Wednesday, June 07, 2006

The Gothic...continued....

So Heather, (, has been kind enough to provide me with this definition of Gothic. She also has a very interesting post on crappy first drafts which I agree with 100%. That internal editor will absolutely KILL anything creative in you if you let it.

Anyway, on to Gothic....

The Gothic novel, or "Gothic romance" . . . flourished through the early nineteenth century. Authors of such novels set their stories in the medieval period, often in a gloomy castle replete with dungeons, subterranean passages, and sliding panels, and made plentiful use of ghosts, mysterious disappearances, and other sensational and supernatural occurrences; their principal aim was to evoke chilling terror by exploiting mystery, cruelty, and a variety of horrors. The term "gothic" has also been extended to denote a type of fiction which lacks the medieval setting but develops a brooding atmosphere of gloom or terror, represents events which are uncanny, or macabre, or melodramatically violent, and often deals with aberrant psychological states. (adapted from A Glossary of Literary Terms)

Thank you, Heather. I think it's a good definition. I don't write medieval, although I do love to read it, but I think I'm all about the "brooding atmosphere of gloom" and "events which are uncanny".

Anyone out there read my books? Have an opinion on this? I'd love to hear about it. Actually, what I'd REALLY like to hear about is what you think I do right. (no pun intended there.) I think for a lot of authors, yours truly in particular, it's hard to know what it is that is really connecting with readers. Is it the hero? The "brooding atmosphere?" The "uncanny events?" The heroine? The story itself?

I stumbled across a blog the other day that just broke my heart. They were bashing one of my books, and I don't mean in a good way, ha ha, and one of them said something about it having such potential but I'd missed the mark. I wanted to know how I'd missed it, but was too busy licking my wounds and crying my eyes out to type (just kidding). Actually, since the book they were bashing won 3 awards and was a finalist for 5 others, I decided not to ask. Plus, they even went so far as to say the cover was awful, which is just a flat out lie. :-)

ANYWAY, enough about that. what I want to know is not what I do wrong, but what I do right. If you have a minute, let me know. What is it that you like about my books? (asked with fingers crossed that no one says, "when it's over.")


Heather Dawn Harper said...

I think your books are tightly woven and skillfully plotted without seeming contrived.

To me, it reminds me of a jigsaw puzzle of a lovely scene that is disguised in darkness, and you have used puzzle paste to hold everything together so you can frame it for everyone to see without it falling apart, but I can't see any of the paste dripping over the edges to wipe off. It is seemless and transparent, and I do not realize the glue holding it together is even there until the very end.

I hope that came across as a compliment. It is really late. ;)

I also thought the passage I found was a good definition of gothic, but it did leave out more of the classics like Jane Eyre, Rebecca, many of which double as romantic suspense. The genres tend to mutate and blur. I just know I like what you write, and have not found anything current that is similair.

Jennette said...

I'm glad you "stumbled across" my blog too - hopefully it took some of the sting out of that other blog. Just goes to show that nothing is so good that someone, somewhere, won't hate it. (sigh)

I think of gothics as involving a spooky old house and a dark, brooding hero with questionable motives. A recently-published historical I read with a very gothic feel is Jennifer St. Giles's The Mistress of Trevelyan. Wonderful book, I think I picked it up at the same booksigning where I got Echoes. I've since purchased both Whispers (lurking near the top of my TBR shelves) and the next Jennifer St. Giles book. :)

I think it's the "uncanny events" that drew me into Echoes above all else. The characters were likeable, and if it hadn't been for the back cover copy I would not have known whether or not Grant was involved in Tess's sister's disappearance. That's probably where the book gets its gothic feel to some readers, and was something else that kept me from putting the book down. I also enjoyed Mollie's story and how Tess's visions paralleled her real-world situation.