7 Tips to Writing about Vampires

Vampires

There are plenty of types of vampires, so how do you make a list of tips to writing about them?  You pray really hard and do your best. That and you start off with the disclaimer that you’re working off your own preferences and experience.  Let’s get this crazy ride on the road.

  1. Whatever vampire rules you go by, stick with them until the end.  I’m not saying you can’t make exceptions to them for plot purposes, but you need to have a base to work off of.  You shouldn’t have so many unique types that nothing is consistent and the entire species feels more like an unorganized convention.
  2. Try not to have them repeatedly go after high school girls for romance.  It’s getting rather creepy and people are realizing the age difference.  That and it makes it feel like teenage girls are all into necrophilia.
  3. Not all vampires are perfect specimens of the human race.  Especially if they’re undead, they shouldn’t all be muscular with beautiful skin and hair.  You’re still dealing with corpses here, which means you’d need to explain how such things can change or make it clear that vampires only turn those that society dub perfect.  Try to at least make them unwise, stupid, or something to make up for the physical beauty.  No, a rotten personality doesn’t count.  Characters should have flaws and that goes for monstrous bloodsuckers too.
  4. Try to explain why some vampires are bestial idiots and others are smart survivors.  It could be as easy as saying it depends on if a new vampire is taken under someone’s wing or left to learn on their own.  The point is that you don’t create a confusing combination of savages and civilized vampires that appear to exist within the same system with no rhyme nor reason.
  5. Chopping the head off has to do something.  Death, incapacitation, slumber until it heals, or even blindly scrambling after the body part.  Quick regeneration could be an option, but that brings in a problem.  How does one kill a vampire that can regrow its head within seconds? You could say full body destruction, but that’s nearly impossible outside of bombs, massive spells, and other things that are not easily accessible.
  6. If you’re going to use Dracula and it’s not a comedy then take it seriously.  Give the old man his due and stop beating him like a dead horse that owes you money.
  7. Consider the issue of anachronism, which means your vampire has been around so long that they are behind the times.  It can range from having no idea how technology works to being only a generation behind.  Most people are unable to keep up with such things and they’re mortal.  Imagine someone who has been around for hundreds of years and doesn’t stick around a college or teenagers.  They’ll fall behind or feel like things are going too fast at some point.
  8. Added by popular demand: No sparkles.

About Charles Yallowitz

Charles E. Yallowitz was born, raised, and educated in New York. Then he spent a few years in Florida, realized his fear of alligators, and moved back to the Empire State. When he isn't working hard on his epic fantasy stories, Charles can be found cooking or going on whatever adventure his son has planned for the day. 'Legends of Windemere' is his first series, but it certainly won't be his last.
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39 Responses to 7 Tips to Writing about Vampires

  1. Sounds like decent advice to me. I’ve tried to avoid vampires and zombies, because there is a certain overdone aspect to them. I’ve been unsuccessful, because they’re so darned cool.

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    • They make for great monsters and villains, especially secondary threats. I’d been on the fence about going vampire for a while, but I’d been designing ‘War of Nytefall’ alongside ‘Legends of Windemere’ since 2000. Felt wrong to keep the Dawn Fangs on the shelf again just because vampires got popular and overdone.

      Liked by 1 person

      • I bite my nails when I do it, but I do it anyway. The jungle men in Panama were glorified zombies. I did a short story about a documentary film maker stalking vampires in Baltimore. Lizzie and the hat identified a few local vampires too, but they were window dressing.

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      • Sounds like you put some twists on them. That tends to be the deciding factor. Big difference between going with the standard version and trying to make your own. Then again, it’s getting harder and harder to forge a unique zombie or vampire.

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      • It really is. Nothing wrong with a recycled version, but you have to have something new about it and that’s getting harder. Even the zombies in one of the Pirates films were only window dressing.

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      • The POTC zombies were rather unique in the first movie since it was a curse. The pirates still acted human and only took on the appearance in certain situations. Davey Jones’s crew might have counted as well, but they were more mutations. I guess I don’t remember the window dressing zombies. From what I’ve been told, that’s what the walkers have become in TWD.

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      • They were the huge dudes that worked for Blackbeard. Kind of an untapped potential there. The walkers have become more like random monsters lately.

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      • Oh yeah. Shows how much I was paying attention during that movie. Probably best that they weren’t bigger forces because that could have been distracting.

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      • Those super popular characters are a challenge, because we’re saturated with them. I need a fresh kind of undead to write about, without totally inventing one. My brother still has my old Monster Manual, maybe I should check there.

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      • There are a lot of sub-categories of undead. I think I did a post a while back where I went into a few. They typically fall into zombie, ghost, or skeleton categories if you go by basic descriptions. Yet, you have ghouls, ghasts, haunts, and many others throughout folklore and mythology.

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      • Research project for another day. Some aren’t appropriate to my story, like mummies.

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      • Note: Looking up mummies while eating is not recommended. It’s fairly interesting how they have appeared around the world, but fiction tends to focus on the Egyptian version.

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  2. Very clever, Charles. I don’t plan on writing Vampires into a story but your list will be useful when reading what others write.

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  3. L. Marie says:

    The vampire image you used is hilarious! Count Chocula! LOL! I’d forgotten all about Lily Munster from The Munsters.

    Great tips! Especially number 3. My goodness how true!

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  4. Great tips! Good point about them still being undead, I think that gets forgotten about nowadays.

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    • I’ve been wondering if it’s purposely ignored to keep the romance series going. To be honest, I’ve yet to decide if Dawn Fangs count as undead or not. They’re vampires with heartbeats and one has to ‘die’ in order to become one. Might be a gray area or I could have fun with nobody in Windemere being sure how to categorize them.

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      • I wouldn’t be surprised at all if that’s why it’s being ignored, otherwise romance with a dead creature might cause some backlash, lol.
        It sounds like you have a very interesting problem to solve with the Dawn Fangs… it should be interesting to see what you decide to do, unless you can just ignore it.

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      • Ignoring it shall be! What? Okay, I’ll be a serious author and not pull a cop out. I think over time, the Dawn Fangs are going to be considered half-dead instead of undead or living. They have characteristics of both groups, which terms them into an odd bridge between the two ‘worlds’.

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      • Sounds like an ambitious undertaking, but a very interesting one. You’re probably right to avoid a cop out

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  5. I’ve always fancied writing a came piece, but going back to the folklore origins rather than what it has become. This post has re-enthused me, thanks!

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  6. Reblogged this on Plaisted Publishing House and commented:
    Writing about Vampires…NO SPARKLES 🙂

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  7. Reblogged this on Author Don Massenzio and commented:
    Check out this informative post from the Legends of Windemere blog with seven tips for writing about vampires.

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  8. I’m with you on #5!

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  9. Pingback: 7 Tips to Writing about Vampires | Campbells World

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