Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


27.2.06
  Rules for Writing Scottish Romances

It all started with Carnival of Bad History blog post. The set of rules for writing bad historical fiction sprouted sub-genre related posts all over the blogsphere. Here is my take:

1) The hero is always depicted as Highland chief (complete with kilt and basket hilt sword usually - and wrongly - called claymore), even if he lives in the Lowlands.

2) The heroine is always English.

3) She's described as feisty; often red haired.

4) The bad guy is her father/brother/betrothed.

5) The heroine, in most cases abducted by the hero, first hates him and sees him a savage but soon can't resist his alpha maleness (her betrothed is a whimp, after all) and falls in lurve. Of course, she goes over to the Scottish side at that point. A bit angsting is ok, but not too much. This is a romance, not a psychological portrait of a woman torn by opposite allegiances.

6) The hero is in lurve with the English girl since he met her at a ball he attended in disguise to spy on the English.

7) If the English characters (except the heroine) are keen on getting more money, it's always greed.

8) If the Scottish hero is keen on getting money, it's to help his clansmen to buy cattle, or sometimes to restore his ancient seat which the English destroyed.

9) The hero says "Ye ken, lassie," a lot.

10) If the hero drinks a lot of whisky, it's alpha male-y, if the English do it, it's depraved and a sign of inherent weakness.

11) The Campbells are the only Scottish clan that is bad.

12) There can be a clan feud, but it has to be ended in order to fight the English. Except if it involves the Campbells because those are bad (see 11).

13) The Scots win the decisive battle despite they're outnumbered five to one and fight with swords against muskets. This is achieved by the famous downhill charge.

14) There must be at least one scene where the hero shows the heroine the beauty of his country by dragging her along over mountains and stones, though heather and moor, until he finds a river where he can catch some salmon with his bare hands. Romantic dinner ensues.

15) Never bother about the differences between pre- and post-Culloden Scotland, even if you mention Culloden as example for the badness of the English.

16) The hero must at some point deliver a speech stuffed with platitudes about the greatness and braveness of the Scots from the times of their mysterious selkie ancestor onwards (and never mention Normans or Vikings in the family trees), and list a number of vile English kings that tried to unjustly suppress the Scots.

17) Bonus points if you can manage that speech while the hero stands in chains in front of his English captors. He will of course get flogged for such an insult, and the heroine has a chance to escape with him.

18) The hero has a trusted sidekick who hates the Sassenach girl until she manages to save his life.

19) The heroine can ride in a man's saddle. She also has a favourite horse, preferably some breed that would never be able to find footing on highland mountains if this were not a romance.

20) The hero is able to swim across any loch in the depth of winter without getting a cold. While escaping several salvas of arrows or bullets.

And our lovely Smart Bitches have the Monday cover snark to go with it.
 


  They're creeping out of the woodworks

Blogs dedicated to historical fiction, be it as writers or as readers. I found five new ones those last days.

Alianore (writing a novel about Edward II)
Susan Higginbotham (writing a novel set in the time of Edward II)

Both of which should get over and done with some of the prejudices and biased images of the guy.

Mary Sharratt's Sphinx Rising is dedicated to authors of historical fiction who are rewriting the role of women in history.

And here is a blog about Roman History Books.

By the sidebar Klick and Look game I found: The Bitter Scroll - 'Words, language, meaning, and ... stuff (mostly of the Germanic kind)'. He quotes Beowulf and Egils saga, so what's not to like. *grin*
I found that one at Laudator Temporis Acti, a blog by Michael Gilleland where you'll find everything. Well, not dead bodies, maybe, but lots of quotes and stuff from books all over time.

I've also rearranged the blogroll on the sidebar.
Your blog may have changed place, but I didn't delete any blogs.
 


24.2.06
  Alien Architecture

This futuristic looking construction is called Josephskreuz (Joseph's Cross). It has nothing to do with the biblical character, but with one Joseph Count of Stolberg who in 1832 commissioned a tower to be built on the Auerberg near the town of Stolberg (Harz mountains).


The famous Berlin architect Karl Friedrich Schinkel designed a wooden tower ending in a double-armed cross. It had no stairs but could be climbed by ladders. In 1880 the building was destroyed by lightning, and some 15 years later the ducal house of Stolberg and the Club of the Friends of the Harz shared in the costs of erecting a new tower. The double cross design of Schinkel was kept, but the material used was iron bars, imitating the Eiffel Tower. It weighs 125 tons. A staircase was built inside the construction, 200 stairs to climb the 38 metres high tower. After you've walked up the mountain for some three kilometres of winding pathes. :-)

My father visited the place as a boy, and back then the Josephskreuz had the same brownish iron colour as the Eiffel Tower. Since the Stolberg area was part of Eastern Germany, the tower wasn't kept up and had eventually be closed for visitors. It was renovated and reopened in 1990. Though I have no idea who is responsible for the weird green colour.
 


Miscellaneous musings of an aspiring Historical Fiction and Fantasy author. Illustrated essays on Roman, Dark Age and Mediaeval history, Mediaeval literature, and Geology. Some poetry translations and writing stuff. And lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes from Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, and the Baltic States.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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I'm a writer of Historical Fiction and Fantasy living in Germany. I got a MA in Literature, Scandinavian Studies, Linguistics and History, I'm interested in Archaeology and everything Roman and Mediaeval, an avid reader, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, and photographer.


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