01 May 2010

Vampires: Evil, Tortured, and Heroic

Vampire.
 
What do you feel when you hear the word? Readers of traditional horror tend to see a predator; a dark, evil force that cares not at all for humans except for amusement and food.
 
The traditional mythology of the vampire fits this idea. Vampires were seen as evil, demonic. In the time Bram Stoker lived and wrote his masterpiece Dracula, people believed in vampires and took precautions to prevent their loved ones from coming back from the grave.
 
Only in the 20th Century did vampires begin to take on a more dignified, less horrifying persona. In the 1970’s, the soap opera Dark Shadows brought a vampire with a conscience into homes. Barnabas likely wasn’t the first fictional vampire who hated what he was, but Jonathan Frid’s portrayal of the tortured fanged-one introduced the idea of the tortured vampire to the masses. Things were changing.
 
It took a while for the trend to catch on. Books and movies with more sympathetic vamps didn’t do well for a long time, but eventually the spark flared into a roaring flame that continues to today with the vampire as hero. There continues to be talk that the vampire is…well…dying. But that never seems to happen. With the Twilight craze in full bloom, it’s unlikely to happen anytime soon. Or at all. Personally, I think the vampire is immortal — at least in fiction.
 
Many writers write about vampires, and these days vamps can be anything from scary to sexy to sweet (well, sort of). What I have discovered, is that they still need an edge. After a manuscript was rejected for the third time, I began to rethink my vampire hero. Finally I figured it out: I’d made him too human. I’m getting ready to do a take it down to the studs (figuratively speaking) rewrite. This time I’m giving my hero more darkness, more depth, more scary and unpredictable.
 
And I plan to enjoy myself thoroughly while I do it.
 
Have a great weekend!
 
Cheryel
www.cheryelhutton.com
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