting zoo, and has a fondness for dying her hair the colors of the rainbow.
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