10 Elements of Gothic Literature via Flavia the Bibliophile

This is a re-post from Flavia the Bibliophile’s excellent blog! I thought it was perfect for anyone wanting to write a ghost story or spooky novel for Halloween and/or NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month), which is every November.

With both Halloween and National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) coming up, I have decided to partner up with Invaluable to bring you an epic infographic! For those of you planning on writing a novel that’s more on the spooky side, the below infographic depicts and explains the 10 main elements found in Gothic literature! In the spirit…

via Guest Post: 10 Elements of Gothic Literature — Flavia the Bibliophile –


Getting back to writing…

Sorry I have been gone for so long! Have taken a break from fiction writing for the past few months because I found myself obsessively revising my novel and older short stories. I became stuck in a kind of “judgment whirlpool” in which nothing I had written seemed good enough. I had about 15 versions of just about everything — the literary form of hoarding. Realized that I needed to STOP!

So, I did some painting — am still doing some drawing and painting for fun — and recently started a kind of freewriting-poetry-thing. Basically, I just write down whatever I’m thinking in poetic form, rather than worrying about whole sentences, grammar, etc… I don’t edit. And I don’t censor myself. If I feel like deleting these “poems” at any point, I give myself permission to do that, rather than numbering them and saving 50 different versions on my hard drive.

So far, it’s been fun to see what images pop up from my subconscious, sort of like writing down your dreams! Later, I analyze my poem to see if anything resonates. If not, that’s okay, no pressure. That’s the whole point of this break — to take the pressure off myself to write for a specific genre (mystery? YA? literary?) and to a specific audience (12 year olds? adults? women?). I was so busy focusing on getting published, whether independently or “traditionally,” and trying to “brand” myself and my writing that I lost track of what I wanted to say in the first place!

Have you ever felt like throwing in the towel and quitting writing? It’s a scary prospect, but at the same time kind of freeing. I realized that I don’t have to identify myself solely as a “writer.” I can just be someone who likes to write!

Poetry unlocks the door…

To me, there are few things more inspiring that kids using words to tell their stories and help themselves break free — whether from social, mental, or physical boundaries. Even as an adult, writing for me (and many others) is about getting out all the stories and feelings that otherwise feel locked inside because we have a hard time saying the important things out loud. But on paper (or the screen), it feels safer.

Today, on NPR, I heard about a young man who won the Words Unlocked 2014 poetry contest for his poem “Meth.” Words Unlocked is a month-long program designed for kids who are being held in juvenile facilities; it provides their teachers resources to help these kids learn about poetry and ultimately enter the national contest. Here’s a link to the winning poems (these kids are really talented!). It’s a shame that so many of the poems are about addiction and death…

And if you are an educator, wherever and whoever you teach, you might want to use these same resources to help your students learn more about writing poetry. There’s a teacher’s guide, a 7-day unit, and a month-long unit. Give it a try!

A trailer from the amazing-looking documentary, Louder Than a Bomb! Gets me fired up about poetry!

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