Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Structure of the GOTHIC Tale

Art by Ayame Kojima
Structure of


NOT your average Horror story.
What is the difference between a Gothic tale and a Horror story? Intent. Seriously.
Both Horror stories and Gothic tales delve into the realm of emotional trauma such as revenge, abuse, and hate--including, if not especially, sexual trauma. However, the darkness in a Gothic tale is not expressed or defined by graphically detailed, and gruesome, violence as it is in a Horror. Though violence is often featured in the Gothic, it is NOT the main focus of the story. The drama of Despair is the vehicle of the Gothic where a Horror story is driven by the action of Violence.

In a nutshell...
Horror = Action story
Gothic = Drama Story

While both Gothics and Horror are tales of the spiritual and/or psychological reality of the human psyche, Horror stories deal with the monsters that can lurk within our friends and neighbors. Gothics, however, deal with the monsters within ourselves; the hidden, self-destructive side that we don't want to admit exists within ourselves.

This means that the unlike the Horror plotline which is simply a gory adventure story that follows the common Heroic Cycle plotline, the Gothic plot is far more complicated -- emotionally complicated.
The Gothic Plot
Act 1. Rise
1. Character is Valued/not Valued
  - Leading to Underestimated Talent
  --- Triggering Pride/Shame
  ----- Which causes an Emotional Issue to form.

2. Incidental/Accidental Accomplishment
- a - Draws the wrong kind of attention
--- The Monster
- b - Also creates Envy in someone close
--- Friend / Family member / lover / coworker

3. Encounter with the Monster (symbol of Emotional Issue)
--- Contamination / Gift

Act 2. CRASH
1. The Sincere Mistake
--- Pride represents an irresistible Challenge.
- a - To the Envious
- b - to the Monster

2. CRASH > Monstrosity unveiled
--- Anger leads to a Ruinous Victory
----- They win the battle, but their monstrous nature is Exposed.
--- a --- to their loved ones
--- b --- to their enemies
--- c --- to themselves

3. Departure from Society
--- Regret triggers Escape / Removal from Society

Act 3. Fall ( Stages of Grief & Transformation)
1. Dangerous territory
--- Denial = belief that they are an Outcast / Abandoned.
----- Belief that they Deserve to be an Outcast / Abandoned.

2. Meeting with the True Monster
--- Anger = Love-Hate Relationship
- a - with the Monster
- b - with the Envious
- c – with their own monstrous nature

3. Threats & Promises
--- Negotiation = Temptation & Persuasion
- a - from the Monster
- b - from the Envious

4. Surrender & Sacrifice
--- Despair = Submission & Adaptation
- a - to the Monster
- b - to the Envious
- c - to their own monstrous nature.

5. Escape / Rescue
--- Acceptance = Deliberate release of the Beast Within
- a - They rescue themselves, but at the cost of their humanity.
----- Giving birth to a new core Value. (Pride / Shame)

Act 4. Return to Society - as a Monster
1. Unfinished Business with Envious
--- Hiding in plain sight

2. Confrontation with the Monster
--- Deliberate Transformation
- a -  to Protect
- b - for Revenge

3. Conclusion
--- Willing sacrifice to take down Monster
----- Which ends in a New Life / Heroic Death
    ‘Fall of the House of Usher’ by Edgar Allen Poe, is a Classic Gothic tale. However, at first glance the story doesn’t appear to fit this pattern at all, until you realize that the point of view character, the narrator, ISN’T who this story is about. In fact, he barely affects the plot at all. The story is about Roderick Usher, the last heir to an old decrepit family mansion. The narrator is merely a witness to Usher’s struggle against madness (Acts 3 and 4).

    Oddly, ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ by Alexander Dumas, is also a Gothic! It follows the plot pattern perfectly and it covers the most common and devouring psychological monster of all -- revenge.

    The Gothic is about Transformation

    In the average Horror story, the main character usually gains some form of outside help and / or finds a weapon to defeat their monster. In a Gothic, the main character must transform themselves into a weapon. They must become a monster to defeat their monster, then learn to live with the aftermath of their transformation.

