In reading my archives from past drafts of my novel, I tend to look back and wonder just what I was thinking, or marvel at how much things have changed, even if I did like what was written before.
For example (and this is what got me thinking on it), in my older drafts, Red seemed almost abusive. Seriously, he was constantly beating up on Quina (tough love was the thought behind that) and making her into a killing machine through rough handling. Then there were moments of tenderness, like after he had finished beating her up with her own weapon, he would call for a break and then check her over to make sure she wasn’t injured. Stuff like that. And also, he was the one who first started making romantic advances. He was the one who kissed her first, who showed his affection physically first. I liked it then, but looking back on it, it seems like he was pressuring her into liking him, like he wasn’t leaving her a chance. It was like she didn’t reciprocate his feelings, but was frustrated by his attentions at first because she didn’t understand them entirely (being a bit crazy and very simple in her understanding).Red came off as a pushy, fluctuating jerk. Me no likies it so much anymore.
In contrast, in this draft, Red is the first one to realize that he loves Quina, but she is the first one to initiate any kind of fond physical contact. He doesn’t touch her for the simple reason that he doesn’t want to pressure her. Quina, on the other hand, takes a longer time to realize intellectually that she loves Red (being the crazy bat that she is, it takes her a while to think things through… she just feels, usually) but she is dependent on him first, takes comfort in him first. She is the first to initiate contact by touching his face. This way, it is more like Red is in love, but trying to remain distant for her sake, and then it turns out happily that she is in love with him too and has to assure him of it. It’s rather nice actually.
Of course, saying that now, I’ll probably look back in about a year and have the same reaction as to my older work now: “What the flapjacks was I thinking?”