Epoch had one false start, back before I knew what it was really going to be about. After the concept came together in my head(see my last post), I took a stab at the story that proved to be the wrong direction.
Originally, Vincent was to be playing soccer when he saw the elf, and his brother Max was dead. Max, in this version, had been a soccer star when he'd had an unfortunate accident, and Vincent was expected to fill his shoes completely. He wasn't any good at soccer, and he resented his parents for pressuring him into it. Then he sees an elf hiding under the bleachers, and realizes his life is about to get a lot more complicated.
That was the way Epoch would have started, but then I had an even better idea. Another look at that 2003 comet book reminded me there were lots of ways the world could end, and wouldn't it be fun to start an end-of-the-world novel with all those ideas together? I changed the location from a soccer field to a school science fair, and then other great ideas suggested themselves. For starters, Max was now very much alive. Then came the idea to make Vincent's family religious, and more ideas sprang forth from there. Plus, I was able to give Vincent a best friend (Big Tom) and an enemy (Barnaby) and introduce them both in the same scene.
I didn't throw away the original beginning. I like the idea of a character having to fill the role of his dead brother before coming into his own. It didn't work for Epoch, but maybe I can use it in the future. Who can say?