I have an idea for a vampire story, but there are a lot of things that I would rather try to avoid – I may have mentioned these in other postings – as far as a vampire oriented story. I’m just spitballing here, so I will ask for your indulgence in this matter. If this might not be your thing – accept my apologies and here’s a video of a kitten for you.
The main thing I’m not too keen on anymore with the current state of the vampire genre is that it’s so entwined in romance…we’re forgetting that it started out as a horror trope. The vampires of the latter half of the twentieth century and the first part of the twenty-first sees them eternally tortured souls doomed to search for their eternal love while looking cooler than the rest of us. It was fine for a while, giving us something to empathize with in the main character. How many of us have let one get away, and become blubbery wrecks for a few days…or months…or centuries? OK – hopefully there were no hands raised to the last part of that question. However, with the advent of … you know … that … vampires have really lost their edge. Now, the horror of eternal life has been lost in the din of washboard abs, sparkles and cutesy fang laced pouts.
When I watched Dracula on NBC for a few episodes, I was hoping that they would get away from the romance angle…and they didn’t…and they brought in the whole “British Petroleum” angle which pretty much turned me off. I liked the time period – shortly before World War I with the British Empire still walking with the colonial swagger. The Russian Revolution and the defining horrors of the Twentieth Century were yet to be seen. If there ever was an age of innocence, this was it. I was figuring that our intrepid Johnathan Harker would have been swept up into the excitement of war with his brooding friend from overseas…only to find out that the true horror wasn’t the Voivode of Wallachia standing atop the trenches and exulting in the beauty of carnage, but the industrialized nature of warfare. There were no more warriors, merely soldiers sent out to walk ahead a curtain of artillery. The punishment for cowardice was administered by a distant officer who rarely ventured to the front lines. It was madness. It was the brutal death of innocence for all attendance.
That’s just the backdrop with the people. I haven’t even gotten to the vampires yet. When I work on something, I try to come up with a pitch line – not to actually give to an agent, but a way of keeping track of what I want to accomplish. The pitch line for this one is: “All’s Quiet on the Western Front” meets “Shadow of the Vampire” while contemplating “From Hell”. That is a lot to take in, yes but that’s just the beginning idea.
Of course, with something like this I am going to have to do a lot of research…which a small part of me loves. I think one of the reasons why I write such sweeping stories is that it gives me an excuse to go to the library. Even though I have the Internet, I’m still the person who runs down to the corner library to plow through volumes – just because there is a lot of ancillary material that I can pick up and use.
Back to the original premise: I want to bring back the fear and horror in vampire fiction. I think we need to get back to that. Yes, the vampire as a metaphor for sexual licentiousness is a golden oldie and I am not advocating completely undoing it. I just think that we can expand the notion of undead gluttony beyond heaving bosoms and a discrete trickle of blood down the neck. In the context of this World War One novel, we can turn the vampire into a symbol of the dawning of the Twentieth Century – not just the turning over of the calendar and repeatedly writing ‘1899’ rather than ‘1900’ on the checks. We’re entering a century of unparalleled violence and at the head of it is a man standing on the lip of a trench weeping bloody tears of joy.
I will come back to this later on as I am fleshing out the series. As far as the other novel goes: I got in a little over 800 words today, but the time ran out for me, so I will try to finish up the word count tonight and hit the hay. If I can keep up the pace of 1,600 words a day, I should be able to get it finished before the middle of summer. With luck, I can keep to the August deadline.
Well, with all of that said, I thank you for indulging me and I look forward to our next meeting. As always, please take a look at the books to the right – not only of just me, but of other talented authors. Until we meet again…