The story behind writing the story
I wrote a travel story on Scotland and the Outlander effect published online via New Zealand’s Fairfax stuff.co.nz
Earlier in the year a close friend presented me with a birthday present. “I know you’ll love this,” she said with a knowing smile handing over a wrapped gift. Before you let your imagination go elsewhere, the gift was a DVD set – the first eight episodes of Season 1 Outlander. A long time ago (two decades actually) the same friend leant me her copy of the book “Cross Stitch.” This was the first in the series of eight novels by American author Diana Gabaldon. (The book has since been renamed Outlander.) I enjoyed the book so much, I read the next two books in the Outlander series. I hope to read the next five sometime in the future when time permits. (Have you seen how many pages are in The Fiery Cross?)
Diana Gabaldon’s fans have imagined their own personal versions of the various fictitious characters particularly the two mainstays of the books, Jamie and Claire. To transfer these fictional characters into human form for TV was always going to be a daunting task. And then to capture the essence of some very complicated story lines into one hour TV episodes – a monumental challenge for script writers, directors and producers. For that reason I had no high expectations for the TV series. But after watching the first episode, I was hooked.
Scotland is centre stage in the series
Ronald D. Moore – the executive producer known for his work on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine is the man responsible for bringing Outlander to television. Moore knew it wast important to film the series in Scotland – the scenery and historic buildings integral characters in the show. Author of the Outlander series of books, Diana Gabaldon is pleased series 1 was filmed in Scotland. “Ron (Moore, the producer) said from the beginning when he realised we could film in Scotland – what he and I both wanted – that it must be as much a character in the show as any of the actual cast members, and it certainly is. It’s just spectacular,” said Gabaldon.
Outlander Fans speak out
Once I’d watched the first series, I searched social media to find out what others thought about the Outlander TV series. I discovered a world wide fan base. Their passion for anything Outlander was evident. Fans who’ve been captivated by the books, which have been in circulation for over 20 years, are experiencing a new fever created by the release of the TV series. And those who’ve enjoyed the TV series are now starting to read the books. It seems the the power of TV has also created a renewed interest in tourism to Scotland.
Writing a Travel Story that connects Scotland and Outlander
Required to write an assignment for a writing course I was studying, why not write a Travel Story covering two favourite topics: Scotland and Outlander. I discovered Scottish folk dispersed around the world refuse to neglect their heritage and their strong Scottish roots. No doubt a boost to the series’ popularity. Scotland also happens to be part of my own ancestral history (with a name like Johnston go figure!) Possibly that is to blame my passion for many things Scottish. Sadly it has been 25 years since my first visit to Scotland. In my 20’s living in London, it was easy to pop over the border for a weekend. Much like Queenslanders heading south to New South Wales for a weekend. But now I’m living in Australia Scotland is a little further away than a quick train ride, so sadly it’s been quite way too long since my last visit.
It was fun re-visiting Scotland from my Brisbane desktop. Researching the noticeable impact Outlander’s popularity has on Scottish tourism never felt like work. That and the way the web makes you feel connected to someone on the other side of the world despite the vastness of distance made for a fun project! I located a couple of helpful independent Scottish Tour operators and we’d banter across the miles (usually late at night for me) about Scotland and the Outlander effect.
How can you not love the show? The quality of production, detailed sets, gourmet costumes, dramatic scenery and the wonderfully cast talented bunch of actors playing the fictional characters with award deserving displays. Yes I admit I’m a devoted Outlander fan. So not apologising, there will be more Outlander posts to follow – watch this blog!
Outlander updates from Starz