I disagree with Hemmingway. All of my first drafts are awesome. I just make them more awesomer as I go. However that may be, The War Queen could have been much different. I'm a pantster (I write every story by the seat of my pants with very, very little outlining. I make up the story as I write it.) And because I do that, the War Queen was almost this:
(O) I very nearly involved Kaelin's mother. I had blurry plans for her to be the one who brought Altarn's meals while she was incarcerated in Kaelin's castle instead of the servant. But I couldn't decide what purpose his mother would serve the rest of the story so I decided against it. I actually have a paragraph in my first draft where I introduced her, and then scratched out.
(O) I briefly considered having a train in The War Queen.
(O) Gorgaks were a gnome-like creature who obsessed with their walking-sticks they personalized for themselves. And they were going to live in Luthsinia.
(O) I was going to keep Altarn's identity secret to the reader and then reveal it at the same time as Kaelin's so the reader would be shocked twice.
(O) Gildeon was going to be featured as an adult and Miraha was going to fall in love with him.
(O) Lorn was going to fight Huilian one-on-one
Vygilants --> Miraha
Jasper --> Japheron
Kyrie --> Tavia --> Ratavia
Lord Byrone --> Lord Kaelin (I was really attached to the name Byrone, but I changed it because if you google Lord Byron, you get THIS, and I didn't want my character associated with an Anglo-Scottish Poet.)
Nenthyen --> Blindvar
Greatmar --> Ruidenthall
Cerosion --> Greatmar