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Gothic Stories

Kenny's First Unofficial Challenge

By Kenny PennPublished 19 days ago Updated 18 days ago 1 min read
Top Story - May 2024
Gothic Stories
Photo by Marko Blažević on Unsplash

I’ve been seeing a few unofficial challenges given by Vocal Community members, and I thought: You know what? As someone literally invested in Vocal, I should do that, too. So here is my official, nonofficial challenge to you.

Everyone who knows me will tell you I enjoy a good scare. In that spirit, I would like to invite you to write a story in the Gothic literary genre. It doesn’t have to be a horror, though. Feel free to interpret the genre however you see fit. Perhaps you want to craft a ghost story that unfolds in an ancient forest or a dark romance set in a mysterious old castle. I'm eager to see where your imagination takes you! Create stories brimming with glorious details and captivating characters, whether they be sinister or otherwise.

What is Gothic fiction? Well, let me paint you a picture. Borrowing heavily from Wikipedia, Gothic fiction is a realm of fear where supernatural events loom and the past intrudes upon the present. Imagine settings like ruined buildings, castles, monasteries, crypts, or convents, each with its own dark secrets. Plots often revolve around psychological or social conflicts, murders, imprisonments, demons, ghosts, and more. If it has a dark, spooky connotation, it's probably Gothic.

To qualify, submitted stories must be of the gothic genre, between 600 and 1500 words in length, and submitted by June 10, 2024. Sorry, everyone; I’m hoping to receive a lot of submissions and need to be able to read through all of them, so please, no 20-minute stories! I plan to have picked a winner and two runners-up by June 15. The winner will receive a $30 tip from me, and the runners-up will each receive $10.

To ensure I’ve read your story, please post a link to it in the comment section below. Also, let’s keep the submissions to no more than two per person. Thanks for playing, and good luck!


About the Creator

Kenny Penn

Thanks for reading! I enjoy writing in various genres, my favorites being horror/thriller and dark/epic fantasies. I'll also occasionally drop a poem or two.

For a list of all my work, and to connect with me, go to www.kennypenn.com

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (31)

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  • Mother Combsabout 13 hours ago

    Ah, too bad my Purple Rose is too short. This challenge slipped my mind

  • Christy Munson3 days ago

    Back again with a second entry, Dance Card. Hope you enjoy it! https://vocal.media/fiction/dance-card

  • angela hepworth4 days ago

    https://vocal.media/fiction/mason-s-closet This was so fun, Kenny! Gothic fiction is the best fiction 😉 I’m looking forward to reading everyone’s work!

  • Christy Munson10 days ago

    Back to contribute my entry in this wonderful competition. https://vocal.media/fiction/outside-the-lines-dx7x03nv Will let you know when the longer (and thus ineligible) piece is posted.

  • Karina Thyra11 days ago

    Most of the stories I publish have Gothic elements 🥹 I modified and changed this for an official Vocal challenge so I had to remove the alternate ending: White Walls : https://vocal.media/horror/white-walls-r1py0hz2 Death Treats the Company https://vocal.media/fiction/death-treats-the-company

  • angela hepworth13 days ago

    Sounds awesome!!

  • Despite Vocal's best efforts to block its publication, I finally got this one live: https://vocal.media/horror/reaching-from-the-silence

  • Anna 16 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!

  • This is not as creepy as I thought it would be. It may not completely fit the gothic genre. But I went with it anyway because Gothic seems to fit a wide range of varieties. https://vocal.media/fiction/voices-part-two

  • Here is my first offering and thanks for the opportunity. https://vocal.media/fiction/a-macabre-profession A macabre profession For me the eerie silence of the secluded sepulchre was a welcome respite from the hustle and bustle of the wicked world outside I will also have a think about another angle on the gothic that I could attempt.

  • Paul Stewart17 days ago

    ooooooh, Mr Penn, what a tantalising challenge. Count me in...I have a few unfinished...unrealised ideas that will fit in with this...So we shall see. Glad to see this got Top Story, congrats, Kenny! I'm excited!

  • Heather Zieffle 18 days ago

    Sounds fun! I'll see if I can whip something up, ha!

  • Back to say congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊 I've added the links to two of my stories in my comment somewhere down there hahaha

  • Shirley Belk18 days ago

    Looks like a success!!

  • Great challenge I’m A goth boi at heart 🦇

  • This is my gothic style take on Greek mythology https://vocal.media/poets/secret-admirer-tp913e0q1d

  • Mackenzie Davis18 days ago

    I'm actually getting ideas! Crazy, since I haven't written a fiction piece in ages. I love this prompt, Kenny! Poe just might be my muse for this one... You didn't specify if we should write one for this challenge or if it could come from our archives. Any specifications there?

  • This sounds like a good one Kenny!!! Congratulations on the Top Story!!!

  • Christy Munson18 days ago

    Oh I’m so down for this one!

  • Does it have to be on Vocal? If not, I got something Gothic for ya 😏: https://www.dietmilkmag.com/bleak/reaching

  • Matthew Fromm18 days ago

    Yes right up my alley….thanks for hosting!

  • Heather Hubler18 days ago

    Yay, so glad this received TS! I hope you get a great response :)

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