Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Urban Fantasy: The Future of Vampires


Weekly contest info at right--comments this week put you in the running for a copy of Delta Blues signed by novelist (and anthology editor) Carolyn Haines.

I'm in the middle of an old L.J. Smith trilogy this week, the first three in her YA "Night World" series. Yes, more book bribery from my YA author/critique partner over at Wastepaper Prose. It's a vampire book, which I'd normally avoid since my work-in-progress also has to do with vampires. But this series, which is more than 10 years old now, has more of those cute little vampires that trot around in the sunlight and try to stay away from drinking human blood. Emasculated vampires, in other words :-)

But over dinner Saturday a friend and I were talking about vampires and why she won't read vampire books anymore--first, urban fantasy isn't her favorite genre and, second, Twilight and the emasculation and overexposure of vampires has her sick to death of them. She worries that by the time my current WIP gets finished and (fingers crossed) actually makes it to publication, nobody but nobody will want to read anything to do with vampires.

Still, I plod along, writing with vampire blinders on, knowing that werewolves became the "new vampires" and now angels seem to be "the new vampires."

I asked my agent if she thought vampires were a dead genre--heh. Her answer: "A good story will always sell, and a good vampire story will always sell."

Are you sick of vampires, or do you think they've run their course?

16 comments:

  1. Personally, I still love vampire stories and I think there will always be a market for new, innovative takes on the mythology. Part of the fun for me is seeing what each author does to tweak the vampire concept to make it uniquely her own.

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  2. It's possible there's a perception of momentary saturation, but of all the vamp novels I've read (and shows/movies I've watched) every creator seems to have a different take, so it doesn't get old. Plus the symbolism of all that vampires represent taps into the psyche in such a way that I don't think the undead will ever truly die.

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  3. I worried about the overexposure of vampires too when I was writing my first novel in fall of 2008/winter 2009 (featuring a vampire protagonist, though it also has werewolves and fallen angels in it); I remember being completely dismayed at finding out that even TNT's Librarian series used vampires in its latest installment.

    However, it's nearly 2 years since I started my novel and vampires are still going strong. I think the supernatural trend is here to stay, and that it's totally true -- a good story will always sell.

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  4. In my paranormal I made my vampire a cross breed with another type of demon. I figured that I'd cover my bases there. LOL

    Hard to say what will happen with the future of anything. My guess is that the popularity will ebb and flow just like every other "fad".

    I do agree with your agent to the extent that if the story is well written--you'll always find an audience.

    Enjoyed the post!

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  5. Your agent is right - a good book will always sell.

    And, no, we're not done with vampires yet. At least, I will never be done with them. Never. :-)

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  6. I just blogged something similar the other day and IMO vampires will always hold appeal. There are plenty of die-hard (har har) vampire fans out there. The trick is giving them something new and fresh while still holding true to a vampire's appeal (which has been much too watered down!).

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  7. Excellent post that gave me lots to ponder while eating lunch. IMHO, I don't think we'll ever be done with vampires. Mostly because, IMHO, the vampire hero in romances represent a male image that a lot of women crave. Strong men who can take care of business and are connected/dependent on the women for the emotional connection. Giving up a small bit of blood (while in a moment of pure bliss?) now and again to keep the man on the right path is much easier than the old stereotypes of what women have traditionally had to give up to keep the man committed to the relationship--themselves.

    That being said, IMHO (and yes apparently today I am quite opinionated, so I apologize for that ;-), what may affect whether or not readers enjoy vampire novels is the heroine. I mean, me personally, I'm a little burned out on the whole she's a buff vamp slayer with her own 6 pack abs and a kick a** closet full of weapons. But that type of character may still work for other readers.

    That said, I'd love to see a story where the average successful, single woman (who has curves and wouldn't be caught dead in spandex if her sugar daddy's life counted on it) has to make the hard choices--there's a vamp on my lawn that's begging to be staked and my daughter's first ever slumber party is going on (which, btw, if it bombs not only will the night be ruined, but the heroine's rest of her life will as well, because you know the daughter will never forgive her for ruining her life, forever and ever ad infinitum)--so do I put the pizza in the oven and break out the makeover kit or slay the vamp? Slam goes the door--But what are the consequences of trying to take the high road to being a good parent? And why does the said good parent now find herself contemplating breaking out the grill that has a tendency to shoot fire out the back when the ignition button is pressed and... oooh, mommy is gonna take care of business and BBQ all at the same time. Or maybe mommy is going to fill a butt load of water balloons with holy water then convince the slumber party guests that it's time to break out the giant sling shot and hit the target in the yard? lol, okay, yes, I could go on like this for hours.

    So for me it's not about the vamps, but about the heroine they're setup to be with. And if that heroine struggles with life issues that I can relate to... that's part of what draws me in. (For example, I was a waitress in a little podunk town at the local hotspot for four years, that is just a piece of what drew me and keeps me going back time and again to the Sookie Stackhouse series.)

    ~EK

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  8. Nope. Never gonna happen. Vampires embody so much that is alluring and authors have proven so adept at finding new and intriguing ways to use the myth of the vampire, tweaking the "rules" and adding new slants. Adding romance to the mix merely heightened the appeal, to my way of thinking, and made it that much more possible to create great new vampire worlds and characters. It will, of course, be up to publishers to continue to seek out and publish new voices, new stories and new twists on the old tale to make sure the genre stays fresh. And authors like us to keep those wonderful bloodsuckers coming!

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  9. I've loved vampires since I was a teen, loved them. Count Dracula was the sexy thing going. I hated that he had to die. :)I, for one, will never lose my love of vampires. Now, I've fallen in love with werewolves too, though. Hmm, both are hunks of burning love. :)

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  10. I think the vampire mystique is timeless and as your agent said, it's how good the story is. Keep plugging away. You'll be fine.

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  11. I think that vampires will come and go but will never completely die. LOL

    I have a vampire novel that I want to write (actually, a couple). I'm not going to rush to finish them so that I can try to hit the marketplace with them now, before the trend dies down. I don't write for trends. I write the story ideas that I have, whether they seem to be following a trend or not (the not is usually the case).

    ~Nicole

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  12. I believe there is room for all kinds of stories, and I think that more and more people are being introduced into the vampire world, so no it's not over yet.

    And thank God for that because I have a new vampire novella coming out in a couple of weeks.

    Dawn Chartier
    www.dawnchartier.com

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  13. I agree that a good story triumphs all. I personally have been in love with vampires for a while now. There are good and bad stories out their featuring vampires but as long as the good stories exist I don't see a problem.

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  14. Thanks for all the comments, everyone! I love vampire stories too, and like a lot of you I'm always interested to see what new twist an author gives the genre.

    And congrats on the novella, Dawn! I'll be anxious to read it!

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  15. Omigosh Elijana, write that novel! I'll be first in line to buy it! LOL

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  16. LOL. I'm with you. Elijana--start writing! I'd definitely buy that one.

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