Do you take it dark with a twist of weird on the side? I do! Why is that? Why do many of us find Heathcliff (Wuthering Heights) so compelling? Why are we caught up in his angst? Remember the horrific scene when he opens Cathy’s coffin? We condemn it, it’s too awful to contemplate but we understand his awful dilemma: he cannot bear the world without her!
I’m a big believer in using my characters’ motivation to write my fiction. My fiction is character-driven and my character’s reasons for doing things give me the story. I don’t write with an outline. My characters show me the way.
With regard to Heathcliff, I believe Wuthering Heights is what it is because we understand the character’s motivation.
However Emily Bronte wrote her classic novel, she was well aware of motivation affecting the plot. Angst, heart ache, desperation are the ingredients in great romantic novels, and we know with regard to horror, horror and romance go together.
Further on this point let us contemplate whether horror and romance is more exciting the more twisted it is.
But hang on! Doesn’t horror have to have something twisted in it or it isn’t horror?
I think so.
Someone remarked that the classic gothic romantic book covers of times past were always so intriguing but they never delivered on the darkness aspect, the implied dark of the cover. They seemed to promise more but somehow it was less than many readers hoped for. I want those sorts of readers never to feel that way with my fiction!
From the feedback I’m getting, I’m being assured that my aim in redefining gothic romantic fiction is right. It’s time to push back the boundaries. Time to put a dark twist on the sorts of gothic romance that went before, that our mothers and grandmothers read.
Our world is dark and dangerous. There are wars, atrocities, and horror in day to day life. Certainly, our horror fiction must reflect the times we live in.
Steven King said: “(We) make up horrors to help us cope with the real ones.
Many of the great classics of gothic romance were penned before World War 2. How can our horror fiction not be dark after the Holocaust? And in more modern times there have been other genocides. There probably always will be.
Dangerous relationships, dark deeds—intriguing plots with twists and turns, the removal even of comfort zones: that’s what we want! That’s what I want, and I am endeavoring to do it with my fiction.
I would love to hear from you!