Metaphor of the Spiral Staircase

spiral stair


No Gothic novel would be complete without a spiral staircase. To me it is almost the symbol of the genre. The ever-tightening spiral illustrtaes the very structure of suspense: Begin wide, draw the characters and readers in, and as they descend, tighten, tighten, tighten. Don’t let them off until they reach the bottom, then let them run free.

Just looking down a spiral stairwell can give one the willies….

Going up can be frightening, especially of it begins to come away from the wall….

There is a large spiral stairway in my current novel in progress, The Shadows. It goes right down through the core of Blight’s Academy, a residential school for girls in the beautiful English countryside. In order to see more clearly in my mind how it is built so that my use of this device will be most effective, I have to look at pictures. I found some really cool ones, so thought it would be fun to share them with you!

spiral stairway

An ancient castle stairway…



Chateau de Chambord external spiral stairway…



Close up! I love anything Medieval.






Fashion statement on stairs…


Compagne de Jesus Spirals in spirals…



Spiral with chandelier….How do they change the lightbulbs?




Like Blight’s…



A most famously haunted spiral stair…




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