I spent last week planning my daughter's Sweet Sixteen party while also trying to immerse myself in Gothic horror for the novel I am currently writing. Thinking purple, lace, and roses on the one hand and dark, gloom, and mystery on the other seemed at first to contradict each other. As the week wore on, however, I found that the Gothic novel and the sixteen year old girl are actually very similar.
In the classic Gothic horror book you have the young heroine who after somehow being orphaned goes off to some old, Victorian style manor where she has either been employed at or has been offered residence at by some unknown benefactor. When she arrives, she is usually courted by the nice, clean-cut guy, while being tormented and seemingly stalked by the dark, mysterious stranger. Often, paranormal, frightening things take place while she is alone in the dark, scary manor, and while Mr. Clean Cut seems like the best bet for safety, she cannot help but be intrigued by Mr. Dark and Stormy.
The sixteen year old girl, while not orphaned, would sometimes like to think she is, especially when her family is not as exciting as, say, the Cullen family. She would gladly leave her safe, boring home to hang with Jacob on the reservation or flirt with Edward behind Bella's back. She would trade in her leggings and Converse tennies for a Victorian gown and heels if it meant sitting at a long table with Gargoyles overhead sharing a meal with a brooding, mysterious stranger.
When I came to this conclusion, I realized that giving her that Gothic experience may be my answer to the perfect Sweet Sixteen party- one that would be memorable, yet not cost $100,000 and a Ferrari. I decided to give her a little mystery and intrigue by throwing a Mystery Dinner party for her and her friends.
I found a company called My Mystery Party that sells mysteries for the party attendees to act out and solve as the night wears on. While I won't be making her an orphan or holding the party in a haunted manor, and Edward won't be coming to dinner (although he is more than welcome if Bella can spare him), my daughter will get to dress up in a semi-Victorian gown and pretend for the evening that she and her friends are stuck in the middle of a dark and gloomy mystery they must solve.
I'll let you know how it goes, but it should be fun. Now if I could just find some Gargoyles . . .