[DWJ] News from the archive - The Spellcoats

estairm at yahoo.com estairm at yahoo.com
Thu May 19 12:33:59 EDT 2011


I'm so glad you have and are sharing these with us!  

As to the clues about the Undying Ones, are there any in the fragment that 
DIDN'T make it into the published book?


From: Hannah Green <hannah.green at sevenstories.org.uk>
To: "dwj at suberic.net" <dwj at suberic.net>
Sent: Thu, May 19, 2011 4:30:08 AM
Subject: [DWJ] News from the archive - The Spellcoats

I've started into cataloguing Diana's drafts for her published works, beginning 
with the Dalemark series, and have found some interesting early material 
relating to The Spellcoats.

The archive contains a complete manuscript draft of The Spellcoats which is 
substantially the same as the published book in terms of plot and 
characterisation, although there are some differences in the structure and 
ordering of some passages, and of course differences in description where 
passages have been refined in the rewriting process.

However, alongside this complete manuscript is a fragment of what appears to be 
an early attempt at the story.  This fragment places the focus on Hern as the 
protagonist, rather than Tanaqui - the opening reads "Hern loved the River.  He 
did not know how much, until it was decreed he should not go near it."  There is 
no war against the Heathen which takes Closta and Gull away from home; indeed, 
Gull does not appear at all - the family consists of Closta (he starts out as 
Closti, but mid-way through the fragment becomes Closta), Robin, Hern, Tanaqui 
and Duck. Rather, when cows and children begin dying from the River fever, 
Closta is blamed and is eventually arrested and imprisoned in the schoolhouse.  
The children find themselves besieged by the villagers in their own house, and 
the story breaks off, after 3 chapters, with the children wondering how they are 
going to rescue their father.  The fragment is only 18 pages long, which 
suggests Diana decided fairly quickly that she didn't like the direction the 
story was taking and started again.  It also contains a few more clues as to the 
identity and role of the Undying Ones than is found in the early chapters of the 
published book.

A fascinating insight into Diana's creative process and, I'm sure, the first of 
Hannah Green
Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books
Design Works, William Street, Felling, Gateshead, Tyne and Wear NE10 0JP
Tel. 01914952707
hannah.green at sevenstories.org.uk<mailto:hannah.green at sevenstories.org.uk>

Website: www.sevenstories.org.uk<http://www.sevenstories.org.uk/>
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