Gothic Romance is not…
I’m often asked to explain what a gothic romance is, but sometimes I find it easier to explain what gothic romances are not, rather than what they are:
- Gothics are not paranormal romances. As a rule of thumb, the main protagonists in a gothic romance should be human beings. They may be affected by the supernatural or the unexplained, but they are not supernatural beings themselves. It’s possible they may be reincarnated, cursed or affected by ghosts. If they are vampires, werewolves, shifters etc. you are writing a paranormal romance not a gothic.
- Gothics are not horror stories. They may have strong elements of horror, but it is implied rather than explicit. It’s a creaking board in the attic or a trail of blood on the stairs. If your story features a chainsaw wielding killer carrying a severed head, you are writing horror not gothic.
- New gothics do have strong elements of eroticism. This can be implied or explicit. Steamy is good in a gothic romance, hot sex scenes go well with dark secrets. But gothic romances are not erotic romances. If sex is all your story has, you are not writing gothic!