Recently I have been questioning what my chosen genres as a writer really are. Then I experienced my ‘light bulb’ moment and wondered why I had not thought of it before. I was about ten years old when I discovered Anya Seton’s Dragonwyck. That book really reeled me in and I’ve read it many times since and it inspired me to read more within the genre of gothic fiction.
Gothic fiction combines both horror (psychological and/or physical) and romance. There is a heavy emphasis on atmosphere in order to help build suspense. Gothic fiction usually deals with past eras, using medieval settings or in more modern times Victorian England and pre Civil War Southern United States.
Gothic elements usually include some of the following:
- Medieval setting, usually in a castle or 19th century mansion
- An atmosphere of mystery and suspense
- Supernatural or other inexplicable events, which can include ghosts, werewolves and monsters
- Women in distress
- An ancient prophecy, omens , visions, dark secrets
- A tyrannical male, villains and Byronic heroes
- Mad characters
Stories that are considered gothic fiction include The Mysteries of Udolpho, Jane Eyre, Wuthering Heights, Frankenstein, Dracula, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, Rebecca and of-course Edgar Allan Poe. Some of the works by Charles Dickens and Stephen King are considered to be that of gothic fiction. And who could forget Jane Austen’s take on it all in Northanger Abbey?
What I love about gothic fiction is that it combines horror, suspense, mystery/crime, the supernatural, history and romance – all genres I enjoy reading; it all fits under one big umbrella. So that’s who I am – a writer of gothic fiction.
Do you enjoy gothic fiction? Do you have a favourite? If you’re a writer, have you experienced a ‘light bulb’ moment in your chosen genre/s?
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