Monday, March 10, 2014

Gothic Romance

One of the most classic of gothic romances is Wuthering Heights, which I listened to on audiobook earlier this winter (and did not particularly enjoy, though I am glad I did finish it). Another timeless classic? Dark Shadows, the late 1960s ABC television drama. I used to watch Dark Shadows when the SciFi Channel ran two episodes from 11am to 12pm every weekday. Before that, I suppose, was the 1990s miniseries revival that I watched with my mother and brother, and much later the film with Johnny Depp, which I enjoyed, but don't feel the need to ever watch again. 

Over the past couple of years, I've been rewatching the original Dark Shadows series first through internet downloads, then from DVDs I found at the Ann Arbor District Library. (They also have the old comics, which I started to read.) The earliest episodes when the main conflict was between Burke Devlin and Roger Collins was pretty boring, but I stuck with it. There were a few ghost encounters to keep me interested, and soon enough, along came Laura Collins and the mystery of the phoenix. I thought this was a very interesting storyline and not at all a horror story trope as I knew would later be trundled out (vampires, werewolves, etc).

Then there was Barnabas. A vampire. A classic vampire, yet also unique. He had a soul, so to speak, and sometimes he even had a conscience. He was sympathetic. Women who were teenagers while the show was on the air assure me that everyone was in love with Barnabas Collins. In his first incarnation, before you see him as human in his own time, I didn't see the appeal. He is somewhat insane when he first shows up, though his adjustment to modern life is rather remarkable considering he was locked in a coffin for over 150 years. Still, Barnabas is a gothic hero shrouded in melancholy and romance.

Watching Dark Shadows has me wanting to work on fiction novels again. Or perhaps some novellas. I do have a one gothic novella written and in need up revision. I actually finished it in 2006 and have touched it little since then. I also started a sequel that has been sorely neglected. And another idea has been rummaging around in my head. But is there a market for gothic romances anymore? I know there is, it's just a matter of finding it, getting noticed, and getting published. I was thinking I might try to self-publish some of these stories. But as I said, they need revision, and in some cases finishing. 

In the meantime, there are hundreds of episodes to keep me inspired. I only hope I can start feeling better soon and bolster my energy. I think Spring will aid my mood. The dry cold has been really killing me. I feel like a dried out husk. Of course, the bleakness of winter often makes for a terrifically melancholic backdrop, but for stories, not for me!

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