Novel Update #8: Scotland
Good news: I went to Scotland! Bad news: I caught Covid!
I had a very mild case and tested negative quickly, so I was able to still see a lot. It also helped that the tour guide, Anne Daly with Mary Meanders had recently overcome it a month before. Ah, the joy of travel during a pandemic…
Set in 1740, my novel Trouble the Water is an adventure book that shifts between Scotland, London and Virginia colony. Last year I spent a week researching in Williamsburg, Virginia, focusing on my ten-year-old heroine, Annaliese. My adult protagonist who rescues her, William MacLeod, is from the Scottish highlands and there is an entire subplot with his family. I’ve never been to Scotland and I didn’t want to just guess at the descriptions. Also, a field trip is way more fun than watching YouTube videos.
A lot of the places I visited overlapped with locations used on the Outlander TV show, since it takes place in the same time period. I’ll admit it. My daughter and I turned total fangirl for much of the trip. The picture below is Blackness Castle (Fort William in the show) where Jamie Fraser gets flogged by Black Jack Randall. Here’s a blog post with all the photos: Ode to Outlander. I posted a ton of pictures on Instagram account @lisa_traugott. If you are interested in writing, reading novels or all things 18th century, please like, follow and share 🙂
Anne was really a great tour guide. I was able to talk with a weapons expert about targes and dirks, and ask a thousand and one questions at the castles and manors we visited. She also recommended books and podcasts to learn more about ‘witches’ and the Battle of Culloden.
While in Scotland I made sure to eat a traditional Scottish breakfast, which includes blood pudding and haggis. Or at least, that’s what the restaurant told me. It tasted surprisingly good with a bit of a bite.
Castle ruins overlooking the sea play an important part in the plot, so I visited serval and took pictures and videos from as many different angles as I could think. The little details (tripping on uneven stones, weeds growing along a window, a raven flying where a roof would have once been) will help to make the narration more interesting. My writer-brain went into overdrive thinking of all the possibilities.
Since a third of the book takes place on a ship, we went to a museum that had an old ship we could walk through. The ship was a 19th century one, but it still gave a sense of walking on a shifting surface, seeing the height of a mast and what a captain wrote in his log book. Also, my son, Henry, had a good time at the steering wheel.
In other news…
I’m busy working my way through the areas of my story flagged by the structural editor as needing some work, namely giving my villains stronger motivation and tying the witchcraft themes together tighter. It’s a slow process. I wish my writing skills were better so I could finish faster. I heard it takes 10,000 hours to become an expert on something. I must be at least 3,000 hours into the process, meaning I’ve learned I have a lot more to learn!
One thing I already know is that I work better when I have a deadline. I’ve reserved a spot to line edit the story January 1, 2023. A line editor will check every sentence for typos, grammatical mistakes and clarity. This is the last phase before doing a query for traditional publishing…
Books I’m reading.
Ask me how happy my husband was to see me adding piles and piles of books to our backpacks. He wasn’t happy. Books are heavy, but necessary for research. In fairness, he probably wouldn’t have minded if we had suitcases instead of backpacks, but we heard horror stories of lost luggage stuck in airports for weeks, so we decided to only do carryon bags.
Anyway, I’ve finished Culloden Tales by Hugh G. Allison and Tales of Dunvegan by Brenda MacLeod and I’m partway through Damn’ Rebel Bitches: The Women of ’45 by Maggie Craig, all excellent reads.
Goals for September
- Finish revising my bad guy scenes
- Read 1-2 more books from my stockpile
That’s it for me. Cheers.
Here’s my other story. Get your copy HERE.
Copyright (c) Lisa Traugott 2022. All rights reserved
2 thoughts on “Novel Update #8: Scotland”
Glad to hear that you recovered quickly! I got hit by COVID… twice! Glad that’s over too. Anyway, it’s so cool that you do real-life research for your books. Loved the pics. Thanks for sharing!
Thanks and glad you recovered too!