Reader, I’ve been researching prehistory and early history in Scotland in an attempt to make sure my story is as historically accurate as possible when one is writing a story set in the Dark Ages. Dark as in there is little known, so therefore the era is shrouded in mystery and made up stuff.
The journey that began almost ten years ago when I wanted to write a story set in a castle because I loved the TV series “Monarch of the Glen”. This interest set me on a path that has been exciting and frustrating in equal parts.
As you know, I recently attended a writing retreat/course in the Cotswolds with Kate Forsyth and as we shared our current WIP with the group I was distinctly uncomfortable when I had to admit that my story was set in a parallel world because I wanted to mash three historic periods together. My bad! And it wasn’t overlooked by our esteemed tutor. Kate pulled me up short and reminded me that most people don’t learn their history via non-fiction, but rather through fiction, and so we, as authors were obligated to “get it right”. Sigh.
I knew she was right, and if I’m honest with myself, I’d known it all along, hence my inability to get the story finished.
So now, I am on mission to write not one, but three linked stories that will cover the three separate time periods that I was attempting to combine. And you know what reader? It’s ok, because I’ve researched all three periods anyway. So now I am in the process of pulling all the relevant bits out of the first draft and rewriting the first book in the way it should have been done in the first place. Because we all know that there are no short cuts or free lunches.
Which leads me to tell you about brochs.
Brochs. What is a broch I hear you say? Well it’s a very early Scottish version of a castle.
Wikipedia says this:
“A broch is an Iron Age drystone hollow-walled structure of a type found only in Scotland. Brochs include some of the most sophisticated examples of drystone architecture ever created.”
A broch was a status symbol, a defensive structure and a home. And in my story it is all three.
While we were in Scotland, Dave and I went broch hunting and had heaps of fun scrambling all over every one we located. I’ve climbed over the ruins of one in Carn Liath Broch near Golspie; walked for miles through fields to find one at Dunbeath; drove all over Skye to find one of the many there; drove through the twilight to find the two at Glenelg. Visiting Dun Telve and Dun Troddan just on dark was beautiful, atmospheric and more than a little bit special.
We visited more, but I can’t find the photos 😦 I find these wonderful examples of prehistoric architecture fascinating and have lots more to share, but I’ll have to save something for next time. So, stay tuned.
Does prehistory fascinate you? Do you ever wonder what it would have been like to live in a place like these? Have you visited any of these or like these? Or even would like to one day? Please share, as I’d love to know. I might even have to pick your brain for details, it’s all research after all.