NOTES/WARNINGS: Here is the second chapter. Thank you so much for your interest in my story!
Silence enveloped the inside of the small carriage as we travelled further into the countryside. The only noises were the occasional neighs from the horses, and the sound of the carriage’s wheels, and horse hooves, against the gravel road.
My new guardian sat right in front of me and, as it was very cramped, our knees practically touched. His musky cologne was made even more apparent in the enclosed space.
I noticed yesterday that quite a few people who are doing the History Challenge are about to reach the Medieval Era, so I figured I’d start working on a small medieval village for anyone that’s interested. (click on images for hi res version)
It’s at about 60% complete right now, so it’s apt to be my first official build for 2016. I named it Burkett Manor because of the medieval sims family I created to play test it. We have Lord and Lady Burkett, and their teen-aged Son, Ser La Rouche, Friar Stewart, the serfs; Eugi and Gendolyn Bannister, and their daughter Jocelyn, I’ll probably post some pics of the family at some point later today.
How would one best go about writing a Gothic horror story? Does it need to take place in the Victorian period? Are haunted mansions and fainting heroines a requirement? Forgive my ignorance; I'm a intrigued novice in this genre.
There isn’t just one way to write a Gothic horror story, just like there isn’t just one way to write a story in any genre. Gothic horror doesn’t need to be set in the Victorian period (or the Medieval period, for that matter) and, no, haunted mansions and fainting heroines are not a requirement.
It’s really easy to rely on an inventory checklist to determine if a work is Gothic or not, but it really isn’t necessary or reliable. Yes, the early works in the genre do have all of the things you listed but that’s because the authors were writing about fairly familiar environments. When the genre first migrated to the US American authors clung to the Gothic tradition, the atmosphere the texts created, and transposed Medieval castles and European manors for wilderness and villages. Nathaniel Hawthorne’s Young Goodman Brown is a good example of this. Basically, the only prerequisite for a setting is that it should be unsettling or creepy. Ridley Scott and Dan O’Bannon took the haunted house, set it in space, swapped out the ghosts for xenomorphs and, voila! a new horrofying entry to the science-fiction gothic.
The ghosts, if you have any in your tale, don’t have to be actual spirits of the dead. They can be imagined by the hero(ine). They can be memories of a forgotten past pushing into the present or the spectre of some long hidden part of the self bursting into reality.
Also, as I said, it’s not necessary for there to be fainting heroines or actual ghosts. For example, the person who faints the most in Frankenstein is Victor Frankenstein and the only person who faints in The Yellow Wallpaper is the husband.
It boils down to this: the haunted house doesn’t have to be a house and the ghosts don’t have to be literal ghosts; monsters can be people and people can be monsters; men can be feminized and women can be masculinized. The Gothic is about blurring those nicely defined lines that we rely on to keep us safe.
You can find some resources on the genre in my links page and here are some writing resources:
Haddon Hall, Derbyshire - In form a medieval manor house, it has been described as “the most complete and most interesting house of its period.” The origins of the hall date to the 11th century. The current medieval and Tudor hall includes additions added at various stages between the 13th and the 17th centuries.
Medieval manor and garden I’ve been working on this weekend. I think the medieval garden style is my absolute favorite because it’s sooo overflowing with vegetation but it also has super defined hedge borders and trimmed shrubs. And talk about all that vine!