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Elizabeth Hawksley: Picking up the Writing Threads

June 21, 2011

I’ve just got back to The Changeling after getting on for a year of doing no work on it. I’d stopped writing it in order to finish my adult book Tresillian which took far longer than I thought it would. Now that Tresillian is safely with my agent, it’s time to get back to The Changeling.

It’s not easy picking up the threads again after so long. For a start, I haven’t a clue what’s going to happen. I’d left my main protagonist Alisa in the forest with Tor, a boy she doesn’t like and thinks is pretty useless (he’d had measles as a child which damaged his eyesight). Naturally, Tor doesn’t like her either. All I can remember is that I wanted it to be like a fairy tale and for Alisa to have three tasks to perform. Or, I decided, three things to learn.

I’d left myself a few notes but they’re not very helpful. I’d written:

To value herself/Tor to value her. Tor smell, hearing abilities, e.s.p?

    To learn what’s important. Truth

    To improvise

On the other side of the page I’ve written

Captured by alien tribe?

    Quartz? Something useful. Soapstone? Honey?

    Men want Alisa as bargaining point?

    Alisa takes her knife? Hides her knife? Doesn’t bring her knife?

I have no idea what I meant.

But on re-reading the story (I have about 14,000 words), I found myself getting involved again. The story grabbed me and drew me in. Ideas began to pour into my head: the What if, and the Supposing which are familiar to all writers. Perhaps it doesn’t matter too much that I’m not sure where it’s going. Maybe all I need is to have faith in myself, to keep on writing and to let Alisa and Tor tell me their story as we go along.

One Comment leave one →
  1. Paul Willcocks permalink
    July 20, 2011 5:54 pm

    I find this helpful as I have many half-done stories and novels that I wish to revisit…

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