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Manga & Anime > Monsters

Vampires, and Their Many Representations.

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MahluaandMilk:
Because child and sub-boards need a little love around here, and I need a better sleeping schedule so as that I'm not awake for all the odd slow hours where no one is doing anything. Why not be productive and share some stuff that I know a lot about and could maybe help someone with?

Now, the good stuff.

Vampires.
I've loved them personally ever since I was exceptionally young. I suppose you could say that I have a history with them, and boy do they have their own history.

Now, of course everybody's heard of Bram Stoker's Dracula, right? Well, funfact: about 25 years before its publication in May 1897, a humble little magazine published a small novella by Sheridan le Fanu called Carmilla. Why am I bringing that up? Well, firstly because I've never actually read through all of Dracula (gasp, the humanity! A fangbanger like me not having read the most prominent work of vampire fiction?!) and I find that Carmilla raises many interesting points in vampire fiction:

Firstly, Carmilla was a vampire who would walk in the daylight, although it exhausted her. Secondly, she had the ability to transform into a mist wherewhich she could move through locked doors and such. Thirdly, to be permanently gotten rid of, she required to be killed in a traditional sense, and was done so within her own coffin. Fourthly, she was arguably a lesbian. GG vampires, progressive since 1872.

Now, of course, Dracula brought many of his own perks to the vampire world, such as its association with bats, not to mention serves as one of the most recognizable and most adapted work in fang fiction. Both he and Carmilla share that old, gothic tone thanks to the era they were written in, which brings me back to another important part of their history: the lore behind how vampires as we know them came to be.

In olden times, people often could not understand death and its effects, and through traditional ghost story methods, people came to believe that old relatives could rise up from the grave and feed upon the remaining family members. Because of this, sometimes graves would be dug up, and if blood showed around the mouths, or hair had grown, it was viewed as a sign that they were one of these undead creatures. However, we now understand these processes to be natural post-mortum occurrences, such as the body expelling its insides and skin receding, hence perceived hair growth. The stake to the heart method of killing them was instilled to not just impale them, but to tie them to the grave in the same sense that you stake down a tent, so to speak.

History lesson aside, these days, they're seen as more glamorous and sexy, and I can't tell you exactly why, seeing as I haven't exactly read every work of vampire nature ever, although my guess would fall on Anne Rice being the culprit behind that.

Now, don't get me wrong, I love Rice and her works. I have read quite a few of them and plan on getting around to collecting them. I'm simply listing her as a heavy contributor to this type of vampire depiction.

In more recent times, we have things like the House of Night series, Vampire Academy, and Vampire Diaries, which are generally aimed at young adults and take place in a school setting to be more applicable, and I find this to be quite an interesting turn.

Here's where I'm going to get really conceptual, so please bear with me.

The reasoning, I think, behind this slow change derives from how society has viewed "monsters" in general. They were once terrifying in a world that could not be easily explained. Now that we have methods to explain these things, some of that fear has died down and we have drawn back and viewed these creatures as things to consider and study.

The concept of having to rely on blood for one's own survival is an interesting one, and reveals much about how society views blood itself. It has many associations today, since it comes from the heart, which we see metaphorically as a place of emotion, and it is also seen as the very source of our life. We know it is important, and it has been important to us since the dawn of time. The fact that it's so important makes it a little easier to understand just why a creature might rely on it for sustenance. Because of that, we have become less fearful and more sympathetic to the vampire.

Where exactly does that leave us as writers to work with?

Well, anywhere we want to take it, to put it simply. Over time, vampires have acquired quite some reputation and following. I, myself, am one of those people. We have come to romanticize the vampire into various types, and here's where I plan to get a little helpful, and since a lot of these ideologies I reflect on from a book, I'll just go ahead and give a kudos to Meredith Woerner's Vampire Taxonomy.

There are a few easily recognizable vampire archetypes, such as the old aristocrat, the tragic hero, the romantic, the top dog, the elder, the fledgeling, and even old child vampires. They have such a variety of characters to write for that it's easy to create a supernatural element in any story with them. These days, we tend to romanticize their features, but it's also understandable to make them look more undead, bony, and perhaps with a more terrifying set of pearly whites than just a slight canine extension. They're a versatile bunch, and could have many uses depending on what kind of supernatural story you want to work with. Even if you have a subgenre, you can still make use of most archetypes that exist.

Outside of character traits, of course, you have their lovely abilities. From mind control to extreme feats of strength and agility, vampires have become peculiarly popular among being ability hogs. Perhaps this relates back to what I said about the way we perceive blood as a life force, and because of their "increased" life force by means of ingestion, they receive some greater power, or perhaps because of our association with age and intelligence, since the fact that blood covers the "practically immortal" aspect many people bring to vampires gives way to them living beyond the range of the average human, we see them as being wiser, and thus more mentally capable, having had much time to learn all sorts of things.

Their association with night came from history, in which the undead creatures predating our glamorized literature were often "sighted" by family members or victims around nightfall. We associate the night with mystery and the unseen. Because of that, vampires have a knack for being associated with "hiding" and "mystery" themselves, although when you think about it, they're quite simple. In that simplicity arose our variety of archetypes, and through their various sub-associations, these powers, and to top it off, they're "mysterious."

