Milton's Detective Agency , 7

“Hayes” is an interesting character in this. The outline of him survives into FABLE, though in two separate ways. Micah Hayes has always been my go to chief of police character, for much farther back than this story. For a while he also became more of a spotlight character, sharing some of the forefront with Ash and Cain as an intermediary between the two- someone normal for the reader to balance with, and someone to see them both outside the lens their hold each other in. That function has survived as well, though it’s taken up by a new character in FABLE. I think here are the tracelines of where I was starting to figure out those two functions needed to be different characters, though I didn’t have it entirely figured out just yet.

Milton's Detective Agency , 6

Cain and police have a strange and often funny relationship in my eyes. Sometimes it’s hostile, sometimes it’s not. Sometimes he’s like an old friend to the local force, and others he’s a bitter enemy. I think it often depends on his age, the setting, and where he is in his life. He’s definitely the kind of character that used to act out a lot, but as he grows up and has to take on more responsibility, he gets more understanding of others and more mild to deal with. That said, I’ve always found a certain ‘click’ about him and police for dynamics, hence why characters I set up beside him for long term things (besides Ash) tend to be law enforcement of one variety of another. This holds true even in FABLE, in more ways that one.

Milton's Detective Agency , 5

Ash is one of those characters I’ve renamed and tweaked and done a lot with, but it’s never felt quite right. It’s certainly never felt like enough. She’s a complex beast, and understanding her often takes more room than I let myself have in one given story. Maybe it’s because her and Cain are both very big, complicated things so one kind of forces the other to never have enough room. I think I’ve found the remedy for this in FABLE, but I know I didn’t back during this first project. Hopefully she gets to shine better in future works.

Milton's Detective Agency , 4

Across all the iterations and versions and attempts at FABLE, some things never needed changing. I think Cain at his core was one of those things. He’s an amalgam of guilt and self-loathing, and those were topics I knew I wanted to do something with. So for the most part the heart of him hasn’t ever changed much, just the details of the edges. Some window dressing for the sake of aesthetics, and the entry points where the reader can really start to get familiar with him. Those things changed over the years, but the end destination never did.

Milton's Detective Agency , 3

Perhaps here and in chapters following, the most likeness to FABLE starts to show through. I knew very early on the vagueness of what I wanted to do- something with Ash and Cain, their relationship and their lives, and who they are as people individually. I just wasn’t sure beneath that what I wanted to say with it. I knew who the characters were, but not what exactly their existence was meant to tell. It’s a strange thing, to have these fully formed ideas and know there is a story that needs telling, but have no idea what that story is. A lot of false starts had to be left to run their course before I was able to really start piecing FABLE together, but I don’t think any of those efforts were ever wasted, even when they didn’t go much of anywhere.

Milton's Detective Agency , 2

I think of all the almost-stories that came before FABLE, this one made the most progress into being an actual something or other. I didn’t draft or pre-plot it at all, so it kind of became whatever it was chapter by chapter. That’s not always a bad thing, but as I learned with this it can lead to suddenly stalling out or realizing the flow lead straight into a corner.

[WIP] Devil's Tattoo

This is an old one I’d forgotten all about. Originally “Devil’s Tattoo” was a supernatural hunter’s story of travel and work. The main character, a guy named Six, is one I still want to flesh out more and do something with eventually. Over the years the world set up changed, and Six changed with it, into something at a weird cross roads between Harry Potter and American Horror Story. Demons and black magic mixing with education of a new generation of hunters. I never did much with it after the conception and set up, but I’d like to.

For now though, here’s a discarded piece of what the story originally started as.