Last minute warm-up for GothNo

The clock is officially ticking. GothNo began for me two hours ago, and I still haven’t brought myself to write a word. It doesn’t really help that my outline is still in a rather shoddy state in comparison to my newly idealised ‘detailed’ outline model which I discovered via another blog post which I am too lazy to dig out at the moment. I do have an outline, yes, but it’s got a very basic structure, and that’s becoming increasingly adverse towards the way I’m trying to work. I do have a semi-related 20k word draft in my old files, but… let’s just say I don’t wanna talk about it.

So, for starters, let’s see how my revamped outline measures up back to back with the basic elements of the Gothic novel listed on the GothNo FAQ:

1. Set in and around a gloomy, abandoned-feeling castle with secret passages, trapdoors, etc. and near or connected to caves which provide their own atmosphere of creepiness

Not in the strictest sense, as there really is no ‘castle’ to be found; the closest thing to a castle is a large academic building which isn’t really classified as a castle. However, with its sheer interior volume, remoteness and emptiness at the time the story is set, it does provide quite a bit of room to comply with this characteristic. Must remember this when working the outline!

2. An atmosphere of mystery and suspense. A pervading, threatening feeling enhanced by the element of the unknown, often built around a mystery.

Now this is one the outline definitely agrees with. The whole premise is that the trio of MCs are trying to get to the bottom of said atmosphere and its implications to the community which it pervades. The unknown is also a prominent theme, as the conflict and tension is fuelled by the ‘invisible evil’ which is responsible for this atmosphere of latent terror and unease to begin with.

3. An ancient legend or prophecy is linked to the setting. This legend is usually cryptic and its meaning is important to the resolution of the plot.

This mostly complies with what I’m working on. There is a small subplot of the heroes going around gathering information about the lingering evil from the locals, being met with a number of legends which indirectly pertain to how said evil came to haunt the place. While none of these are true in their entirety, they share a basic elements which is deduced and exploited by the narrator when taking a more practical approach to the investigation.

4. Omens, visions, etc. usually pertaining to disgrace. X character witnesses something that they suspect points to someone else’s death.

Not really, but close enough. The relevancy of this characteristic within my story amounts to the narrator’s observation of the signs which lead him to suspect about the true nature of the invisible evil, but he doesn’t really associate those with coming tragedy.

5. Supernatural or inexplicable events; sightings of monsters, objects moving on their own, hauntings, etc. May or may not be given a rational explanation.

Oh, yes. That’s what this story is gonna be all about, after all: a search for the truth in the least conventional ways imaginable, which in turn yield results so unlikely that only the ones audacious enough to seek them can interpret them. Maybe that last line would be good for back-cover blurb?

6. High, exaggerated or overwrought emotion, especially pertaining to feelings of doom and despair.

Eh, not really. The main vehicle towards this aspect shall be our lady victim, who is by far the most affected by the mystery of the invisible evil, in countless ways. Given that the narrator is something of a cynic, this is very unlikely to come from him at all, so if need for any more should arise, it should be exercised through the secondary protagonist, Mr. Ned.

7. Women in distress, fainting, screaming, sobbing, especially characters established as lonely, pensive heroines to appeal to the reader’s pathos.

Well, I won’t lie, I have this. The whole reason the plot is set in motion is precisely because our heroine is so distressed that Mr. Ned can’t help but notice it and decide he’s going to do something about it. As our Mrs. heroine becomes more reassured in that she’s not alone in facing the invisible evil, her susceptibility to such episodes is reduced, but not eradicated.

8. Women oppressed by an impulsive, tyrannical male, usually someone of power in the house who forces them into marriage, or committing a crime.

I could say ‘yes’, but it wouldn’t be the most sincere answer. For now, let’s just say that there are at least traces of this elements in the final context.

9. Metonymy (a kind of metaphor) of gloom and horror. Stuff like rain during a funeral symbolising sorrow.

In the preliminary notes that as of this writing only exist in my head, there is a bit of a neutralisation of this. By this I mean, though there is something that symbolises danger, oppression, etc. it also turns out to BE the very things it symbolises, but in a way that I hope will not be too obvious.

Well, those are the nine ‘Gothic Guidelines’ of the GothNoWriMo FAQ, and how my story matches up to them. On closer inspection, this is actually looking quite promising in terms of fulfillment. Well, time abounds, and the wordcount isn’t too demanding for the time being, so I’ll see if I can use what little time I have to spare in making my outline into something more appropriate for what I’m about to attempt. But for the moment, I’m heading off to bed, as there’s ‘business’ that needs my attention in the morning.

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About ikerrivercast

Iker Rivercast is a natural born loner with a knack for writing and programming. When he's not sleeping or otherwise putting off being productive, you'll likely find him trying something new with his written work. View all posts by ikerrivercast

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