I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Spooky old houses 🏚️ ancient curses ⚰️ & the occult 🔮 …so story time right?

Published 8 months ago • 4 min read




OMGs Look at them! They’re like if a pumpkin and a rosebush had a baby!” I shout in delight as we walk up to the Trader Joe’s in the fading light of day.

A cool breeze dances through the floral offerings in front of the grocer, making it finally feel like autumn.

I turn to my husband. “They’re the littlest pumpkins ever. I wants them.”

He gives me this slightly skeptical look of “really?”

“Cats can eat pumpkins. I watched like half a dozen reels of big cats devouring pumpkins just today,” I put forth as evidence as to why he should totally get them for me.

Now, it’s not that my husband refuses to buy me flowers. It’s that when we first started dating he bought me a bouquet of my least favorite. Carnations. In my second least favorite color. Orange. And then our two cats at the time climbed up onto my desk, broke the vase, ruined my art, and devoured them.

So…having cats, you have to be choosy about what you bring into the house. It can’t be too tempting. Or poisonous.

Fortunately, this adorable pumpkin tree is a member of the squash fam and thus okay should Akami decide to be a naughty little kitty.

In the end, I got a pumpkin tree bouquet for our anniversary which is on the 28th and…

It’s National Pumpkin Day, Reader! At least here in the States.

Anyways, as you may remember from the last Quest, we were talking about Gothic Fiction. Well, we’re going to be continuing that with…

A few notable facts about Gothic Fiction:

  • Gothic Horror is one of the oldest of the horror genres. And it's sometimes considered the parent of ALL modern genre fiction.
  • The Castle of Otranto by Horace Walpole is widely considered the first Gothic horror novel and it was written back in 1764!
  • The most important German author of Gothic fiction was a Prussian named E. T. A. Hoffmann. That work of Gothic Fic was The Devil's Elixirs (1815). However, the work he’s actually most famous for is the short story “The Nutcracker and the Mouse King” (1816) from which the famous ballet is derived.
  • Edgar Allan Poe is considered the most important writer of Gothic fiction but did you know he also wrote the first Great Detective Mystery?
  • Charles Dickens, Louisa May Alcott, Robert Louis Stevenson, and the Brontë sisters were all Gothic Fiction writers. Louisa May Alcott wrote The Little Women, but she also wrote Gothic Romance under the pen name A. M. Barnard. And Robert Louis Stevenson wrote Treasure Island, but he also wrote The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
  • 3 modern genres born from Gothic Fiction are Gaslamp Fantasy, Noir, and Supernatural Fiction.

And as we wrap up spooky month you might be wondering, how would you write your own Gothic Fiction?

The 5 Elements You Need to Write Your Own Gothic Fiction Story

The Transgression

The Legendary Character needs to commit a transgression by crossing a dangerous or taboo boundary in order to reclaim what they’ve lost. Often with horrific or violent consequences to themselves, others, or their surroundings.

The Family

Gothic Fiction is about family in some way. Whether it’s about the Legendary Character’s tragic past or tragic present, family secrets, blood lineage, or the person they’re destined to marry.

The Tragic Backstory

No one in Gothic Fiction has a happy backstory. Every Legendary Character in a Gothic story already starts out in a state of wanting to return to a time in the past when things were better for them, personally.

Secret Oaths and Forbidden Knowledge

Your Legendary Character needs to already have or obtain some (usually occult) forbidden knowledge during the course of the story. This is usually the transgression they commit or at least leads to it.

The Supernatural

Everything from ghosts to Cthulhu is fair game. The occult, prophesies, curses, vampires, etc. Pretty much anything that isn’t from the natural world as we know it is up for grabs.

And there you have it, Reader. The 5 elements you need to write your own Gothic Fiction story. If this seems like your pumpkin pie, then I hope you’ll give Gothic Fiction a try.

Your cohort in storytelling,

Kat Vancil


PS 👉 Though it’s not Gothic Fiction, I’ve written a Halloween-themed short story for my fiction subscribers that features October and Kole, the two Legendary Characters from my Gothic Fiction story I’ll be doing for NaNoWriMo this year.

Trick or Treat

Is a little romance brewing this All Hallows’ Eve for October?

October is beyond done with all the rotten tricks that have been dumped on his doorstep lately. He’s determined to make it to the city and treat himself to his favorite band. Too bad his little sister’s Halloween hijinx are about to ruin his musical evening.

But when a mysterious Nordic stranger sweeps onto the scene, Tobie begins to question whether he’s being tricked…or treated.

Tobie and Kole are back for a spooktacular new holiday story in this Alternative Universe (AU) of an upcoming Boys Love release.

Get this spooktacular Boys Love short story from my book partners BookFunnel.

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I’m Kat! Professional Storyteller & Neurodivergent Creative

Here to help you vanquish those story construction obstacles, slay that imposter syndrome clawing at the back of your brain & stomp boredom flat with heart-pounding Boys Love fiction. Join the Saga and choose your inbox obsession, whether it’s helpful advice to get your writing unstuck or an episode of my weekly Boys Love Fantasy series to devour during your coffee break.

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