Skip to main content

Gothic

Gothic

This type of category fiction dates back to the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries. Contemporary gothic novels are characterized by atmospheric, historical settings and feature young, beautiful women who win the favor of handsome, brooding heroessimultaneously dealing successfully with some life-threatening menace, either natural or supernatural. Gothics rely on mystery, peril, romantic relationships and a sense of foreboding for their strong, emotional effect on the reader. A classic early gothic novel is Emily Brontë''s Wuthering Heights.

The gothic writer builds a series of credible, emotional crises for his ultimately triumphant heroine. Sex between the woman and her lover is implied rather than graphically detailed; the writer''s descriptive talents are used instead to paint rich, desolate, gloomy settings in stark mansions and awesome castles. He composes slow-paced, intricate sketches that create a sense of impending evil on every page. Book-length gothics (usually written in first person) are therefore long enough to accommodate lengthy descriptions; many run 65,000-90,000 words.

A variation of the traditional gothic work is the horror or Satanic tale. It concerns elements of the supernatural or parapsychology, such as witchcraft, the occult or ESP Since much remains unknown about these subjects, the writer is free to fully use his imagination. In works such as Rosemary''s Baby or The Exorcist, these gothics penetrate the darker side of human existence, including mental disintegration. Interest in the occult and the power of the human mind periodically brings a resurgence in the market for this type of novel.

Though the popularity of the traditional gothic novel has often wavered throughout the years, there are nevertheless many faithful readers and publishers of this vividly escapist fiction. Novel & Short Story Writer''s Market lists book and magazine publishers soliciting gothic material.

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover

Writer's Digest September/October 2022 Cover Reveal

Writer's Digest is excited to announce our Sept/Oct 2022 issue featuring our Annual Literary Agent Roundup, an interview with NYT-bestselling YA horror novelist Tiffany D. Jackson, and articles about writing sinister stories.

Your Story #120

Your Story #120

Write the opening line to a story based on the photo prompt below. (One sentence only.) You can be poignant, funny, witty, etc.; it is, after all, your story.

5 Tips for Writing as a Parent

5 Tips for Writing as a Parent

Author Sarah Grunder Ruiz shares how she fits writing into her life and offers 5 tips on how to achieve a sustainable writing life as a parent.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 621

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write an animal poem.

Why Is This Love Scene Here? How To Write Compelling Love Scenes

Why Is This Love Scene Here? How To Write Compelling Love Scenes

Not sure which way to turn when writing intimate scenes? Author Jo McNally shares how to write compelling love scenes that make sense for the story you’re writing.

How Can I Help You?

How Can I Help You?

Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, your character is a high-end retail salesperson.

Phong Nguyen: On Freedom To Invent in Historical Fiction

Phong Nguyen: On Freedom To Invent in Historical Fiction

Award-winning author Phong Nguyen discusses his lifelong dream of writing his new historical fiction novel, Bronze Drum.

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

Historical Fiction Authors Don’t Expect Their Characters’ Battles To Appear in Modern Headlines, but Here We Are

What happens to historical fiction when history repeats itself? Author Addison Armstrong discusses writing about the past and seeing it reflected in the present.

From Script

Art and Independence (From Script)

In this week’s round up brought to us by Script magazine, exclusive interviews with Neil Gaiman’s “The Sandman” television writer Vanessa Benton, Allegoria writer-director Spider One, Hulu’s Prey screenwriter Patrick Aison and director Dan Trachtenberg, and more!