    This is why ‘Phantom of the Opera’ is simply a Horror story. None of the characters transform. Christine Daea, the main protagonist does not change herself to deal with her monster. She gains outside help, a protector who basically does all her fighting for her.

    On the other hand, the movie ‘The Matrix’ is very much a modern Gothic. Neo must transform himself into someone and something completely alien to his original geeky character in order to survive the Agents hunting him.

    Another Gothic movie, though it appears to be a Western, is Ravenous’. In this story, the cowardly Cavalry officer protagonist must accept full transformation into a wendigo, a Native American cannibal in order to have the physical strength to defeat the wendigo Colonel stalking him.

    The Monster Within...

    The other key difference between Horror stories and Gothic tales are the monsters. Unlike Horror monsters which are simply opponents to be defeated, each and every Gothic monster is in fact a metaphor for a spiritual or psychological issue. In most cases, the Setting is too.

    Forbidding Locations & their Hidden Meanings
    1) Old Mansions = Inheritance issues
    2) Abandoned Houses = Forgotten Family issues
    3) Antique Shops  = Curiosity (nosiness) issues
    4) Modern Corporations = Job / Business issues
    5) Old Factories = Unemployment issues
    6) Modern Suburbia = Adult Peer pressure issues
    7) Quaint Little Towns = Hidden Community issues
    8) Schools & Colleges = Childhood / Peer-pressure issues
      Monsters of the Psyche
      1) Ghosts = Guilt
      2) Vampires = Addiction
      3) Witches = Wishes gone bad
      4) Sorcerers /Scientists = Insanity
      5) Werewolves = Rage
      6) Urban Faery = Rebellion
      7) Man-made monsters = Personal Mistakes
      8) Zombies = Peer Pressure
      9) Ogres / Trolls / Giants = Bullies

      The Gothic Hero

      The main character, the one telling the tale always starts out as a fairly nice, normal, and decent person. Why is that?

      Because Gothics are about how the individual deals with being transformed into their own worst nightmare. In other words, how they deal their own monstrous issues. It's all about the battle within. The climax of the Gothic isn't the battle with the monster that needs to be slain, it's how the main character chooses to deal with their own monstrosity.

      The Ending of a Gothic Tale

      There are only two options when facing a dark issue of the psyche. Interestingly enough, both options can lead to either Destruction or Redemption.

      1) Acceptance
      - a - Empowerment
      - b - Addiction to power = Insanity
      - c - Coexistence  / Balance of dual nature

      2) Rejection
      - a - Search for release / escape / *cure = Insanity
      - b - Search for control = Empowerment
      - c - Denial / Ignoring it = Insanity

      *Note:  There is NO CURE for a Psychological Issue in real life. You either Adapt to it, or Succumb to it. Medicating it only Represses (covers up) the issue. It does not Fix it. Sooner or later the medication WILL stop working and that issue WILL resurface. Ask any psychologist.

      In Conclusion…
      Gothic tales are metaphors, proverbs, and fables of goodness versus evil that describe the spiritual and psychological challenges of the human soul. They are modern-day, un-sanitized, fairy tales filled with the horrific punishments that the original fairy tales held:

      • Punishment for the wicked...
      • Empowerment for those trapped in darkness...
      • Redemption for those who have learned to adapt to the living, breathing shadows, within themselves...

      They also conclude exactly like any other fairy tale. The Brave save the day, the Foolish die, and the Guilty are Punished, usually horribly.

      "But real life isn't so neatly tied.
      Bad people Do get away with doing bad things."

      True. Real life ISN'T so neatly tied. Bad people do indeed get away with doing bad things. That does not change the fact that Evil IS Bad and the Wicked SHOULD be punished, even if it only happens in a story.


      Morgan Hawke

      Monday, July 28, 2008

      Writing Stroke-Fiction Erotica

      Art by Luis Royo

      -----Original Message-----
      I would like to write erotica and some of the stuff that you only read in an adult book store while wearing a raincoat and dark sunglasses. LOL! Could you tell me how to get into that market? I see all the ePublishers out there so that's not too much of a problem. But how do you get to write for the "pushing the envelope" stuff?
      -- Enthusiastic about Erotica

      So you wanna write the Hard-Core stuff?

