Vampires, Maybe

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2014
Jul 7
Dante And Virgil In Hell (1850)

I’ve been thinking about writing a vampire novel, but I want it to be different from anything out there. You see, what appeals to me about the vampire—what appeals to me about myth and folklore, really—is what people actually believed at one time. This angle is to me the most intriguing, and it is totally different from what is now available, I think.

The modern vampire, if you think on it, is neither coming from folklore nor mythology. Instead, it is a pure product of Hollywood. Further, even the vampire as treated in literature, with very few exceptions, is something other than what was actually believed. The ‘Gothic Vampire’ is, for example, a purely literary invention. No one ever believed in it.

This is one the reasons why I want to try something completely different, like I did with the werewolf in my short story Werewolf Winter and with the witch in my first novel Witch of the Defiled. I want to approach the vampire from the point of view of the people who truly believed in it, to see the world as if these creatures were real. I don’t think this has been done before, though I can be mistaken. I’ve read a good amount of vampire stories, but I have not read all of them.

Even though the vampire has been done to death—he he he—I don’t really think it has been approached from this angle, to see the vampire not as symbolic but as a real being. If you go way back, for instance, to the earliest legends dealing with blood drinking beings, the vampire is not in any way romanticized. It is a terrible creature. Lilith and Lamatsu, for example, were heavily associated with infant mortality—some have even suggested that the etymology of the word lullaby originates from a Hebrew incantation to keep Lilith away. Can you imagine the fear parents of very young children must have had of the vampire? This, I think, offers tremendous story ideas for the fiction writer.

Another curious thing is that these early vampires were not seen as predators. This fascinates me. The reason for this is that vampires were not even remotely seen as natural creatures. They were not living creatures with human qualities, hopes, and dreams. Instead, they were anti-living creatures. As such these creatures would not possess natural instincts; all their drives would be alien to a human being. This is one of the most intriguing aspects of ancient vampire legends, at least for me. How do you go about writing a character that is both intelligent and unnatural?

Of course, at the moment, I am only contemplating writing a vampire novel. I haven’t started on it or anything. If I ever do, however, I would like to bring this ancient idea to the modern world. I think that this would make a very effective story. Unlike Witch of the Defiled, which I set in a fantasy medieval world, I think an ancient vampire in our world would be more powerful as a novel, more than anything because it would make a clear distinction between the modern Hollywood vampire and what people actually believed in, a creature devoted to evil.

So this is what’s been on my mind lately. I’ll do some research and write a few scenes and see if I’ve got something worth pursuing. Anyways, thanks for reading and good bye, for now.

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