#Gothtober – A Tour of The Gothic

GothtoberOne of the reasons Gothic Fiction was so prolific in its time, was the escapism and wonder of writing about a place your audience has only ‘vaguely heard of’. The mystery and terror of the unknown is the genre’s bread and butter.

However –

Nowadays you can actually VISIT the places these stories are set. And if you decided to do a tour of the Gothic, these are the places I’d recommend.

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The Castle of Otranto, in Otranto Italy.

The Mysteries of Udolpho, in the Spanish/French Pyrenees.

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, Sleepy Hollow, New York.

Frankenstein’s Germany, maybe don’t make the Arctic trip. Spoiler Alert… they don’t make it.

Dracula’s Romania, Bran’s Castle Transylvania. (This one I’ve actually been to. Blog coming soon).

As for the English Gothic Fiction Novels, you’ll notice they invoke mystery in a different way. In the form of ACTUAL mysteries. Murder or otherwise.

So if you can’t make it across Europe for your tour of the Gothic, maybe visit my Gothic Fiction Event in Lympne, Kent. Get a taste of the Gothic first hand.

And if you haven’t entered our #GothGiveAway – Comment below with your spookiest story!

 

#Gothtober Giveaway!

Gothtober

I haven’t done a give-away in years, but I’m really excited about this one. And entering is really easy!

Priorities: What’s in it? 

Well…20191007_130413.jpg

  • Hotel Chocolat, Crystopher the Vampire Caramel Halloween Box.
  • Moleskin Notebook set. 
  • Pumpkin and Spice Handpoured Candle
  • Rae Dunn’s Wicked Mug
  • Five Go Bump in the Night, Enid Blyton’s stories. 
  • Frankenstein Tshirt 

How do I enter? 

Comment below with #GothGiveAway and an answer to this question:

What is the spookiest thing to ever happen to you? 

You can enter AS MANY TIMES AS YOU LIKE! Each time you do, your name and story get put into a hat and on 18th October the giveaway will close and a winner revealed!

I also bought the most disgusting Spider Lollipops – so two Losers will also be picked and a thank you card and spider lollipop will go to those (un)lucky victors.

So go forth and spread the spook!

And if you haven’t yet bought your ticket for my Gothic Fiction workshop in the spooky 12th Century Castle, what are you waiting for?

 

T&Cs –

*Must be over 13.

*Must be UK or Ireland Resident, for postage.

*Chocolates and Lollipops are not Vegan or Gluten-Free, and contain nuts.

#Gothtober – Gothic Listening

Gothtober

Back in July I wrote a blog post about music being influential on writing, explaining that writers craving silence and solitude was a stereotype and ABSOLUTELY NOT how I like to write. Click here if you want a little slice of recap.

But a TLDR is: Some writers finds the blank page daunting, and music can help break numerous barriers.

And whilst music and literature might not seem synonymous, they both have tangible effects on us as human beings. When you’re a child you learn to sing along to music, keep to a beat and co-ordinate through music, whether that’s through music lessons or simply conditioning within the home. For example, my dad loves The Squeeze, so I know all the words to Up the Junction. (Test me). Equally, your parents might have read to you as a child, instigating your journey to reading and writing. Both are creative outlets developed and intrinsic to the person developing them. They’re large parts of everyone’s lives, whether they realise it or not, and the wider you explore both subjects the more you’ll get out of life and the wider cultural world around you.

The music I play when I’m writing is always curated to suit the mood of my writing.

So, with that in mind. I’ve created a playlist for you to listen to. Check it out on Spotify (not a spon – I don’t have NEARLY enough followers for that yet) and let me know what you think. What music do you listen to when you’re writing?

#Gothtober – Gothic Fiction 101

Gothtober

Before Pride and Prejudice could create an idyllic wonderland of Georgian Society, before Charles Dickens could address the poverty and hypocrisy of London life, before Matthew Lewis could creep us all out with The Monk (honestly, I’m not sure I’d recommend you read it) Walpole created The Gothic, a literature movement which would go on to shape countless genres, books and authors, with elements and tropes undisputable and almost undefinable.

I mean, I love Gothic Fiction, but have you ever tried to look up a definition?