All of this can pave the way for an extremely interesting character, because people love solving mysteries, they love sympathizing with something tragic, they love the "struggle for humanity in a monster" shtick, and they love something fresh, and what we as the writers want to offer is generally a fresh view or idea regarding something.

I, myself, as a writer, would prefer to write about a vampire that lacks that romanticized control, yet maintains that aspect of knowledge. That type would be more aggressive and brutish, but able to learn as their time goes on. I would capitalize on the focus on blood, and make it overarch into the vampires' mindsets on other subjects.

Now, here's where the discussion begins. Are there any vampire archetypes I may have glossed over? Any particular abilities associated with the fangs that I didn't quite mention? Are you going to point out that I purposely colored the word "blood" red at every instance, and that I didn't make mention of that series with a title that refers to the time of day between afternoon, evening, and night? Favorite vampire characters in fiction? So on and so forth. Let this thread go anywhere, and hopefully something I said in this huge textwall (gods bless you if you actually read through the whole thing) will inspire you or get your gears turning.

Note: yes, I referred to myself as "fangbanger", despite the fact that it's generally used as a derogatory term.

Jackhammer:
Vampires... If there is one thing I would consider a phobia for myself that would be Vampires. It's the neckbiting. Seriously. Even the earliest movies are something I can't completely watch. My wife finds it hilarious and I do agree, but she doesn't have any fear for them. And she doesn't feel the fangs piercing your skin, the feeling of blood drained from your body and the following queesiness...

I like to write about vampires. Anne Rice is the main culprit behind my love for them. Though she depicts them as a tad bit too glamorous, I still think interview with a vampire is the penultimate modern vampire book (the movie S.U.C.K.S donkey b***s).

My current story on the forum does contain vampires, though I have yet to introduce them. I plan on using a parasite as the cause of vampyrism. Much like the Goa'Ulds from Stargate.

I like them to be a suffering kind. They were human, now it's stolen from them. They were mortal, now they have to live eternally (or go insane and suicide after a few hundred years). They had emotions, passions, future. Now all they have is an endless craving for blood that is both a necessity as anew only pleasure in a life that is doomed to be lived under the pale moon in eternal darkness with no warmth or affection from your fellow human.

Operative13:
Vampire Breeding! Yes, I know, no one ever talks about breeding in general, but don't you find it curious how the bite of a vampire turns you into a vampire too? And the immortality thing too, how would that work?  :-\

If you consider normal reproductive methods, vampires should be able to go about the same way, considering nothing has changed except enhanced abilities... then again the bite might have turned them sterile!  :ohmy: I mean, the last thing you want to have is an immortal baby... and how would that work? Would the baby obtain the wisdom of a 100-year-old man and be cursed to wear clothing in the baby's section for eternity? All while purposefully biting the nips of a mother for the sweet, red nectar?  :hmm:

Technicalities... :unsure:

Vacant:

MahluaandMilk:
I can understand not liking the idea of having your neck bitten, or being bitten by a vampire in general. I, for one, have no idea where this glamorized "being bitten feels good" idea ever came from. Like, giving blood makes you feel like crap but you get a cookie for doing it, but with vampires, you're lucky if you get even that much and not your wits scared out of you at the very least.

Ah yeah, Interview with a Vampire did a poor job capturing a lot of the mood of the book. I like Rice's writing in that regard. She knows how to set the stage to make the situations she brings actually affect the reader.

Yes, I also agree that suffering vampires are some of the most juicy writing material to work with.

I used to have a vampire character overarching in my story, but I scrapped that idea to simplify my world quite a bit. As for right now, do I have an idea character on the backburner who is similar to that suffering type. She dealt with her change by becoming a hermit in a grand library and learning all she could, using knowledge as her mind's preoccupation for boredom of immortality. Sadly, instead of working to her benefit, she has all this knowledge and then has to deal with how dumb humans can be without it, and it didn't stop her cravings for blood.

As for breeding, there are many ways of looking at vampirism to determine how to make other vampires. There was a science-fiction based idea vampire hoax site here that describes one very interesting way of looking at how passing down the idea works, as well as a realistic take on vampirism in general.

I'd assume after being around long enough, most vampires would become infertile despite their young appearance, and that women would still go through something like menopause. If a vampire were to conceive, again, taking from that site, natural genetics would kick in depending on the other partner's genetics the baby could have plenty of mixed results.

It's certainly something to think about when writing for vampires, and is also certainly underaddressed. I would assume a natural born vampire would reach a certain age of maturity, that is, a reproductive age, before they would achieve that "ageless" ideology, because scientifically speaking, all creatures should be able to reach a reproductive age. How quickly that process takes would ultimately be up to the writer.

Child vampires are something I mentioned based on Anne Rice's character Claudia, but her vampires are a type to die at their turning and thus have the same body age appearance. That could also explain something like vampire immortality, since hers are more of an undead sort, and also explain why they are apparently infertile and can only create "children" through sharing their curse.

Edit: If a vampire was looking to make a halfling with a human female, I am not object to the idea.

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