      The easiest way to find an Adult Book publisher is by buying adult books and looking up the publishers’ contact information inside their covers. Look for a website, most have them, and read their Submission Guidelines! Some publishers will allow some things that others will not.

      Case in point: Lush Stories does not allow any type of Non-Consensual Sex scene where most publishers will allow Forced Seduction scenes.

      Note: The difference between a Forced Seduction and a Rape is that a Forced Seduction is Not a Brutal Attack with the INTENT to hurt the recipient. That's Rape. A Forced Seduction is meant to give the protesting recipient Pleasure
      The best way to do this is by writing the scene entirely from the Seduced's point of view, not the Seducer's. This is to make it crystal clear --to the reader-- that the one being seduced really Does want to be seduced, but is protesting for Moral, Ethical, or Social reasons -- not out of FEAR.

      Interested in knowing what types of stories are currently popular? READ the top ten favorite stories on your favorite erotic story site. Also, be sure to look at the reader’s comments. They will tell you right away what they liked -- and why.

      WRITING Stroke Fiction

      Okay, first you need a sex scene. No really…! Think of what kind of sex you want FIRST. The sex is what’s driving the whole story so you need to know what you’re aiming for in order to make the story go there.

      To borrow from my friend Toonces:
      “What do you find hot?
      Write a short list.”

      I did a poll on what sex scenes my readers liked and this is what I discovered…

      My Readers' preferred Smut Scenes: in this order.

      1. Ravished! ~ "Oh no! Don't...! Stop...! Don't...stop!" 
      2. Captured! ~ "I have you now!"
      3. Threesome ~ Sharing the love.
      4. Romantic Fluff ~ Wine & Roses
      5. Lower Education ~ Hot for Teacher.
      6. Domination & Punishment & Whips & Chains ~ "You've been a bad, bad boy."
      7. Bribes & Blackmail ~ "You owe me. Drop your panties!"
      8. Strip Tease ~ "Oops! I'm naked!"
      9. Self Gratification ~ "When I think about you, I touch myself."
      10. Cosplay ~ Leather & lace & ears & tails…
      11. Orgy ~ "The more the merrier!"
      12. Voyeurism ~ "I spy with my little eye..."
      13. Exhibitionism ~ "Here? In front of everyone...?"
      14. The Professional ~ "You can have me--for a price."
      15. Beautiful Stranger ~ "He saw. He conquered. He came. He went."

      Write each scene IN DETAIL!

      As in, every sight, every sound, every scent, every sensation. Describe the setting where the humping will happen, then focus on the characters and stay focused on the characters.

      Pick ONE Point of View per scene!

      This will keep your readers from getting confused over who did what and who felt what especially when it gets hot and heavy.

      Take it EASY on the Emotional stuff.

      The people who read 'Stroke Fiction' are not reading them for anything more than to Get Off.

      Most importantly...!

      Write it in Chronological Order:
      1. He did this.
      2. She reacted this way and did that.
      3. He reacted this way and did the other…
      4. Etc.

      Cheat Tip for writing Sex Scenes:  

      Make a list of actions First, then add all the adjectives and dialogue. If your sentences end up short and choppy, it means you didn’t add enough description, body-language, sound-effects, or internal thoughts. Don't Forget...! ONLY the POV character gets internal thoughts and opinions! If you add anyone else's, you've just committed the heinous crime of HEAD-HOPPING.

      One more thing...

      Write what you KNOW.

      Avoid hate-mail: Do Your RESEARCH! If you write something anatomically impossible or something you’re totally ignorant about, at least one your readers will most definitely let you know, believe me!


      Next, you need (at least) two characters to make your sex scene happen:
      • Lover and Beloved

      For a novel-length story, you ought to have a third character that tries to interfere. Classically, these three characters are known as: Hero ~ Victim ~ Villain.

