What Do You Like Best About Gothic Fiction?

Free image courtesy Larisa-K on Pixabay.

Haunted houses, eerie landscapes and forbidden secrets: ever since the publication of The Castle of Otranto in 1764, Gothic Fiction may have received its fair share of detractors, but it has gone on to become a very versatile genre.

For many years, I could never work out exactly which genre I wrote in. As I read in multiple genres, my writing would gravitate towards a variety of genres as well. Horror, romance, historical, mysteries: I tried them all. It’s only in more recent years that I’ve come full circle, returning to the genre that I was drawn to from a very early age (although I do still write in other genres).

I think I’ve managed to avoid my characters doing this. I might have to try it sometime!

One of the reasons why I enjoy Gothic Fiction so much is it incorporates other genres, and therefore gives it more scope to tap into various themes. Two recurring themes for me are mental illness and gender issues, such as the status of women in society (which works well in a historical setting).

I grew up watching horror films and have always been fascinated by the paranormal (ghosts being my favourite), so I am naturally drawn to stories that contain these elements. I enjoy the suspense built within them, eager to keep turning the pages or watching to see what lurks within the shadows. As the setting is an important characteristic of the Gothic genre, this helps heighten the feelings of dread.

Gothic fiction is also highly emotional, which is why it works extremely well with romantic elements. Throw in a flawed, brooding hero and I’m sold. πŸ˜‰

The BBC production of Jane Eyre is my favourite.

Death is a constant companion within the genre. I’ve had a morbid fascination about the subject from a young age (regular family visits to the local cemetery may have something to do with it). It is one of life’s great mysteries, and being naturally curious, I really enjoy a good mystery too!

Gothic Fiction has many characteristics, and as you can probably tell, I’m fond of all of them! Recently, I’ve heard that the Gothic novel is β€˜coming back.’ For me, it never left.

For those who celebrate – Happy Halloween! πŸ™‚

What do you consider the best characteristics of your favourite genre? Have you struggled to find your genre when it comes to writing? Do you have a favourite production of Jane Eyre?

32 thoughts on “What Do You Like Best About Gothic Fiction?

  1. I enjoy deep character insights when characters are in dire danger in literary horror, and I enjoy the nail-biting suspense and atmosphere in Gothic horror.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 3:17 am

      Hi Priscilla. Characters can be unpredictable in the genre, which is very appealing. I’m with you on the suspense and atmosphere in Gothic horror. Love it! πŸ˜‰

  2. I love the uncertainty in Gothic stories. The “happily ever after” isn’t guaranteed, and it creates a more emotional/thrilling read. I like not knowing what to expect in my read, but NOT uncertainty in life.

    It took me a bit to find my main writing genre, but now that I’m here, I’ve embraced Southern Gothic though I mix in other elements as well–especially historical.

    My favorite JANE EYRE (so far) is the 2011 edition with Mia Wasikowska in the title role, though I haven’t seen the version you picked.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 3:43 am

      Hi Carrie. Anything is possible within this genre, and even though I do like a HEA sometimes, the not so HEA appeals to me more because I find them more emotional. Believe it or not, I like a story that makes me cry, or close to it (yes, I’m a sadist πŸ˜‰ )! I think that makes more of an impact and therefore is more memorable.

      I’m glad you’ve found your genre. I’ve got a few of your books to get through, too. πŸ˜‰ I did see that Jane Eyre film, but my favourite version is the 2006 TV series (BBC adaptation). I highly recommend it if you get the chance.

  3. Yes, gothic fiction does give scope to incorporate other genres. I am venturing into fantasy for the first time, a break from my children’s historical writing, can’t wait to get started, and good luck with your future writing. Carole.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 8:07 pm

      Thanks, Carole. Fantasy would be fun to write. Best of luck with it! Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  4. I was also raised as a frequent-cemetery-visitor. To this day, I find them calming, not scary. And I, like you, love gothic horror. I’m glad it’s “coming back” to everyone else, but I never abandoned it.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 8:16 pm

      Hi Staci. Yes, I find cemeteries very peaceful, and like to visit them whenever I can, even when I travel. It’s good to find someone who also appreciates the genre. πŸ™‚

