The story of how Vulpecula Noel (The Fox Detective, one-half the dynamic duo seen in The Canes series, etc.) came to exist is very different than what you might expect. By early-2013, I was hot off the heels of my first novel Blind Salvation and was itching to find my next project. That project ended up as a fantasy-novel called The Aeonian, a whopping one-hundred-and-ten thousand manuscript succeeding the events of The Red Flux & the Wunderkind Thief, that has since served as a paperweight (another story for another time).
Something then that still carries truth is my kinetic attention-span and scattered mind. During the writing process for The Aeonian, I decided I needed a smaller project to entertain myself in times when I wasn’t as interested in writing my grandiose, large-scale fantasy-epic. Enter a white-fox with a red (not green!?) scarf named Vulpecula Noel, son of Hensley Noel, best-friends with the owl Apus and the lizard Lacerta, and … secret agent extraordinaire!?
That’s right, Vulpecula Noel was once, not only the lead in an action-adventure novel, a cool, calm, and collected character, akin to a lot of the 3-D platform characters I played as on the PlayStation 2, like Ratchet & Clank and Sly Cooper. In the 12,000 word un-finished manuscript for Vulpecula & the Canes Vinatici, the Canes Vinatici run Maharris with an iron-fist (unlike in The Canes series, which depicts The Canes Vinatici as a fallen political-party that hasn’t been in power for decades) and the other animals cower in terror when they come around. The Canes are depicted in cartoony fashion, coming across like a biker-gang of evildoers more than the more grounded and realistic (as realistic as you can be in an anthropomorphic world) interpretation that made it in the final product. Before the days of Detective Barker and the socially awkward, unhinged Fox Detective, Vulpecula and his friends fought for equality with cheesy, fourth-wall breaking humor and sought the freedom of Vulpecula’s sister.
As I skim through the pages of unused material, all the retired plot-threads have started to come back at me like a freight train. A lot of ideas were left on the cutting-room floor and that is where they will remain. The Fox Detective is not a courageous adventurer and unfortunately, he has no sister to fight for. Some characters from the 2013 draft carried over into The Canes series, beyond the main-cast, characters like Officer Alicia Camel are portrayed like how they were portrayed in the 2013 draft.
The Vupecula Noel depicted in The Canes Files didn’t come to be until early-2014, brought in as a side-project on a website I ran called Out of Frame. The mission-statement for Out of Frame was to build momentum and draw attention to myself. I created several small projects like The Red Flux Chronicles, That Sammy Kid, and The Adventures of Vulpecula, hoping I would be able to use them as a launchpad to larger projects. Instead, what I created on Out of Frame practically inhaled what they were meant to build interest toward.
I wrote three episodes of The Adventures of Vulpecula and posted two of them on the Out of Frame website. “The Grand Illusion” and “Hair” both made it into The Canes Files novel, introducing a more neurotic and insecure Vulpecula Noel. I followed with a third installment, an installment almost longer than both “Illusion” and “Hair” combined, but I forgot about it, and, for only that reason, it remains unpublished. Maybe one day we’ll release a special edition of The Canes Files with the special bonus episode of The Adventures of Vulpecula? Instead, the third edition of The Adventures of Vulpecula became a different story called “The Laugh Track,” which saw Vulpecula relocating to Urgway to solve the mystery of Comet Fowley’s severed hand. The Laugh Track was the first episode I wrote after Scott Moore became involved in the project in mid-2015 and showed the series becoming more serious and character driven (the “lost episode” featured a similarly dark edge).
If nothing else, the journey Vulpecula Noel went through in its development is an interesting trajectory, showing my changes and growth as a writer. In a later entry, I will discuss in further details how my personal life and experiences changed and helped shape the character.