Merilee has put up some prompts to jog our creative juices, and there were a few things there that really called out to me.

Keeping in mind the goals that I set myself (Conflict, Gothic Genre and Themes) I have decided to start with the Gothic, only because one of the pictures just screamed at me.

So, what is Gothic Literature?  I have had a look on various sites, and discovered, that much like Speculative Fiction, it is rather loosely defined.  Pretty much anything that contains :

  • horror
  • despair
  • grotesque
  • dark subjects
  • gloom
  • supernatural
  • romance
  • terror (psychological and physical)
  • death
  • secrets
  • curse
  • insanity
  • murder
  • wild and desolate landscapes
  • ruins
  • ancient buildings (monasteries, ruins of halls / castles)
  • secret doors
  • demons
  • phantoms / ghosts
  • handsome heros and screaming heroines (OK, too tacky, perfer strong characters)
  • atmosphere of despair, torture and or gloom

Wow, that is a list and a half.  Most of the references I have read recently about Gothic Literature spout forth such classics as Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte), Jane Eyre (Charlotte Bronte) and Edgar Allan Poe.  I wanted something a little more modern to compare Gothic Literature with, and two writers spring to mind, and you are allowed to debate me on this, but Virginia Andrews and Diane Setterfield.

Because I have only recently read Diane Setterfields, the Thirteenth Tale, I can relate to this one.  It contained ghosts (more in the mind than real), despair, terror, tragedy (which isn’t on my list, but would actually be a big part of a gothic tale), secrets, incest, insanity, ruined house, gloom, atmosphere of despair – now I can see this coming together.  In The Thirteenth Tale, there is one very strong person, and it was the heroine who held it all together throughout the story, so the heroines don’t have to be fainting cliches, they can be strong characters, but one with dark secrets.

So, the basis for my gothic tale would be one with a dark secret, one that is too dark to be shared, and haunts the one that knows it, and has repurcussions for those who are aware of it.  The secret would keep them isolated, secreted away from the world.  Ohhh, I am liking where this is leading me.

Words for the Week

As for the words – another part of my goals, I have seven words to choose from:

muliebrity myoo-lee-EB-ri-tee, noun:

The state of being a woman.

chevron SHEV–ruh-n, noun:

1. A badge consisting of stripes meeting at an angle, worn on the sleeve by noncommissioned officers, police officers, etc., as an indication of rank, service, or the like.
2. A V-shaped pattern, especially a kind of fret used in architecture.
3. Also called chevron weave, a herringbone pattern in textiles.
4. In skiing, a method of going up a slope in which a skier sets the skis in a form resembling a V, and, placing weight on the inside edges, advances the skis by turns using the poles from behind for push and support.

eristic e-RIS-tik, adjective:

1. Pertaining to controversy or disputation; controversial.
2. Of argument for the sole purpose of winning, regardless of the reason.

1. Argument for the sole purpose of winning, regardless of the reason.
2. The art of disputation.

perpend per-PEND, verb:

1. To ponder; deliberate.
2. To be attentive; reflect.

1. A large stone passing through the entire thickness of a wall.

vamoose va-MOOS, verb:

1. To leave hurriedly or quickly; decamp.
2. To leave hurriedly or quickly from; decamp from.

iatrogenic ahy-a-truh-JEN-ik, adjective:

A malady induced inadvertently by a physician or surgeon or by medical treatment or diagnostic procedures.

jnana juh-NAH-nuh, noun:

Absolute knowledge acquired through meditation and study as a means of reaching (in Hinduism) Brahman; (in Buddhism) a state of awareness independent of conceptual thought.

I can count out jnana – because I don’t think Hinduism is going to be a part of my story, although iatrogenic is sounding pretty good.  Vamoose, I had to laugh when I saw this one.  Perpend – this could be used.  And Eristic has that gothic sound about it… muliebrity – now there’s an interesting concept!  Chevron, this could be used to describe a pattern on wallpaper… Could be an interesting week!

Creativity Workshop – prompts
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15 thoughts on “Creativity Workshop – prompts

  • May 10, 2010 at 10:11 am

    Yes, that ruin just looks delicious. Good luck with the writing!

  • May 10, 2010 at 10:15 am

    Okay, you’re now my hero. I applaud you for writing gothic fiction! I love Wuthering Heights! And Poe is one of my favourite poets! Aaaahhh I’m excited for you 😀 😀

    • May 10, 2010 at 1:53 pm

      Xen, I look forward to sharing the story with you, WHEN we have finished the workshop! By then it will be highly polished and shiny!

      Now that I have a sense of what Gothic literature is, I am looking forward to having a go at it.

  • May 10, 2010 at 4:06 pm

    Ah, a good gothic story is brewing in you, I can feel it. 🙂

    And I have to get one of those word-a-day calendars. Just the seven you listed got my creative synapses firing and making connections!

    • May 10, 2010 at 4:44 pm

      I have the word of the day sent to me for so long now, but never really utilised it. It seemed like the perfect time to start, and extend my vocabulary. I have no doubts that some of them will sound incredibly strange until I get the hang of it.

  • May 10, 2010 at 4:14 pm

    Okay, I knew chevron and vamoose, had heard of iatrogenic. But the rest of those words? I need to perpend them for a while. Or my head is a perpend against the dictionary of unknown words? Or something….

    • May 10, 2010 at 4:42 pm

      I personally like Muliebrity – gonna havta use that!

  • May 10, 2010 at 5:01 pm

    Oh, wow. This story sounds so intriguing! I love gothic literature. And I’ve got to agree, Andrew totally fits the bill. So, you mentioned that Sutherland story, and I know a bit of Andrews, makes me wonder- does all modern gothic lit have to include incest? *wrinkles nose* I hope not. It is so very, very taboo, though.
    And I love iatrogenic! Thats a dozen stories, right there.

    • May 10, 2010 at 5:11 pm

      Funny you should say that about incest, because it doesn’t appear in the classic literature, mostly modern, because it is a taboo subject, and it is sooooo secretive, which just lends itself to gothicness!

  • May 11, 2010 at 1:11 am

    oooh… whenever I’ve thought of ‘gothic literature’ I always thought vampires and stopped there, not interested in looking any deeper. Thanks for shedding some light on the genre! I think it’s something I’ll have to look into more (after the workshop!), also… looks like you’ve got a good list of words there! I think that’s such an interesting extra task you’ve thrown in there!

    • May 11, 2010 at 8:46 am

      I worked out last night that if I use at least 4 new words every week, then i will have 48 new words by the end of the workshop. Now that is scary!

      Todays word – Mugwump! 1. A person who is unable to make up his or her mind on an issue, esp. in politics; a person who is neutral on a controversial issue.
      2. A Republican who refused to support the party nominee, James G. Blaine, in the presidential campaign of 1884.

  • May 11, 2010 at 8:41 am

    Eristic is the perfect definition of me. I’m a walking argument (I mean debater) and it is for the sake of winning most of the time. 🙂 It would make a great character name too!

    • May 11, 2010 at 8:47 am

      Wouldn’t it just! Good luck if you chose to use it! :o)

    • May 13, 2010 at 12:11 pm

      Ohhhh Anna, what an awesome site! Funnily enough I have two copies of May Shelley’s Frankenstein (AND I have read it), Bram Stokers Dracula (another I have read) and I love Phantom of the Opera – hadn’t really thought of that as gothic, although I had my suspicions about the first two. Definitely given me food for thought.


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