  5. Gothic certainly brings an excellent atmosphere. It may go in cycles but I don’t think it will ever truly go out of fashion.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 8:22 pm

      Hi Nick. It’s true what you say about cycles, as many things go in and out of fashion. I’m glad about Gothic Fiction, but who knew the mullet would come back? πŸ˜‰

  6. Very interesting post, Debbie. I never thought of Gothic in those terms. But of course you’re right. Can’t imagine any genre that would raise your adrenaline as fast as Gothic horror.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 8:26 pm

      Thanks Joy. I love the eerie suspense within the genre. Raising the adrenaline is a good way to put it! πŸ™‚

  7. Recently I’ve been reading from an anthology of gothic literature, and my favorite so far has been Bram Stoker’s Dracula. I had no idea that it was so masterfully written! His use of verisimilitude makes the story so believable, and I loved how he builds the increasing pace to the final climax. So well done!

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 8:40 pm

      Hi Brian. Dracula really is a memorable book for a good many reasons. I’m glad you enjoyed it. An anthology of gothic literature sounds good to me! Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  8. I do love the dark twists and turns of gothic fiction. It makes it so unpredictable.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 8:46 pm

      Hi Tonja. That’s one of the things I love about it, to expect the unexpected. Yes, it’s an escape, but the reader is taken along for a ride at the same time. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  9. I write in an opposite vein: humor and satire, which come naturally to my spunky and smart-ass self, and I keep it all contemporary. I’m attempting to swerve into cozy mystery, a slog that is worth it because I’m all about trying something new, too.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 8:53 pm

      Hi PJ. I’d love to write a cozy mystery! They sound like they’d be fun, but I can’t write humour. Best of luck with it, and good on you for trying something new! Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  10. I love Jane Eyre. Such a plucky woman! Such an eventful and dramatic story. And, yes, I suppose it is Gothic.
    Have you visited Haworth? If you have, you will very quickly pick up the heavy atmosphere, full of foreboding, especially on a rainy day or when the skies are darkening immediately before rain.

    1. Debbie Johansson 05/10/2022 — 11:45 pm

      Hi Rosemary. No, I haven’t visited Haworth, but like the UK in general, it’s on my bucket list! It sounds like an amazing landscape, and I’m not surprised the Brontes found so much inspiration there. Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

  11. There are some cool gothic horror stories out there. Stick with it!

    1. Debbie Johansson 06/10/2022 — 1:53 am

      Thank you, Alex, I’m so glad to finally find my genre! Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  12. I love me a good gothic scare! Hello to a fellow horror writer! πŸ™‚

    1. Debbie Johansson 06/10/2022 — 4:01 am

      Yay, another Gothic/horror buff! It’s good to meet you, Abby! πŸ™‚

  13. What you said about trying to find what genre you write in resonates with me. I’m still trying to figure it out. What I love about gothic fiction is the settings: castles, mansions, creepy landscapes.
    I like Jane Eyre but I’m more of a Wuthering Heights fan. πŸ™‚

    1. Debbie Johansson 06/10/2022 — 4:15 am

      Hi AJ. Yes to all you say about the settings. And they have to be well isolated places, too. Wuthering Heights is good, and I love the supernatural element in it. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  14. mlouisebarbourfundyblue 08/10/2022 — 2:58 am

    Gothic fiction is great fun to read, and I’ve read a lot of the classics. It’s great that you’ve come back to your roots as a writer. Enjoy October!

    1. Debbie Johansson 08/10/2022 — 6:45 am

      I love the classics in the genre, and definitely worth reading more than once. Thanks for stopping by! πŸ™‚

  15. Ronel Janse van Vuuren 12/10/2022 — 5:30 pm

    A flawed, brooding hero and a gothic mansion — yes, please!

    1. Debbie Johansson 13/10/2022 — 1:32 am

      I couldn’t agree more, Ronel. πŸ˜‰

  16. Damyanti Biswas 22/10/2022 — 1:23 pm

    Although gothic fiction is not my cup of tea, I am very intrigued by this post!

    1. Debbie Johansson 22/10/2022 — 10:28 pm

      Thank you, Damyanti. Thanks for stopping by. πŸ™‚

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