[DWJ] News from the archive - The Spellcoats

Hannah Green hannah.green at sevenstories.org.uk
Fri May 20 04:33:58 EDT 2011

Esther, there's nothing in the early draft about the Undying Ones that doesn't get revealed eventually in the published story, it's just you get more information early on in the story.

Yesterday afternoon, I discovered another partial early draft, again consisting of the first few chapters.  This one is very different from the published book, with different characters - it features a family of six siblings, the children of a lord of Dalemark.  It is described as a story 'from the early history of Dalemark', but the protagonist identifies the land as Dalemark, and his father as a lord of Dalemark, which suggests the setting is not as far back in the history of Dalemark as the setting of 'The Spellcoats'.

This draft does feature the father and two brothers going off to war against the 'New Men', people who have come to Dalemark from across the sea.  The protagonist is unable to go, because he has a problem with his back, a birth defect, and his father does not think he will be able to fight.  He is left behind with his two sisters and younger brother.  They carry out the fire ceremony for the One, which results in him turning gold, but they are interrupted by a young girl who has fled the New Men, and they are soon after forced to leave their own home by a band of New Men who attack the village.  The children and surviving villagers flee into the forest, and the story breaks off shortly after they have an encounter with the Piper, which is similar in many details to the children's first meeting with Tanamil in 'The Spellcoats'.

If you merge some of the details from this partial draft with details from the one I mentioned yesterday, you start to see how Diana came up with the story that was eventually published.

Hannah Green
Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books
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