      In ordinary Erotica, and Romances:
      • Lover
      • Beloved
      • Jealous Ex-Lover or Rival

      In M/M stories:
      • Seducer
      • Seduced
      • Jealous Ex-Lover or Rival

      In BDSM stories:
      • Dominant
      • Submissive
      • Interfering Goody-Goody

      Always DESCRIBE the Characters!

      Make the men manly and handsome and the women full-figured and gorgeous with glamorous occupations. Feel free to use favorite movie characters, famous actors, or musicians as models for your characters, just make sure you change their names!

      Use detailed descriptions with lots of enthusiastic adjectives; hair, eyes, body type, and clothes, but for pity’s sake, don’t write measurements! (“She was five-foot-six, and a 32 double-D.”) Use comparisons as in:

      • Her breasts were two ample handfuls each.
      • He stood an arm’s length away. 
      • Her hair draped to her waist.
      • He stood a full head taller. 
      Just don't go too Purple in your prose, okay?  No using stuff like, "Her eyes shown like diamonds."


      Erotic Short Story:
      1. They meet.
      2. They hump.
      3. What happened after.
      The end.

      Erotica Novel or Novella:
      1. Seducer meets Seduced, they hump -- and both really like it.
      2. Complications and/or Misunderstandings drive them apart.
      3. One of them Uncovers (or Reveals) a Secret, and they can't resist humping.
        1. or one of them Uncovers (or Reveals) a Secret to someone else, and they hump that someone else. (This is NOT a Romance! Exclusive partners are rarely part of Erotica stories.)
      4. Jealous Rivals meet to plot against the main pairing, and end up humping each other.
      5. Complications caused by the secret plot force the main pairing together, but  they can't hump -- even though they really, really want to.
      6. Driven by longing, the main pairing meet and hump in secret.
        1. or in front of an audience.
        2. or with the audience.
      7. The climactic moment where the Master Secret is uncovered, (“It was all a big misunderstanding!”) 
        1. or a confession is made. (“I like humping you best of all!”)
      8. Complications and rivalries are resolved.
      9. Everybody humps. 
      10. The End.

      To make the story longer, just add more humping.

      Things to AVOID at all cost!

      • NO Underage participants: All participants should be 18 or older -- especially virgins. I realize that this is Not Realistic, but the Law cannot be argued with. Seriously.
      • NO Bestiality: No Animals ever. Were-people and Furries don’t count, as they’re people that LOOK like animals.
      • NO Snuff: Fucking people to death is Right Out.
      • NO Watersports or Scat: Most publishers will not accept pee or poop used in a sexual context.
      • NO Gore: Blood is okay if used tastefully and in limited amounts.

      Words to AVOID:
      • MEMBER: It's a dick, a prick, or a cock, and sometimes a ‘length’--NOT a 'member' and NEVER a 'Manhood.' 'Member' and 'Manhood' are words used by ancient granny romance authors and under-aged fan-fiction writers. If you're too shy to write dick, prick, or cock, you're not ready to write sex scenes.
      • PENIS: This is word that should only ever come out of a doctor's mouth.
      • VAGINA: This is another word that should only ever come out of a doctor's mouth.
      • WOMANHOOD: It's a pussy, a sex, a cunny, or a cunt, and sometimes a core or a center. 'Womanhood' is another word used by ancient granny romance authors and under-aged fan-fiction writers too embarrassed to write the proper terms.
      • APPENDAGE: Whether it's an arm, a dick, an ear, or a foot name the fucking limb, damn it!
      • LOCKS: Locks are tiny portions of hair that tend to curl. Children have locks, not grown adults. Adults can finger a single lock or a tendril, but what they have on their heads is hair, and if it's really long, a mane.

      Getting into the Mood:

      Before you sit down to write:
      • Do something sexually stimulating. 
        • Have sex with your significant other.
        • Watch porn.
        • Read your favorite erotica.
        • Masturbate.
      • Put on some music that suits your story while you write.
      • Close the door and shut off the phone! Interruptions will make it hard to maintain that…special mood.

      Last but not Least…

      Enjoy yourself! If it’s not fun for you to write, it won’t be fun for anyone to read.
      Morgan Hawke