I think I’m getting this under control now. I have actually remarshaled everything so I can carry on shaping the story forwards. The middle section I’m very much shaping around the girls’ letters as I have these, and then showing the parallels that happen in Renate’s and Hanni’s story.
I’ve spent some time rereading the letters today and some bits and pieces my mother-in-law – Renate – had written. She has translated about half of the letters and written about the same amount out in modern German. I still have to decipher the rest. The German isn’t a problem, but decoding the gothic script is tricky. Some girls write more clearly than others.
Each new bit I write seems to ask more questions. It reminds me very much of doing my PhD. Of course, often, what I find out then reshapes the story again.
I thought I’d actually made up more of Renate’s story than I had. In fact, though, it was all there in her letters and the autobiography she had started writing.
This really is turning out to be a rewarding project.