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Ideas for Writing Gothic Short Stories

Updated February 21, 2017

Gothic short stories can be a fun school writing assignment for students, or something an individual has always wanted to do on his or her own time. Whatever the scenario, writing a Gothic short story calls for some knowledge about the genre. For instance, a dark tone must be established in order for a tale to be considered Gothic. Gothic stories also typically contain mythical creatures or controversial and mysterious plots that test human morals. Once you familiarise yourself with the genre, you can come up with ideas for your short story.

Mythical Creatures

Create a Gothic short story about a mythical creature your protagonist, and other characters in the story, fear. One of the most popular examples of this type of story is Bram Stoker's "Dracula." Vampires often make appearances in Gothic fiction, so see if you can create a mythical creature besides a vampire. Use your imagination, or do some research about historic folk tales that involve scary beasts. Develop a plot for your short story that involves a protagonist who defends others from the mythical creature. Or, if you want to really be edgy, have your protagonist be killed off at the end, after saving a village from the dark and evil creature.

Romance

Romance is a common theme in Gothic fiction, so find a way to weave it into your short story. Remember, the difference between a Gothic romance story and a traditional romance story is romance in a Gothic story usually occurs between two people, or creatures, who are not supposed to love one another. This "taboo" type of romance is what makes it fall into the Gothic genre. You can accomplish romance scenes into your short story without having to be graphic, in case you are writing this short story for a school assignment. Find descriptive words and creative ways to describe a scene between lovers without making readers blush.

Historic Moments

Find a way to turn a historic moment in time into a Gothic story. You can take real events in history, such as a war, and add Gothic elements by giving humans special powers or making them immortal. If you go this route, make sure to do research about the particular historical moment so you can capture an accurate description of the events. Even though you are writing a fictional piece, it is still important to keep certain historical things correct.

Futuristic

Set your Gothic short story in the future. Create a world that takes place many years from now and invent characters that have supernatural powers, such as flying, becoming invisible or turning into shadows. Keep the dark undertone and make sure your characters face issues that cause disorder or distress, which are traits of the Gothic genre.

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About the Author

Kyra Sheahan has been a writer for various publications since 2008. Her work has been featured in "The Desert Leaf" and "Kentucky Doc Magazine," covering health and wellness, environmental conservatism and DIY crafts. Sheahan holds an M.B.A. with an emphasis in finance.