Okay, in my last entry I disclosed I was working on a vampire novel. Now this is a genre that has been done and redone so many times it’s unbelievable. And almost every time there are new twists and turns added to it that they barely seem to resemble the traditional vampires that Bela Legosi and Christopher Lee made legendary in Hollywood. Today we have vampires that just totally ooze sex appeal, can sparkle in daylight instead of turning to dust, can have sex and produce offspring, are either monsters or saints, etc. And they are still as popular as ever in spite of all the changes to the original legend.
Now I’m not just talking about Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”. That was not the first vampire story. There were many others. If you ever get the opportunity check out “The Penguin Book Of Vampire Stories” and you’ll see ones that predate Mr. Stoker’s work by quite a few years. But in that collection you’ll also meet other kinds of vampires: snow vampires, ones who hide inside portratis, aliens on different planets, etc. In this collection there are creatures of all sorts and shapes that are still called vampires.
This brings me to today’s subject. How can you breathe new life into a genre that has been written about so many times over? Well that’s up to the writer. As in the case of Anne Rice, Stephenie Meyer and others, they tweek the original vampire concept to suit their story ideas. Sometimes they provide and explanation about why their creations don’t adhere to all the old legends, sometimes not.
So, you may be thinking, “Okay Allan, how are you going to ‘tweek’ the vampire concept and make it fresh and different? What changes are you going to make to the traditional weaknesses and rules?”
Here’s my answer. All the traditional rules of garlic, being welcomed into a place, avoid sunlight, shape-shift, control minions, etc. will be in effect. So where am I making the change? Simple, my vampire is NOT undead.
At this point I’m sure a number of you are thinking if he’s not undead then he can’t be supernatural. So how can all those limitations and vulnerabilities still apply to him? That’s where the creative writing process comes in. All of these things will be addressed in the story. And it won’t just be about a biography about my vampire. There will be dangers. The internet allows people access to a lot of information. And this story will be taking place in modern day. So there will be suspicious townspeople, cops on the hunt, the threat of discovery, a ghost, and villains (human and otherwise) to be battled.
So there you have it. A new take on a much used subject. But instead of changing all the rules, I’m working with them and making new reasons for why they apply. And in doing so, I’m hoping that a number of you are already really intrigued and are looking forward to checking the story out when it’s ready. If this is the case, then I’ve succeeded in breathing new life and interest into a genre that has been worked and reworked many times over. And it can be done with so many other genres such as fantasy, science fiction, thrillers, you name it.
So what genre or legendary creature/being have you thought about working on? Is there one close to your heart that’s been done a lot already? If so, how can you make it new and interesting? Are there rules for how it behaves or can be dealt with and what are the explanations behind it? Is there a new way to approach these things? Give us a new spin on it that still makes sense and intrigues us.
I’d love to hear from you and so would other people who read this blog. Leave comments below and tell us a little about what you are working on or have in mind. Be careful not to give your whole idea away. Just leave tantalizing hints that will get us revved up to check your work out as soon as it’s ready.
Until next time, keep writing.