Novel Blog Five
What is a Gothic Novel?
An atmosphere of mystery and fear pervade this genre, along with emotional distress, curses, omens, nightmares, and a damsel in distress (a partial list).
And, of course, a grand, antiquated house that conceals a terrible secret.
The Other Ones (my current novel-in-progress) features a gifted, troubled man who escapes his prestigious life and abusive ten-year marriage to begin again in a dilapidated turn-of-the-century farmhouse. The abandoned house mirrors his shattered soul, and as the story progresses, its restoration keeps pace with his own growing sense of renewal.
But Damon's refuge and new life soon threaten to become his undoing, as the forces behind his healing come face to face with demons from the past.
The Gothic romance should include the supernatural, be tinged with terror, and set against a mysterious background. In The Other Ones, the supernatural aspect takes the form of vanishing personalities that reemerge as psychic vampires, which is at the core of Damon’s domestic abuse and problems with other individuals in his life.
Following is an excerpt where Damon and his friend Dawson discuss their long-time friend and colleague, Sterling:
“And her brothers are absolutely useless,” Sterling added with a laugh after they had completed their work together an hour later.
Damon chuckled over yet another story regaling the escapes of Sterling’s in-laws. Dawson sat nearby, uncharacteristically tight-lipped, sorting through a stack of files.
“So the birthday party ended up a fiasco, as per usual?” Damon asked.
“Absolutely.” Sterling grinned.
Patty poked her head into the room. “Sterling, line two.”
Sterling rose and left the room.
“Shall we get back to work?” Damon asked. “Toss me a few.”
Dawson nodded with a sage expression. “Sterling is disappearing.”
“What?” Damon looked up surprise.
“You don’t see it?”
“He’s fading away.” Dawson pushed up his glasses. “Remember eight years ago when he got married?”
“Yes, I went to his wedding.”
“Do you recall what he used to be like? His spontaneity is being replaced with amusing anecdotes.”
Damon frowned. Now that Dawson mentioned it, he had noticed a transformation, albeit a subtle one. He no longer felt as connected to Sterling but chalked it up to the rigors of family life. Sterling had three young sons to support in addition to a company to manage.
“Do you know what his favorite word is now?” Dawson asked.
Damon shook his head.
“It’s ‘absolutely’; he uses it constantly.”
“It’s the preferred word of the insincere.”
“Does he ever call you anymore?” Dawson asked. “As a friend?"
Damon was silent a moment. “No, but I doubt he has the time.”
“He lacks desire.”
“He’s most likely busy.”
Dawson sighed. “How about your friend Henry? How many kids does he have?”
“Does he call you?”
“Yes,” Damon replied. Henry called quite often, now that he considered it.
“He’s a busy physician with nine children. Yet he still maintains an interest in you as a person.”
“I don’t expect to retain the same level of relevance to everyone indefinitely.”
“We don’t really mean anything to him anymore.”
“Okay,” Damon agreed. “We probably don’t.”
“But why is that?”
“Because the circumstances of his life have changed.”
“Yes, exactly. He’s disappearing right before everyone’s eyes. His stranglehold marriage is assimilating him bit by bit. Pretty soon he won’t exist at all. And no one will even know it.”
“Then who will he be, if he’s not himself?”
“He’ll be one of the other ones.”
Damon shook his head. “I think I’m beginning to understand why you like to drink so much.”