Dr Seuss said that – and I reckon he was onto something.
In 1964, Roald Dahl’s ‘Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’ was published by Allen and Unwin in the UK. It took over two years to write and underwent multiple transformations. Here are a few:
Originally there were ten kids – in the end Dahl settled for five.
There was no mention of Grandpa Joe
Until the very last minute, oompa loompas were called Whipple Scrumpets.
The original title was ‘Charlie’s Chocolate Boy,’ mostly because in this version Charlie Bucket climbs into a ‘chocolate boy’ mould in the Easter Egg room and is encased in chocolate. He is taken to Mr. Wonka’s house as a present for Freddie Wonka (Mr. Wonka’s son) and while there, Charlie witnesses a burglary. As a reward for helping to catch the thieves, Mr. Wonka gives him his own sweet shop, ‘Charlie’s Chocolate Shop.’
Also in the original manuscript, ten golden tickets were hidden in the Wonka chocolate bars every week. Mr. Wonka gave a tour of his factory every Saturday to that week’s lucky recipients. In this draft, Charlie finds a ticket on his first attempt. The other nine children on the tour are not introduced to the reader until they meet their respective ends.
Everything stinks till it’s finished. Things change. New characters appear. Have no fear. Just get it on the page!