Writing Prompt Story Starter: Castle

story starter

We’re in the Highlands of Perthshire for this week’s story starter.

For over four hundred years, Castle Menzies was the seat of the chiefs of Clan Menzies.

Just north of the River Tay at Weem, it’s one and a half miles from Aberfeldy, and around an hour and a half from Edinburgh. As you can see, it was bathed in sunshine when I visited last spring.

Craftsmen originally constructed it in the 16th century as a Z-shaped building. It changed shape — and hands — over the years, before the Menzies Clan Society restored it during the 20th century.

It’s an example of formerly rugged Highland fortresses transforming over time into lightly-defended mansion houses.

Occupied by the Jacobites in 1715, and again during the “Forty-five” rebellion, the castle saw Bonnie Prince Charlie — Charles Edward Stuart — rest here on his way to the Battle of Culloden.

He was followed only four days later by the arrival of the Duke of Cumberland, commander of the government forces, and third and youngest son of the then-monarch, James II.

These days it’s a visitor centre, and a venue for weddings, concerts, and events.

So this week’s story starter is: castles.

Plenty to get you thinking

Who built them? What kind of people lived in them? Who worked in them? If you look closely, you’ll see someone hard at work.

Transformations, over time — in this case from a rugged castle, into a home, into a building of historical importance and a visitor attraction.

An Englishman’s home.

The Jacobite Risings. Battles, long forgotten, or long remembered.

Flags flying. Clans. Crests. Coats of arms.

Kings, and would-be kings. The stunning Highlands of Scotland.

Hope there’s plenty to get you thinking this week.

Best of luck with your writing, and if you’ve found this helpful, do let us know on Facebook or Twitter.

You can browse our Story Starter archives by clicking here.

Lucy Crichton

Fiction Editor Lucy is always on the look-out for the very best short stories, poems and pocket novels. As well as sourcing enjoyable content, she enjoys working with our established contributors, encouraging new talent, and celebrating 155 years of 'Friend' fiction!