Author Topic: Vampire fiction  (Read 19659 times)

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Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Vampire fiction
« on: October 07, 2011, 09:36:24 AM »
It is a genre cliche that vampire fiction has a human protagonist. Think of Belle in the Twilight series. This is generally done for 2 reasons:

1. It gives the reader a sense of connection with the protagonists.

2. The vampire gets to instruct its human companion in its superhuman ways and, by extenstion, instruct the reading audience.

Taking these points in reverse order:

I despise the vampire-as-a-classroom-lecturer device. It's cheap and cheesy. You should learn about things--anything--during the course of the story not from, "Back in 1867 I returned to being a simple farmer after the war and..." Learning about a character should be organic to following the characters actions, thoughts and relations. If he was a simple farmer in 1867 I want to read about him plowing under the hot sun and how it makes the wound to his shoulder ache. When I read a story, I want a story, not The Care and Feeding of Vampires, 3rd Printing. To me the lecturer device is a poor substitute for an even poorer imagination.

As concerns the human connection I find most human charcters to be boat anchors. It is almost as if their only purpose is their ignorance so as to facilitate the subsequent instruction. Their frailties serve as nothing more than reasons for the vampire to show off the fact it is more powerful than the human and the human in turns becomes enamored, not with the vampire, but their power.

This speaks rather poorly of the human. Falling in love because someone is super fast or is all sparkly is the moral equivalent of falling in love with someone because they drive a sports car and wears a lot of jewelry.

But there is the human connection nonetheless. The human protagonist my be shallow but the reader (unwittingly) identifies with that character.

In the story I am writing humans barely figure. They are at best props to elicit some point about the main characters but the focus is still on the main characters and the human's involvement is seldom more than set dressing and all of their interactions tend to end tragically for them. Humans do not matter to vampires. Humans are morsels to be plucked from a passing waiter's tray before returning to more important conversations. The vampires, their machinations and moral struggles are the issue. Their insensitivity to human life is--after all--what makes them monsters.

If I reduce humanity to this level do I risk alienating you, the reader, or can a story be sufficiently compelling in its own right to obviate this need?
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline SherryBaby

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2011, 09:49:08 AM »
Nice work, Sgt.

I'll take Salem's Lot any old day.  I think I'd like your story.

As Stanley from "the Office" said to Andy (who was dressed as "Bill" from "True Blood" for a costume contest) said: "How many freakin' vampires am I supposed to care about these days?"

Make me care, Sgt!

He's a lineman AND a pacifist!  I create multidimensional works of art.

Offline thundley4

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2011, 09:53:42 AM »
Did Anne Rice's early books have a human protagonist?  I read quite a few of her books until she made the gay thing seemingly the whole point of the book.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2011, 10:10:29 AM »
Did Anne Rice's early books have a human protagonist?  I read quite a few of her books until she made the gay thing seemingly the whole point of the book.
IIRC when Lestat turned he was still mourning his lost humanity, so that was the human connection.

Truth be told her stories left me behind because they were too dainty.


Nice work, Sgt.

I'll take Salem's Lot any old day.  I think I'd like your story.

As Stanley from "the Office" said to Andy (who was dressed as "Bill" from "True Blood" for a costume contest) said: "How many freakin' vampires am I supposed to care about these days?"

Make me care, Sgt!

My first 2 chapters have been posted in the Short Bus forum. I have plenty more on my hardrive but if the view count stays low I get self-conscious.  :p

I post in the SB because my characters are brutal and depraved and my subject matter is visceral. This is not for the sake of gratuitous shock value--although being shocking does have a value--but to portray monsters in any other light would be...unnaturtal.

If you do pay a visit feel free to offer critiques, i.e. "You missed a comma here" or "this passage is too clunky."
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2011, 07:01:22 PM »
OK, sorry to bump my own thread but I have to know:

Do readers require a human protagonist in order to feel connected to the story?
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline thundley4

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2011, 07:07:54 PM »
OK, sorry to bump my own thread but I have to know:

Do readers require a human protagonist in order to feel connected to the story?

Human or human like may be a better question. 











101 Dalmatians had dogs as the protagonists as have several other movies, but the dogs were always given human qualities.

Offline SherryBaby

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2011, 08:20:34 AM »
OK, sorry to bump my own thread but I have to know:

Do readers require a human protagonist in order to feel connected to the story?

Not in the least!  A cute little book I read this year, "Discovery of Witches," has humans but only incidentally.  It's not horror but more action/mystery and all the main characters are non-human.  I devoured this book.

He's a lineman AND a pacifist!  I create multidimensional works of art.

