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Sunday, October 18, 2009

More On Vampires

Since I've been writing a lot of vampire stories lately, they're looming large in my writerly musings.

Some people (okay, many) despise Twilight. Most of the people who hate it aren't the intended audience. I think Romeo and Juliet and Wuthering Heights are stupid too, but I don't waste time blogging spite against Emily Bronte or Shakespeare. Come to think of it, I don't blog spite against living writers either.

There's a strong contingent of True Blood haters out there too. I've read all the books, and I watch the show, but I wouldn't exactly call myself a fan. Does anyone like vampire Bill? If there was a People's Choice Award for vampire the public would most like to stake, he'd probably win by a huge margin. What's his big sin? He's boring.

Now I'm watching Being Human on BBC America, and while I have yet to read rants, I'm sure there are people who pour bile on the series. If you haven't seen it, the Being Human vampires can go out in daylight, and they seem to turn everyone they bite, which poses a huge geometric progression problem. Should gaping flaws like that bother the viewers of a series that features a ghost, a vampire,and a werewolf as flatmates? It's pure fantasy, right? It bugs me, but that doesn't stop me from watching - yet.

Then there's the Underworld franchise, the Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series, The Dark Hunter series by Sherrilyn Kenyon (now in graphic novels too!), Eden Bradley (maybe under a different pen name) has one coming out, and there are about a bazillion m/m erotica tales available in eBook. Torquere picked up my novella Bonded (no release date yet), so I'm part of the problem, er, trend.

With all this grousing about vampires, it's clear that many fans of vampires don't like the way they're being portrayed. It's also clear that many fans love the stories they're reading. But I'm musing on the unhappy legions, because I wonder what it is they want to see.

While some of the grousing I read is about the vampire "rules" being broken - they snort at Twilight's glittery vamps - that's only the opening shot in an increasingly nasty chorus of vitriol. Some of it's aimed at the writer personally, with unflattering tones of religious bigotry. If holy water and crosses are okay, why is sexual abstinence beyond the pale? (Yes, an erotica writer said this.)When a vampire who gets sexual satisfaction from feeding chooses not to feed, it's considered noble. When a waitress, a young girl, or a vampire hunter (all female characters) decides to listens to her head instead of her desire, it's prudery or forcing a religious agenda down the reader's throat. Right.

The biggest complaint against the current crop of vampire tales seems to be quality of writing. A lot of it is jealous writers slinging mud at commercially successful writers, because we all know that this is about art and the ugly aspect of money should never sully the purity of an artistic vision. Unless, of course, the writer wants to eat, pay rent, etc. Writing isn't a community service (hear that, pirates?), and wanting to make a living off it isn't a moral offense. However, I agree that there's a lot of bad writing out there. Saying nasty things about it isn't going to stop the fans from buying it though, and if fans are buying it, publishers will continue to offer it. The only suggestion I can make is: If you don't like the writing, don't buy the books.

So I guess that where all this musing leads me is to the conclusion that readers want a well-written vampire tale that stays within the accepted trope of vampire rules. Oh - and they want sex. Lots and lots of vampire sex. That, I can do.


Blogger Helen said...

I read Twilight, just to see what all the fuss (positive and negative) was about. The first three chapters were pretty boring and it took me days to get through them. Then suddenly it was like things took off and I finished the rest of the book in two days.

Twilight definitely has its flaws, such as a heroine who's too pointless to live, but it's definitely got heat. I thought the amount of romantic tease in it was well worth the read, and quite frankly I was grateful it didn't have sex scenes because that would have ruined all that wonderful seduction (yes, this is another erotica writer saying this).

Twilight isn't traditional vampires, it isn't politically correct (a lot of feminists absolutely hate how dependent Bella is on Edward and how stalkerish Edward acts). It is fun brain candy though, if you can get past those two points. And like you said, if people will buy that, publishers will put it out there.

Haven't read New Moon yet, but maybe I'll start that soon.

3:03 AM


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