1. CSwolery
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    CSwolery Member

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    Help creating a 'good' vampire

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by CSwolery, Aug 19, 2011.

    This is my first attempt get help for a story I want to publish. Please bear with me. After a couple of really, really bad experiences with World of Darkness, particularly Masquerade, I am left with the need to create my own urban fantasy story, in part to assuage my anger, in part to get the stink of Masquerade off of me, and then to apologize to Theresa for putting her into Masquerade twice. It was a snuff film with a plot, and I didn't know better.

    So here's the gist: I'm creating a good vampire. She was embraced against her will, she's not a Nietzschean wannabe (and never will be), she fear the other vampires, and believing that they will eat her eventually, she decides to live it up for the rest of her life. For Theresa Miller that means loud pop music, Hawaiian pizza (that she can't hold down very long), learning how to club dance and as much karaoke as she can stand. That's how it is in the beginning.

    But this ISN'T Masquerade, it might not be like a traditional vampire story at all, because, frankly I hate vampires, I hate how vampires are portrayed in movies and I wanna play the concept straight. In this story, there are a lot of good or morally ambiguous vampires, though as a whole Vampires are ruled by evil and their own worst impulses. But rather than abject control and dark, emo-goth BDSM themes, Vampires in this story are more about corruption, that young vampires, especially ones that were embraced against their will need to be 'groomed.' The chief way of doing that is offering them what they want; this usually includes both daywalk and their mortal lives. The Vampires NEED each other because there is safety in numbers (all supernatural creatures are terrified of normal humans, who can kill them quite easily if they are prepared). Theresa likes to think she's not like the other vamps. Nothing could be further from the truth: everything she does is a variant of expected. Thralling a friend for emotional support, running away from the Camarilla, bumbling through the Camarilla get togethers, refusing to drink human blood, drowning in self loathing, the older vampires have seen all of this before. And Theresa is VERY corruptible: her strength is that she can do anything if it is necessary, and her weakness is that she can justify anything. She needs to feel she is doing good, and then her self righteousness will be her downfall (the Knights Templar theme if you follow TVTropes).

    There's actually three sets of characters: the Camarilla characters (vampires and their thralls), Theresa's estranged family (which includes two Werewolves, neither of which is into Werewolf sub-culture) and her bar buddies at the First Circle, a semi-dive bar in Columbus Ohio's Short North that does Karaoke on Monday nights. All represents moral challenges to the Vampire determined to be good. And it is supposed to be gritty and dark, but I will make sure there's a happy ending. It's my opinion that there's no point in writing, reading or watching anything else.

    So with all that fluff, is there any advice on how to go about this? Things to read, things to keep in mind? I'm not aiming this for the vampire ghetto, it's not a story I'm writing because I think it will sell. It's the vampire story I want to read. Like I'm REALL pissy about the modern obsession with vampires that burn in the sun, I find it intolerable, so I'm halving the difference so that sunlight gives radiation sickness instead, and vampires can learn to fully daywalk, though it's a maintenance intensive skill (like eating) that most don't consider worth it. Sunlight CAN kill a vampire, but barring an outlier, it'll only make the vampire wish it had. Puking blood, debilitating nausea and your hair falling out will do that. But to reiterate, I am writing for ME, and hoping others will come along for the ride.

    Any thoughts are welcome.
     
  2. proserpine
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    Vampires aren't really my thing, but I think if you give her too many uncharacteristic traits, she will cease to be a vampire.

    I think it may help her development if you let her have vampire traits and weaknesses, but also be driven to do good things to make up for her darker side.

    Sorry so vague, but I don't know your character. Only you know her well enough to know what direction she needs to go in.

    Good luck with your writing.
     
  3. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    If you're looking to create something different to the norm, but still essentially vampire, perhaps you could try researching old myths and legends about vampires or other 'monsters' that drank blood and pull on that for inspiration, using what you find to give you ideas for your character.
    Conversely, if you don't like modern vampire fiction, why write about a vampire? It sounds like you have some really good ideas for a character and a 'species' so you could always enhance a few of the differences from normal vampire characters and create something completely new, which would give you more freedom to work with.
     
