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Write a Gothic Short-Story

Gothic literature can be great fun to read, but truly – even more fun to write.

Photo: We see the ruins of a castle at night. There are lots of stars in the sky.

An atmosphere of suspense and fear is important in Gothic Literature.

Before you write the story:

Read a Gothic short storybefore you write your own. Below, in 'Relatert Innhold' you will find The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe.

While you read, think about how the author is able to create suspense and what makes this a Gothic short story.

Look for some or all of the following: fear, physical and psychological horror, mystery, supernatural phenomena, ghosts, monsters, haunted buildings, castles, darkness, death, doppelgangers, insanity, secrets, graveyards, doubles, and curses.

Write your own Gothic Short Story:

Use the chart below to plan your short story. Make sure you understand what characterises the Gothic genre before you begin.




Needs to be relevant, original and captivating

Plot elements

Your story needs to have the following five plot elements:

  1. Orientation or presentation of the setting, the characters etc.
  2. Rising Action or a Conflict. There needs to be a central conflict which leads to a growing excitement in the reader indicating that something is about to happen.
  3. Climax, confrontation, or turning point of the story: This is what the story builds up to. In a Gothic short story a confrontation is common.
  4. Falling action: What happens after the climax? Do things become worse or better for the protagonist?
  5. Resolution: The final paragraph that ends the story. You can try to surprise your reader with a twist. You can also leave the ending open so that there are many different readings of the same story. Make sure the resolution builds on what you have written in the rest of the short story.


Your characters need to be well developed and should have thoughts, feelings and actions.

Use of Gothic Elements

You need to try and include as many elements as possible to ensure that your short story becomes an example of Gothic literature. Some elements are:

  • An atmosphere of suspense and/or fear.

  • Foreshadowing, for example by introducing an omen or curse.

  • An unfamiliar setting, for example a castle, church, or graveyard.

  • A mystery and secrets.

  • A supernatural element such as a ghost or a monster.

  • A clear villain, often someone who is dark and brooding.

  • Emotional anguish or deep anxiety.

  • A damsel in distress.

  • An unlikely hero, often an anti-hero.

  • Mistaken identity or doppelgangers.

  • Insanity.

Use of Literary Devices

Foreshadowing, Similes, Metaphors, Symbols, repetition etc.

Point of View

Make sure you use the same point of view consistently. In longer texts, it is OK to switch between different points of view, but in a short story it is best to stick with the same point of view throughout.

Sist oppdatert 28.11.2018
Skrevet av Jaspreet Gloppen


Literary analysis