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #7 on: October 13, 2011, 11:00:53 AM »
In a week and a half I've cranked out 155 pages using industry standardized MS formatting. That puts me half-way through the main story. I still have plenty more left inside me. The Muses have not left me, in fact I think I'm being stalked by them.

I'm pretty damn happy this time around as evidenced by the fact that when I re-read what I have written I make corrections but not re-writes. For me that is no small thing. I've ripped out entire plot lines in a previous incarnation.

According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline IassaFTots

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #8 on: October 13, 2011, 11:57:37 AM »
I have been reading your story, and I like your style.  I agree with THundley, human-like qualities.  I am not a big vampire kind of person, but your style is not that of a fairy-tale vampire existence.  I do like that.
R.I.P. LC and Crockspot.  Miss you guys.

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“Political Correctness is about turning a blind eye to painful reality because your comfortable feelings are more important to you than saving lives and providing quality of life to people who work their ass off to be productive and are a benefit to this great American Dream"  ~Ted Nugent

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #9 on: October 13, 2011, 09:37:41 PM »
... I am not a big vampire kind of person, but your style is not that of a fairy-tale vampire existence.  I do like that.

1. Thank-you

2. Yeah, I'm trying to defaggotize the genre.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."

Offline IassaFTots

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #10 on: October 14, 2011, 08:12:35 AM »
1. Thank-you

2. Yeah, I'm trying to defaggotize the genre.

Thanks!  I am sure the vampires appreciate it too.   :whatever:
R.I.P. LC and Crockspot.  Miss you guys.

The infinite is possible at zombocom.  www.zombo.com

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~ Martin Luther King
 
“Political Correctness is about turning a blind eye to painful reality because your comfortable feelings are more important to you than saving lives and providing quality of life to people who work their ass off to be productive and are a benefit to this great American Dream"  ~Ted Nugent

Offline mamacags

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2011, 06:08:16 AM »
I am going to read them after my morning nap.  I didn't even know they were there!
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
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Offline IassaFTots

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #12 on: October 29, 2011, 07:54:25 AM »
I am going to read them after my morning nap.  I didn't even know they were there!

You will be happy you did! 
R.I.P. LC and Crockspot.  Miss you guys.

The infinite is possible at zombocom.  www.zombo.com

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." ~ Martin Luther King
 
“Political Correctness is about turning a blind eye to painful reality because your comfortable feelings are more important to you than saving lives and providing quality of life to people who work their ass off to be productive and are a benefit to this great American Dream"  ~Ted Nugent

Offline mamacags

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #13 on: November 02, 2011, 04:09:13 PM »
I was!  I can't wait for the book!
All the great things are simple, and many can be expressed in a single word: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.
Winston Churchill

Offline andhe78

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #14 on: June 19, 2012, 12:42:19 PM »
Any updates on this?  How's it going?  I'd be interested in reading this.

Not to sound dumb, but where is the Short Bus section and do you still have chapters up?

Offline Danglars

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #15 on: June 19, 2012, 01:10:14 PM »
1. Thank-you

2. Yeah, I'm trying to defaggotize the genre.

Anne Rice's stuff was chock full of a lot of homoerotic garbage, and the later books got much worse than the first four. But are you familiar with PN Elrod's Vampire Files books, set in just-post-Al Capone but pre-WW II Chicago? Yes, there are human characters, but they're anything but boat anchors. Both the protagonist vampire  (Jack Fleming) and his partner Charles Escott owe each other their lives several times over. Fleming's human girlfriend Bobbi is an important character. Fleming just can't seem to stop running afoul of the Chicago mobs, a fact which itself is a running, understated bit of humor. Most of the books are good, fast reads--sort of vampire novel meets hardboiled detective fiction, althoug that's something of a simplification. A lot of great humor in the series, too, although it certainly gets very dark sometimes. I also recommend Elrod's shorter series set during Revolutionary War times, concerning Johnathan Barrett (who is a royalist, by the way). Her (the P stands for "Patricia") "Quincey Morris, Vampire" (I'm sure you'll recognize the name) is also set in the same vamp universe.

I'm afraid the series is played out now--the last two installments were real disappointments. But the earlier books are great.

Although these vampires can lose control if they're starved too long, and there are the occasional mad ones among them, they mainly feed on animal blood, in fact from cows or horses, meaning that they don't even kill the animals. They can't be killed by regular bullets or knives but certainly don't enjoy being shot, and it IS possible for them to take too much damage to come back without a serious blood infusion--like a torn open throat plus a broken back. They can take too much damage to dematerialize, which heals them. Wood in any form is their enemy--ie, a wood club can do serious damage to them, much more than, say, a crowbar.

