How to write a short gothic romance

Written by kiran gaunle
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How to write a short gothic romance
Overwrought passion is a staple of Gothic romance. (Hemera Technologies/ Images)

Gothic literature is concerned with the exploration of the sinister and the supernatural. Unlike a horror, a similar genre, Gothic literature is less direct -- the ghosts and demons do not reveal themselves. This reliance on the power of suggestion to create terror in the reader's heart gives Gothic stories a more haunted feel than horror stories. A Gothic romance story combines the mystery of the Gothic with the titillation of a romance, giving twice as much entertainment as either genre alone.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Choose a gloomy setting for most of the action to take place. Classic Gothic stories were set in places such as abandoned castles, manor houses and ruins. Use the setting to create an ominous mood.

  2. 2

    Use a recognisable Gothic hero. He's a loner, and a man of few words. He's dark and mysterious. Have him kill someone in the past. Have him see ghosts and visions. Have all the women he's ever loved die inexplicably.

  3. 3

    Create a heroine who is a firm believer in true love. She suffers from violent passions that struggle to find an outlet in an oppressive surrounding.

  4. 4

    Create a tyrannical father-figure. He doesn't have to be a blood relative but it's good form to make him odious. In short, create a monster.

  5. 5

    Make the hero fall in love with the heroine, or vice-versa, to add the romantic element. Unrequited love works better since most readers will instantly identify with the situation.

  6. 6

    Bring in the jealous monster. Turn it into requited love, or else there'll be no romance. Make the tyrant hiss and prowl around the castle on moonless nights. Make the brooding hero defeat him.

  7. 7

    Use the metonymy of the doomed. Make the wind howl and sigh, and mingle with laughter, also howling. The Gothic vocabulary of negative emotions is vast. Choose with precision.

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