Gothic fiction, which is largely known by the subgenre of Gothic horror, is a genre or mode of literature and film that combines fiction and horror, death, and at times romance. Its origin is attributed to English author Horace Walpole, with his 1764 novel The Castle of Otranto, subtitled “A Gothic Story” – Wikipedia.

Seems a bit of an oxymoron – how can Gothic Fiction be a subgenre if the origin is attributed to a book over two hundred and fifty years old? I love Gothic Fiction. It’s spooky and moody, and full of creepy monsters. And it’s not super obvious because it was created during a time of great change.

That said, all the great Literature movements were.

In April 1721, Sir Robert Walpole became the first prime minister – sort of. He was made chancellor of the exchequer, and given 10 Downing street, and his responsibilities were not dissimilar to the responsibilities our current prime minister has (when he remembers… *cough cough*). This continues, no matter his failures, wars with the Spanish, and other messes, right up until 1742 when Walpole resigns as prime minister. He would die three years later.

His son, Horace, aforementioned creator of The Gothic, was Eton and Cambridge educated – though he never completed his degree. He started hanging out (and this is the part where it should be super clear this isn’t a real essay) with Conyers Middleton – a clergyman against superstition and bigotry. Noteworthy due to its rarity. H Walpole also became a politician, but wasn’t as committed to it as his father, choosing instead to focus on his writing, and his beloved palace – Strawberry Hill, Twickenham.

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If you haven’t been – I’d definitely recommend it.

You see that bit of building which isn’t painted bright white? That’s where I studied Gothic Fiction. In the home turf of the creator. In a cute little lecture room with wallpaper which had about six different greens in it, and spooky paneling and a genuine real hidden door which popped open when I leaned on it. It was just a cupboard full of paper towels, but it was still cool. It created a new trend for architecture and became the template for spooky Ghost castles.

Anyway, back to Gothic Fiction. Travel had become a cosmopolitan luxury. People were traveling further, experiencing more than ever and writing all about it. And everything that was ‘other’ and ‘alien’ was terrifying. And literature, being the easiest and most accessible sponge, allowed the world to see without ever leaving their homes. Walpole had been all over France and Italy. It took him years to visit places it can take us two hours to fly to. (Sixteen if you’re flying Sleazy jet). 

Horace Walpole wrote The Castle of Otranto in 1764. The second in a long list of books he’d write developing his Gothic tropes. And thus an era was born.

Welcome to #Gothtober

Gothtober

Okay, so… your first question might be – what is Gothtober? Or it might be, why? Both are reasonable. And I can explain.

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a princess. *Cue the sicky noises. But, after my mum introduced me to some real princesses (the pageant kind) who wanted to borrow her very expensive dresses, parade about in them and smile – a lot – I decided being a princess probably wasn’t for me.

Skip twenty(ish) years – I’m definitely NOT a princess. Thank (insert preferred deity here). But that doesn’t mean my interest and love of the fantastical has died. In fact – quite the opposite. I get to visit castles, wear ball gowns, tame dragons (though the last bit isn’t in the literal sense) all the time. And I realised some months ago – I’m really lucky, and I had the opportunity to let people in on the party.

So back to your first question: What is Gothtober? Well, it’s 31 days of blog posts, pictures, games, videos, giveaways, and Q&As about Gothic Fiction, Ghost Stories and the dark underbelly of the fantasy worlds living in our heads. It’s a calendar count down to my event – Creative Writing Workshop – Gothic Fiction – and a sneak peek to the event itself. You see, Gothic Fiction is the Great Grandfather of all your favourite genres – Murder Mysteries, Horror, Thriller, Fantasy, Historical Fiction and Science Fiction. They all stem from the Gothic. And if you want to develop your writing – it might be a fun little exercise to try writing some Gothic Fiction of your own.

And – why Gothtober? That’s easy.

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You see, once I got over the whole ‘wanting to be a princess’ I decided I wanted to be Morticia Addams. She has way more fun.

So enjoy this excuse to lacquer your nails in black, pull out your darkest lipstick, and listen to some dark and moody tunes, and don’t forget to comment below with your favourite Goth.