Anyway, I have enjoyed vampire fiction for years and when I have a little time I'll read your work, Mr SB.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 01:13:42 PM by Danglars »

Offline Danglars

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #16 on: June 19, 2012, 01:12:22 PM »
Although you haven't written it, Mr. SB, I'd guess from your last paragraph that you're not interested in "nice" vampires, either. That's fine, too, and could be very interesting.

Offline njpines

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #17 on: June 19, 2012, 01:37:52 PM »
Although you haven't written it, Mr. SB, I'd guess from your last paragraph that you're not interested in "nice" vampires, either. That's fine, too, and could be very interesting.

The first 6 chapters are in the Shortbus, Danglers -- you have to go back to pages 4 & 5.  They are really good!

SSB -- have you written anymore of the Rebekah-Lazarus story??  I really enjoyed reading it.
« Last Edit: June 19, 2012, 01:41:37 PM by njpines »
Piney Power!!

Grow your own dope -- plant a Democrat!

"We will preserve for our children (America), the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."  -- Ronald Reagan.

"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you." -- Quest for the Holy Grail

Offline Danglars

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2012, 02:57:15 PM »
Just read ch 1--I can see this is going to be nasty, brutal stuff--and it's very, very good. More, more, I'm still not satisfied!

Offline jtyangel

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #19 on: June 19, 2012, 03:27:10 PM »
How did I miss this. I'm hunting these down in the SB too. :)

Offline njpines

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #20 on: June 19, 2012, 03:29:22 PM »
How did I miss this. I'm hunting these down in the SB too. :)

Pages 4 and 5, jty.
Piney Power!!

Grow your own dope -- plant a Democrat!

"We will preserve for our children (America), the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."  -- Ronald Reagan.

"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you." -- Quest for the Holy Grail

Offline jtyangel

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #21 on: June 19, 2012, 03:48:21 PM »
Thx nj. Might be my bedtime reading:)

Offline Danglars

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #22 on: June 19, 2012, 04:05:51 PM »
Just finished chapter 2. This is really, really good. Gritty. I don't know where this is going (of course I'm only on ch 2), but I want to find out!

Offline njpines

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #23 on: June 19, 2012, 04:07:19 PM »
Piney Power!!

Grow your own dope -- plant a Democrat!

"We will preserve for our children (America), the last best hope of man on earth, or we will sentence them to take the first step into a thousand years of darkness. If we fail, at least let our children and our children's children say of us we justified our brief moment here. We did all that could be done."  -- Ronald Reagan.

"Listen, strange women lyin' in ponds distributin' swords is no basis for a system of government. You can't expect to wield supreme executive power just because some watery tart threw a sword at you." -- Quest for the Holy Grail

Offline SSG Snuggle Bunny

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Re: Vampire fiction
« Reply #24 on: June 26, 2012, 06:41:47 PM »
Links:

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

I am nothing short of humbled and flattered. It is always gratifying to be appreciated by those you respect (that would be you guys).


Doing some rewrites. Lots of changes to the chapters above to better ease along the narrative.

It's hard to edit yourself so you have to leave it sitting for months until you forget *how* you wrote what you wrote. It's amazing how many times you catch yourself saying, "Boy! Was I drunk!"

I was also amazed to see I spent 5 pages talking about a whore and a damned preacher in an art museum.

Needless to say I can't give up everything I write here but if you noticed the main character can "read" people and so that causes the narrative to lapse into the POV of the people he encounters. It's my device for explaining why those little details that may seem to be deus ex machina (a thing I absolutely despise) are actually organic to the course of events. Even God rejects deus ex machina. A butterfly effect device is much scarier as it makes people second-guess themselves and their intentions for fear of unintended consequences. Doubt amid crisis is one of the scariest damn things you can live through. It induces panic.

I spent over 20 pages explaining why a man was a certain caliber of person and why that caused him to miss his strike by mere inches and that in turn caused the entire situation to degenerate into a bloody debacle.

In another instance I have 8 chapters about a beautiful young nurse exploited for her looks and how she becomes calculating and manipulative. Going from used to user she falls prey to a single, subtle -- almost imperceptible -- manipulation that shouldn't even be recognizable until after the trap is sprung and then it will be catastrophic in magnitude (for her). All the while Lazarus is essentially a passive observer.

I throw in a lot of pseudo-Christian theology as well. It isn't an endorsement of my hare-brained ideations but it isn't meant to insult Christians either. To my observations the best fictions/mythologies are those that provide the reader with frameworks that are worth discussing because of the story but worthy of discussion in their own right. How many people who genuinely enjoyed Star Trek, The Matrix or Lord of the Rings will discuss the set dressings as much as the plays themselves? I think an author owes that to their readers.
According to the Bible, "know" means "yes."