Hilyard finishes novel “The Key and The Beholder”

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Molly Joy

Eryn Hilyard (12) loves the outdoors and also finds it as an escape just like her writing.

Manitou Springs High School senior Eryn Hilyard started writing her novel “The Key and The Beholder” in October 2019, her sophomore year. The project was co-authored by Anja Tabor, Hilyard’s best friend who goes to a different school. While it took until her senior year for the book to be finished, Hilyard never gave up and put lots of time and effort into completing it.

“The Key and The Beholder” is young adult fiction with some fantasy elements. “The story takes place in a small town in Wales called Argensey,” Hilyard said.  “The main plot revolves around a fairytale about a door hidden deep in the woods that holds memories. The door is guarded by forest nymphs, since it’s power was abused long ago. The five main characters attend a private school in town. Their memories are tied to the antagonist’s in the way that ‘everything is connected’, so due to the villain wishing to change their own memories, which would alter the timeline with a butterfly affect, the five teenagers are faced with having to protect the door and it’s magic.”

Hilyard and her friend were having a sleepover when they came up with the idea to write a novel. As the night went on, they chatted up ideas and plans for their book. But by the time they came up with a sturdy plan and plot for their book, a few months had passed.

Hilyard’s writing process was a lot like that of published author. Originally she spent about a year on one plot, but then realized it wasn’t flowing the way she wanted to. So she switched the plot and enjoyed this one a lot more and found a groove with it so she stuck with it.

Hilyard said, “Our book now took two years, but we started with a different plot three years ago and then changed it. So technically two years.”

Hilyard has always had a passion for writing with English being one of her favorite subjects in school. Pierce Gillard has been Hilyard’s teacher in English for three out of the four years, which has played a huge role in her enjoyment of writing. He helped with encouraging her and being a supportive teacher in the classroom, which helped with her never giving up on writing her book. After years of work, Hilyard put hours and days of effort into her book, she finally finished with thirty-two chapters.

She’s really good at taking risks and trying new things into super ideas without second-guessing herself or stopping along the way.”

— Pierce Gillard

Gillard has given her the opportunity to learn more techniques and to expand her creativity with different types of writing. His class has also given Hilyard the chance to expand her book into better writing and ideas, as she learns more about different ways of writing in his class.

“This year [Mr. Gillard] definitely has [helped me] because I’m in his creative writing class. I think he [inspired me] other years as well because we would do creative writing units and [he would] give me good feedback,” Hilyard said.

Hilyard creates a very positive atmosphere in Creative Writing class, which plays a part in how she learns. With the class being smaller she gets the chance to elaborate and compare all her ideas with people in the class. Which helps her with building new techniques for her writing.

“She has a smile every class. The class is a smaller one, so everyone gets to know everybody, especially as the semester goes on,” Gillard said.

In creative writing, Hilyard is given the opportunity to collaborate with her class, and get all types of critique from many people’s point of view on her writing. This critique really helps her with improving her writing skills.“[Eryn is] in a group where there’s a lot of collaboration and the sharing of writing and so it’s exciting to come up with new ideas and share out and collaborate on different concepts and new stories,” Gillard said.

Gillard has been impressed with Hilyard’s process and her writing. “She’s really good at taking risks and trying new things into super ideas without second-guessing herself or stopping along the way,” Gillard said.

I’ve always been super creative, and I just love writing and making worlds in my head. [Writing is] kind of an escape from reality. It’s just super fun to be creative in that way.”

— Eryn Hilyard

While writing her novel, not second-guessing really helped with the flow of her chapters and taking risks in what she wrote gave a diversity in the types of writing that gave her book a more interesting read.

As you write a book, at many points you could run out of ideas and topics, so Hilyard used many different types of writing and TV shows to help her with different types of plot twists, and side details in her book.“Inspiration for my writing comes from different books, authors and TV shows,” Hilyard said.

Hilyard said that after finishing her book, she began considering a writing career, since she enjoyed writing her book so much.

“I’ve always been super creative, and I just love writing and making worlds in my head. [Writing is] kind of an escape from reality. It’s just super fun to be creative in that way,” Hilyard said.

Hilyard has found writing as something to free her mind. Whenever she’s feeling down or happy, she uses writing to express her feelings. Even while Hilyard is bored she uses writing as an enjoyment.

“It’s kind of like my own thing. I’m writing it with my best friend, Anja.  She goes to a different school. And it’s just kind of for fun,” Hilyard said.