|Oct 31, 2012
There's a chill in the air that accompanies October's arrival. It hints at horror, whispers of something lurking just out of the corner of your eye. You turn to catch it, to glimpse the ghoul that is surely there, only for it to slip out of sight again. Was it real or just your imagination? You'll have a chance to explore that now.
Gothic literature is an interesting beast, not just for its supernatural elements, but for the way it helped shape the novel as we know it. You wouldn't think of the gothic as essential to the novel's formation, but it was. In the 18th century, the concept of the novel was just coming into being, struggling to find its own voice somewhere between theater and essay. The gothic allowed the pieces to explore their own nature, human nature, and the nature of the supernatural world at the same time.
There's more to gothic literature than castles, spooks, and high emotions. It can be argued that gothic literature has two distinct genders:
- Male gothic: features the supernatural, usually a struggle against supernatural elements and the coming-to-terms with the main character's true nature and place in the world (think "Manfred" by Lord Byron).
- Female gothic: more Scooby Doo-esque mystery (Mr. Jenkins in a mask and he would have gotten away with it if it weren't for you meddling kids) where the circumstances are what create the tension. It could be the supernatural, but it mostly turns out to be misunderstood or misread situations (think Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen).
What you are tasked with is reversing these gothic genders. The male gothic will take on the Scooby Doo mystery while the female will go toe-to-toe with the supernatural. If you have a damsel in distress, have her save herself, or make the damsel really a knight who must be saved by the princess. Give your male character a pseudo-supernatural mystery to solve. Put him in some mistakenly spooky situations. Write the next gothic smash hit with reversed gender conditions. Entries may not be more than 3000 words long.
If you need some more elements of gothic literature to work with, or just want some more information, try here.
Let's get spooky.
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Your entry must be a piece of gothic fiction totaling 3000 words or fewer as counted by Scribophile.
Entries must use elements of gothic literature with their traditional gender conditions reversed as explained in the prompt.
Entries must be received before midnight on October 31st, 2012 (UTC time), and winners will be announced within two weeks of that date.
Entries will be judged by Scribophile staff. Decisions are final.
Only one entry is allowed per member. Multiple entries will all be disqualified.
Work must have Public visibility on Scribophile until winners are announced.
To enter the contest, post your work on Scribophile and check the box that says "Enter this work into the Gothtober Contest". Your work will automatically be considered. The checkbox will be visible until the contest deadline, which is in UTC time.
Entry is free, but you'll need karma points to post your work. You can earn karma points by writing critiques of work by other members.
If you have placed in a contest in the past with a particular piece, you may not resubmit that piece in other contests.