Novel Update #9: Witches

I’ll confess: I’ve been fascinated by witches since I was a little girl, which is why they’ve ended up in my historical fiction, Trouble the Water (coming 2023).

“You have witchcraft in your lips” – Shakespeare

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. As an abused indentured servant, she has all the symptoms of PTSD, although they didn’t have a diagnosis for it back then. Her strange behaviors lead her to being accused of witchcraft.

Witchcraft in Williamsburg

While in Williamsburg last year I saw a play called Cry Witch based on court documents from an actual witch trial set near the same time as my novel. Prior to 1736, witchcraft was a felony that often ended in hanging. Below is a picture of the capitol building where felony trials were held.

Colonial Williamsburg Capitol building

Witchcraft in Scotland

My adult protagonist who rescues her, William MacLeod, is from the Scottish highlands and there is an entire subplot with his family, include his wife, Fiona, who is…an actual witch. Fun, right? Don’t worry, she’s not a bad witch, more like an earth-loving pagan. To learn more about Scottish witches I travelled to Fife where there were quite a few witch hunts back in the day. The most famous accused witch was Lilias Adie who died in custody before they could burn her, so they buried her during low tide and placed a half-ton slab on her grave so she could climb from the mud and haunt the village. You can read her story in a blog post I wrote here: The Missing Bones of Lilias Adie. Her grave is pictured below.

Grave of Lilias Adie

Time permitting, I hope to write at least one other post about witchcraft this month.

Goal Check-In

One thing I like to do is create monthly writing goals and then check back in the following month to see how I did. My goals for September were:

  • Finish revising my bad guy scenes
  • Read 1-2 more books from my stockpile
Books I’m reading

Status #1: Close, but my villains continued to twirl their evil mustaches at me with a mocking laugh. Their scenes required me to do a deep dive into learning how to write realistic fights. I’ve been reading sections of books with swordfights and watching YouTube videos with famous brawls from movies and TV shows. I never realized how much nuance is required when writing about two people bashing each other’s brains in.

Status #2: Reading…sigh… Do you remember the movie The Matrix, where Keanu Reeve’s character doesn’t know how to fly a helicopter or something so he downloads a program in his brain and three seconds later he can? I wish I could do that with books. There are so many books I want to read and there aren’t enough hours in the day it seems. But, I did finish the book about Buckingham Palace, the novel Wise Child (about a girl raised by a witch) and I’m partway through Scottish Folk Tales. And because I clearly have #geekgirl issues, I purchased more books about witchcraft and a magazine about pirates, because pirates.

In other news…

Public Speaking

On September 29 I was invited by the Georgetown Toastmasters to speak on a panel about storytelling. It was so much fun!

Speaking at Georgetown Library

Final thoughts…

October Goals

October Writing Goals

That’s it for me. Cheers.

Lisa 😉

Here’s my other story. Get your copy HERE.

Copyright (c) Lisa Traugott 2022. All rights reserved

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