How do You End a Gothic Horror Story?

How to end a gothic horror story

Gothic fiction is a type of horror that is typified by writers like H.P. Lovecraft, Wilkie Collins, Mary Shelley, and Edgar Allan Poe. Gothic horror features ominous settings, paranormal encounters, and a tense atmosphere.

If you are familiar with the conventions of gothic fiction, you can create your own work. If you have started a gothic story before and are having trouble deciding how to finish it, this is the article for you.

Gothic horror occupies a unique position in the world. The use of a foreboding atmosphere and otherworldly spookiness ensures that it remains distinct even though it contains many of the elements common in modern horror. Gothic horror emphasizes the mystical aspects of its atmosphere like how folklore exploits setting and mood.

Some Ways to End a Gothic Horror Story

Nothing Remains

This kind of horror fiction ends with everyone dead, everything destroyed, nothing left, and no possibility of anything ever emerging from the ashes. It can be the case that virtue has triumphed and that there is no longer anyone or anything for which to fight. However, it can also imply that evil has completely triumphed.

Examples include Cabin in the Woods, where malevolent gods obliterate the cosmos. Mick Taylor triumphs in Wolf Creek, and you can just tell that he’ll repeat the feat.

The Righteous Fail

Too many authors rule out the possibility of “good men losing” too early in the writing process.

Readers will have the impression throughout the novel that there is simply no chance the good guys would lose, and the tension is lost. When the stakes are removed, the story becomes boring.

There are other ways to lose than death for your characters. They might lose something important. They can lose their upbeat outlook. They risk losing their previous level of physical or emotional functioning and thus fail.

Surprises and Twists

A good surprise can help your story, but don’t get too caught up in creating an amazing twist ending.

The humble surprise is related to the twist, but it raises the stakes only a little bit, rather than making the reader reexamine everything they previously believed to be true.

For example, the children in The Monster Squad are preparing to return Dracula to…hell? Lightning Land, Black Smoke? Whatever, and to make that happen they require a virgin to recite some parts from a book. They ask the only other virgin woman they all know, the older sister of one of the children, to read the passages. They discover the sister isn’t a virgin at the most awkward moment when the magic fails, SURPRISE.

Lesser Evil Still Exists

The ultimate evil has been vanquished by the hero, and that phase of the conflict is now over. But evil continues. Similar to the aspect of overcoming evil for the time being, but typically involving a secondary dimension of threat.

An example of this is in the movie Silence of the Lambs. Buffalo Bill has been slain and everything is OK at this point – except for the fact that another deranged serial murderer is on the loose – Hannibal Lecter.

Whatever conclusion you decide to give your horror story, it simply needs to honour the genre. Consider the emotions you want your reader to experience. terror and despair? Fear and optimism? The tragedy of continuing suffering? What did the opening of your horror story set up? What emotional journey have you compelled your reader to take? You should ensure to cover that emotional target.

Leaving With Death

Ending your story with a death can be stale if not done right. Try writing a story in which a character’s passing feels almost like a relief or a kindness. If you can, try to come up with something worse than death. Something terrifying.

There must be a method for the horror to endure or for the character’s death to represent something other than the end of their ordeals. If choosing death is the simple solution for them, the story ends with an emotional release.

You can’t go wrong if you approach the climax of your gothic horror story with your readers’ reactions in mind.

There Is Some Hope in the Ending Scene

This is the closest thing a horror narrative has to a nice ending. Everything in this situation is pretty horrible; the wicked guy may already have been caught or may soon be. However, there is a ray of hope that one day, maybe, just maybe, everything will be alright once more.

Character Selection

Consider an ending like in the movie The Ring. At the conclusion, the character played by Naomi Watts is powerless. She is compelled to make a copy of the cursed tape to save her son. The outcome of the story is entirely conceivable. She must make the decision to save those she cares about at the expense of an unknowing third party. The conclusion works because she decided to make a bad decision.

A closing scene where a character makes a deliberate, challenging, even awful decision could add more depth to your story than one where your character runs from one terrifying moment to the next.