Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now with Castles

Eilean Donan castle, in the Scottish Highlands.
© Guillaume Piolle / , via Wikimedia Commons

I follow many authors over on Facebook.  Some have regular weekly posts about their books, bad jokes, men in kilts, or a number of other topics.  My favorite posts are Suzanne Enoch’s weekly writing inspiration photos.  More often than not, those photos include castles; something I always been enamored with.

Here in the States, castles are few and far between.  The closest thing I remember visiting as a child was “Hearst Castle”, the residence of the newspaper magnet William Randolph Hearst.  Initially envisioned as a bungalow, it morphed into an imposing 56 bedroom, 61 bathroom mansion with gardens, swimming pools, an airfield, and even the world’s largest private zoo.

Nice, but not a “real” castle.

Fortunately I’ve been lucky enough to visit a number of actual castles during my travels to Ireland, England, and France.  I’m hoping to add a few more to my list this year.  In the meantime, I’ll just have to get my writing inspiration from Suzanne’s posts.    Last week’s photo was of Duart Castle in Scotland. A loch, a hard stone fortress, and snowy peaks – very inspiring.

Now that I’ve been properly inspired, it’s time to do a little writing, starting with a Random Word Improv warm-up session.

Care to join me?

Whether you’re looking for inspiration, working on your latest story, enjoying some “you” time, or just looking for a distraction, a few minutes of Random Word Improv are a great way to have a little fun and get some words on the page.


Today’s random words may be castle-related, but the theme is up to you.  There will be bonus points for including a zebra though.

turret                 stone                    isolated               tower

ancient              defense               timber                  moat

impress             landscape           power                   drawbridge

keep                    siege                     chilly                     immense

For any of you new to Random Word Improv, here’s how we play:

  1. Pick as many words from the list as you want
  2. Write the first line(s) of a story incorporating your words
  3. Post your results in the comments section.

Okay.  Are you ready?  Let’s sprint!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Ah, you’re back.  Kind of fun, right?  Can’t wait to see what you have come up with.

14 thoughts on “Elizabeth: Friday Writing Sprints – Now with Castles

  1. Well, I’m not sure where this came from, except I’ve been thinking about Susannah Cressingham’s Scottish cousin, Hamish, and his story lately. I think what I wrote below would be ideal somewhere near the end of their story. What fun to write!

    Payton Sheffield’s father, the Earl of Scrimshire, naviated his stallion across the dilapidated drawbridge towards the iron portcullis of the crumbling Scottish keep. He adjusted his seat, patted his feisty horse on the neck, and looked up towards the stone tower.

    “Hamish Cressingham!” His voice bellowed, loud and ominous, his breath on that chilly morning visible in impressive white puffs. “Open the gate and give me my daughter back, or so help me, I will lay siege to this ancient pile of rocks and bury you and your entire family.”

    A man’s head popped over the top of the tower. “Really? Does anyone still do that, my lord? Lay siege, that is?”

    The earl growled. “Damn you, Cressingham. My daughter. I want my daughter!”

    Hamish nodded and gave a little wave that was more “oh, go away” than “hello.” “Yes, my lord. I heard you the first time.” He scratched his head. “There’s just a wee problem.” He held up his hand, his index finger and thumb about an inch apart.

    “What do you mean, problem?”

    “Well, my lord, she’s not fit to be seen right now.”

    “Why not?” The earl didn’t ask so much as bark the words.

    “Er, I’d rather not be the one to say, but if ye were to come back in, oh, say, an hour’s time, she’ll be right as rain.” Hamish delivered a smile – more hopeful than joyful – his eyebrows raised in apprehension.

    Unfortunately for Lord Scrimshire, the decision was made for him. His horse was through with standing, for he reared up and took off over the drawbridge, crossing back over the dry moat before Scrimshire was able to bring the beast under control. When he’d settled the horse, he looked back up at the tower, but it was empty.

    “Cressingham! Where the hell are you?”

    From the far turret, a powerful voice called out over the landscape. “One hour!”

    The earl growled again, but turned his horse away from the keep, heading back to town. So Cressingham wanted an hour? Fine. He’d get an hour. But when Scrimshire returned, he’d have more than his loud voice and his horse.

    He’d have half the King’s army.

      • You know, I actually think this (or something like it) is going to be the second-to-last scene in the book. In my mind, Hamish has already won over the difficult Payton (long story — think Far and Away, except he abducts her, making her live in a hovel to get back at her for a public snub, but naturally, they both fall for each other)…and the reason she’s not available to be seen is because she’s just been romping in bed with Hamish. LOL. She’s going to have to tell Daddy to back off and go home…she’s marrying her Scottish captor.

  2. Mine is more of an opening than a story today.

    Being ringed by mountains, made a moat moot, but not the turrets or the tower.

    Kara stood in the immense tower, taking in the isolated landscape surrounding her. The colors a vivid set of rich reds and golds still caught on fire from the fast fading sun. The evening air was chilly and it hung on the nearby mountains like the fur-lined cloak she wished she was wearing rather than the floofy, little-black-dress she had on, A layer of fall was barely holding back what would soon be snow. Her breath glowed white as she exhaled and it floated up to join the fading life in the mountains.

    The turrets, to the north and south, matched the thick-timbered drawbridge to the west, and the greatness of the tower she stood in, to the east. The castle was ancient, built of stones that were still more ancient. The up keep must be staggering. Every feature here still looked like it meant business. Around the walls, she’d counted over two dozen men, armed with AKs and wool caps. This old beauty was still more than ready to repel a massive siege of anything.

    She wrapped her arms tighter around her body willing them to shed the competitive race of goose bumps all fighting for positions along her limbs and décolleté. Just as she was considering a strategic retreat into the room, a white dinner jacket enveloped her in its pre-warmth. She smiled to herself and turned to the owner of the jacket and the castle, as well as her dinner date for the evening. Eyes that matched the gray color and strength in the surrounding stones focused on her. They were soon eclipsed by his gleaming, moral-melting smile. He ushered her over to a zebra-covered couch in front of the ornate stone fireplace.

    “Dinner will be served in fifteen minutes.” He began to decant some wine into two hand-blown, gold-rimmed goblets of great artistry and beauty. “Would you like some wine?”

    She smiled. So was he trying to flaunt his power and impress, or was it really just a casual thing for him- like putting on a favorite old t-shirt? Jack Canton, black knight or white? She still wasn’t sure.

  3. I really wanted to play this week, but I just couldn’t. All depressing and ick. Like this haiku:

    Floating turrets in
    The September sky, flying
    Over black missiles.

    Ugh. I should take on a pseudonym and go be emo someplace like Wattpad.

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