Elizabeth Comyn: A Historical Novel
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History recorded little of Elizabeth Comyn’s life, but what it has recorded gives us a glimpse of a young woman who suffered and achieved much in an era where the acts and deeds of women went largely overlooked and unrecorded. I stumbled across Elizabeth’s story while researching my own ancestry and discovering that my maiden name, Cummings, is likely a derivative of Comyn. After a bit of reading I became acquainted with Elizabeth’s father, John Comyn III, Lord of Badenoch, who was murdered by Robert the Bruce on February 10th, 1306 at a church in Dumfries, Scotland. At first, I thought that would be the end of my research as the Comyn clan took a sharp decline in prominence after that, but then I found a quote about Elizabeth explaining that she had inherited a large amount of land but that it was stolen from her by Hugh Despenser, one of King Edward II’s favorites. This was all the information I had to go on when I decided to pursue this creative project of writing a historical novel about Elizabeth Comyn’s life and using a three chapter excerpt as basis for my honors thesis. After hours and days of library and internet research I slowly accumulated enough information to begin writing this novel. Applying the techniques I had learned about the genre of historical fiction, I began to craft plot, character, scene, and dialogue from my long list of quotes and references. After writing and even more revising, I completed the three chapters present in this thesis and, which I hope, will become the beginning of a much longer novel detailing the life of Elizabeth Comyn.