Saturday, September 29, 2007

Vampires Just Won't Die

Daughter Number One went to the emergency room last night and that provided me with a chance to watch some new show on CBS about vampires. This brings us an interesting phenomena that has applications to the writing world. Just about every fantasy agent and publisher says no more vampire stories and yet here we are. These things just do not die. I keep a close eye on the Just Released shelf at B&N and I don't think a week ever goes by without a vampire story on it. They're everywhere. I don't see what the appeal is since I don't read them; I have my suspicions but this is a family blog. In any event, somebody in the publishing world must be accepting these manuscripts and that brings me to the point of this post. Are these vampire stories really 'fresh and different' like most writers guidelines demand? Or are they simply rehashes of every vampire trope ever done. (They've even been portrayed as alien beings and genetic mutations so that science fiction writers/readers could have their fun as well. But in the end it's always the same kind of stuff.) I have a feeling that vampires are on a certain wave of popularity now and the publishing world will keep them there as long as possible.



I write fantasy, some of which includes dragon characters, which are supposedly something agents and editors don't want to see anymore. And yet there are dragon stories everywhere.

Dragons don't have quite the same (ahem) attractions as vampires, but they keep appearing in books 'cause people like to read about 'em.

I understand needing to write something fresh and creative, because I as a reader am always looking for novels with a certain something that sets them apart from the rest, and I hope my work as a writer does that for other readers.

On the other hand, even though the plot details in each book may differ, the romance genre plays essentially one string and has been strong for centuries -- and it's still getting published because it's still getting read, and therefore still making money.

Two Write Hands said...

Wow, after your first line I expected a much different post. (Guessing everything's OK on that front.) As for the vampires stories. I've never read one, and I seriously wonder how printing vampire books doesn't bankrupt publishers. Guess I'm just not in the majority.

Seren said...

They're everywhere. I don't see what the appeal is since I don't read them;

May I correct you, you just read 'The Dresden Files' which featured - vampires.

Vampires are the sexy, glamorous face of amorality. Therein lies the fascination and allure.

I'm not particularly keen on that kind of thing myself, but I have read 'Dracula' by Bram Stoker. As an example of Victorian Gothic horror, it's excellent. And in the clash between good and evil, the former, as in all good stories, wins out.

PS. Buffy, the Vampire Slayer was pretty good too.

Scriptorius Rex said...

M- She just swallowed a penny. (Guess who has to find it...)

S- Au contrair mon frer, The Dresden Files are wizard stories with some guest vampires for one book. That's about my limit for vampire stories. I'm thinking of Laurel K Hamilton, L A Banks, Patricia Briggs, et al. (There'll probably be another one before I finish typing this response.) But I think you're right; it's all about the sex.

Seren said...

S- Au contrair mon frer,

I'm your brother??????!!!!!

That's news to me!!!! :P

(you forgot to mention the high priestess of vampirism - Anne Rice. I did have a go at the Vampire Lestat series but found them overly gothic)

Dawn Allcot said...

I don't know if they are on a "certain wave of popularity" right now, or simply that they are consistently popular.

Those same Anne Rice, Laurel K. Hamilton, etc. books have been on the shelves at B&N for as long as I've been a customer.

I think publishers are probably deluged with vampire books claiming to be "unique and different," and if they didn't specifically ask writers NOT to submit these stories, they would get even more of them, even more poorly written.

The fact is, they still sell and, therefore, will continue to be published. I think the best publishers can do is sift out the very worst by asking for no submissions dealing in that sub-genre. (Just think of the dreck that might be available if they didn't try to sift it out in this way!)

Also, it's much harder for a new writer to break in with a vampire story, etc., whereas, no one is really going to tell Anne Rice or Hamilton, "Yeah, you need to try something new this time..."

Their stories sell, and will continue to be published.

Personally, I like vampire tales (I'm not, like, a freak about them or anything) but I definitely see your point!

And yeah, hope your daughter is okay!

Scriptorius Rex said...

S- 'Au contrair mon frer' is actually an American saying made popular by Bart Simpson; it is no more French than pineapple and Canadian Bacon pizza is Italian so I can't be blamed for spelling anything wrong.

DA- You're right about vampire slush. I'd hate to read what might be coming in to agents and editors on a regular basis.

Seren said...

Menage a trois! as Del Boy is wont to say when he makes a plonker of himself. Oh well: boeuf a la mode and all that.

Does this fascination with vampires in the US also include the afterlife and the unquiet dead? Over here, our TV schedules seem to be overrun with programmes about mediums, ghost whisperers (whatever they are) and such like. Does this reflect a popular interest in the US? Is there a reason for that?

Scriptorius Rex said...

We've gotten all kinds of shows about the paranormal lately.

Brittanie said...

I have a friend that is Christian. We go back and forth on this topic because she reads lots of fiction books on witches, warlords, vampires etc. when I feel as a Christian we should not read them or spend money on them. Who is right? I think most people underestimate satan but the Bible does not.

Scriptorius Rex said...

Satan definitely has a plan to use every means possible to draw us away from God. I think it is important not to let things distract us from Jesus. Some people have a big problem with gambling; even though it is not specifically a sin, those people should not do it because it hampers their relationship with Christ. Others like me can enjoy Las Vegas for the cheap food and run twenty bucks through the video poker machines and call it a day. The same sort of thing applies to much of our involvement in the secular world around us. If your friend spends more time reading and dwelling on vampires than the Bible she might have a problem. If not then I'd say it's permissible. But that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.