Saturday, January 24, 2009

Vampires keep popping up.

In the past couple of days the subject of vampires has come up in my little world several times. A friend and I were discussing how we were looking forward to seeing the third Underworld film. Anny Cook wrote about vampires and their appeal on her blog. (I blogged on the topic a while back.) And several new books came out by writers I enjoy that included vampires.

As it happens, one of my WIPs involves vampires. I started it several months ago I have a place that I store my stories that dates them for me adds some extra copyright oomph by having a date stamp. This is my first foray into vampires beyond one short story. While examining what would happen if these creatures were real isn’t the most original idea, I flatter myself that I have a bit of a different approach on their origin and how things go.

But the truth is, where some ideas are concerned there are a lot of original angles a writer can take, but the basic concepts are anything but new. Time travel, especially historical time travel that lands someone back into the Scottish highlands a the mercy of the great and powerful laird or into Regency England, is not new. Vampires are not new. Weres or shapeshifters are not new. Stories where an author or a reader finds themselves inside one of their books is not new. On and on and on we could list these almost forever.

I agree with Neil Gaiman who once said [paraphrasing here] that there were only so many ideas for stories out there, but it was what each writer did with that idea that made it special and their own.

A bit of my vampire story? It's titled Scion.

Does it seem as strange to you to think of a time when we saw them that way? Scary images on film that would give children nightmares and that charged up adults with rushes of adrenaline as we suspended disbelief for a few moments to pretend they were real? Blood thirsty, horrific, terrible and real?

But then the images changed. Slowly they evolved into something beyond the vicious, monstrous, killers of legend. Hollywood turned them into the quintessential lovers and heroes. The short, squat Bella Legosi with hairy palms and scary eyes was gone and in his place stepped Brad Pitt and Tom Cruise. They became tragic figures whose need for salvation and sad haunted hearts made Romeo seem like a lightweight. So beautiful. So elegant. So sexy. Younger and younger we became obsessed with the idea of them.

They became the romantic heroes of our age. Oh, they still drank our blood and hunted humans, but either they only preyed upon the wicked or we would be the one to save them, to teach them to love. They were the ultimate bad boys who would be forever beautiful, forever young and forever desirable. Even better, they offered to share that fate with us.

I guess that was the true stroke of genius in their plan—taking the proverbial bite out of their image by linking it with the ultimate teen fantasies. And sex. We can’t forget the sex. So the RPGs grew into graphic novels and internet chat sites where people lived out their fantasies. Kids all over where playing games like The Coven, Club Blood and Lilith’s Children. Writing fanfiction, playing dress up and pretending to be one of them. The whole subculture grew up in the larger cities and soon actual clubs and bars were springing up where people could step away from their computers, don their vampiric identities in the flesh and go interact with other wannabees. All just good clean fun. Weird, but no harm done.

And no one knew that this change had been deliberate, that it had been a part of their plan. You see, as we humans evolved, so did they. Only they evolved faster and better, leaving behind many of the limitations they once had and making us forget about even more of them. Garlic and crosses? Strictly the stuff of Hollywood legends. By the time they made their move, just ten years ago, the majority of us were ready to welcome them and to stand against the few remnants of resistance. Human rights now changed and expanded to cover those who were not human. By the time we came to understand just what they meant by “human rights”, it was too late. Maybe if we’d paid more attention to animal rights groups like PETA, karma wouldn’t be kicking us in our collective human asses.

I’ve had some mental breakthrough on another story I’m working on. Now I just have to hope Z lets me do something about it. Sigh. Papers to grade, stuff to write and a Green Bird that is head bobbing at me to remind me that he needs more food in his food dishes.

Z starts with his sitter on Monday. No one here is happy about it. I so wish I could be a stay-at-home mom but it just isn’t possible. Insurance, mortgages, car payments, etc. are all just too much for one of our salaries.

On a good note, Z has been much happier lately. He is actually laughing and smiling. He had a melt down today at JoAnn’s fabric store because he was tired of shopping, but he did very well. He also went to his first baby storytime at my SO’s library. He did well, but they didn’t stay for playtime because he was the youngest baby there.

Oh, anyone know a good way to label bottles and storage containers so that it doesn’t wipe off? We tried permanent marker but it rubs off and tape isn’t waterproof.

Run off to see Anny Cook, Kelly Marstad, Sandra Cox and Jenny Beans. Jenny will be blogging about the Underworld prequel today.


Jenny Beans said...

Vampires are everywhere right now for me too. It's like a message. I had an entire novel I wrote about fourteen years ago (literally while I was pregnant with and during the first year of D's life...) that was too complex for me to wrap my mind around at the time. I'm older now, a little bit wiser. Part of me is so tempted to rewrite. It would be completely from scratch because so much of the original plot is just too ridiculous. We'll see. I'm just happy to be on the writing bandwagon again.

Being a mom is tough. So much responsibility, and to top it all off you have to work and worry about ten million other things. I hope you find a smidge of time for you, so you can get some writing done. I know it isn't much, but the extra income from your successes this last year... just think what you could do with a little more extra income once you find some time to finish a few more of those masterpieces you've got stewing on the backburner right now.

Anonymous said...

Nailpolish works well

Anny Cook said...

Or write on the item with permanent marker--let it sit until completely dry (about 24 hours) and then swish a quick coat of clear nail polish over it. That's what I use on my beaded hair piks.

Sandra Cox said...

I feel for you, Jae. Going back to work when you have a young one at home is very difficult on mom. Hang in there. It will get easier.

KellyMarstad said...

Anny's is good. So is Anonymous'. Strategic carving is another. Just a nick or two to distinguish.

Leaving them behind is definitely tough. Hugs for that first day.

Gosh he looks so cute and cuddly.

Bronwyn Green said...

As a longtime childcare provider, I can tell you it's always harder on the parents. I hope that Z's sitter will love him as much as you two do - but I can't imagine that you'd choose anyone who wouldn't. :)

I really like your vampire concept. I hope you get time to work on it soon.

Anny Cook said...

Got sidetracked on the bottle labeling. The vampire concept is wonderful I can't wait for you to get cracking on this one... after the baby, job, and other assorted duties!

Molly Daniels said...

Z is definitely looking sweet! Good to see him with his eyes open:)