  4. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    The figure of the vampire is based on a series of old european traditions (mostly slavic) tha define what they are, including intolerance for the light.

    Breaking the rules is possible ( Tobe Hooper's lifeforce, for instance) but so far so author was able to reimagine the figure of the vampire in a satisfying way. To me a good vampire is a realistic superpredator who lives feeding on humans, there's nothing wrong with the mythology, just the way they are portrayed can change a lot and make the difference between a "good" vampire (near dark) and something horrid (twilight).
     
  5. CSwolery
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    CSwolery Member

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    That’s the thing though, Vampires have always been depicted as nocturnal in nature, but until 1922, the notion that sunlight would kill them was absurd. And lest I remind everyone, was done to get around the copyright of Dracula. Dracula walked out in the walk with impunity, though he was weakened. I'm running with an older variation of the nocturnal nature of vampires, a much, much better one in my opinion.

    So with these responses, I need to ask what are the characteristics necessary and sufficient for a vampire to be a vampire? I ask because I've heard many a groan about Twilight, but no one's ever said Edward Cullen wasn't a vampire. So figure a vampire needs to meet four basic criteria:

    1. Drinks blood (doesn't always have to be human)
    2. Superhuman powers
    3. Predatory instincts towards humans (which need not be heeded)
    4. A nocturnal nature (which again, need not be insurmountable)
    5. Nominal or assumed ageless immortality.
    6. Retraceable fangs (again with possible exceptions)

    Vampires in my work (called Lost in the Darkness) have all of these things. The only thing I can see is that my take is more flexible and forgiving. Vampires have many options to daywalk, but being able to daywalk is a conscious decision. Vampires can subsist on animal blood, but will always hunger for human blood, and see humans as prey on some level. There are vampires that have permanent fangs and have to resort to desperate measures in order to hide their vampirism, like pulling the teeth out every night, becoming a 'vampire goth' or being the local fleshcrafter's gimp for a couple of years. Vampiric powers are more focused on deception and survival. They need them not to dominate, but merely survive. A vampire in Lost in the Darkness is much more powerful than any one human. However, a head shot with a large caliber pistol will kill them instantly. It gets worse from there. Humans rule, they always have, and vampires hide to avoid being exterminated. Just like the Deep Ones, just like the Werewolves. Now that IS a change from most meta-human stories, but the issue isn't whether or not their vampires, it's my blatant human supremacism. I don't really want to write a story where human rule could be seriously challenged. Aesthetics aside, it doesn’t mesh with the viciousness and destructive propensities of humans.

    So if I'm missing something on the vampire end, I'd like to know. But, I am not writing this for vampire fans, and I refuse to write anything that is specific designed to titillate. If I step on toes, it's not my concern. Because it is my story.
     
  6. CH878
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    CH878 Active Member

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    The idea of human supremacism isn't such a problem, assuming the story is set in modern times. You've already said that a large calibre pistol shot to the head would kill one, so full extermination would be possible given the power of modern weapons, especially if the vampires are highly outnumbered.

    I don't think your criteria of a vampire is missing anything, though I'm no expert. You're right not to worry about annoying people with your story, write the novel you want.
     
  7. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    I have a few ideas, but first, allow me to respond to your list of "criteria". This is just my personal opinions, of course.

    If we go back to the beginning, you said Theresa fears the other vampires and all that. If she doesn't have to drink blood, can walk in the sun and all that, it goes again pretty much everything she might know about vampires. Why then would she believe she is a vampire? She knows they exist (they attacked her), so it makes sense that she fears them. It could make vampires scary again, especially if you add Nosferatu-vampires living in the sewers and stuff like that. Theresa could at first believe the sparkling emo-kidz stuff as the real vampires, but she learns the hard way that the hideous creatures living in the sewers are the real deal. (there are emo-kidz vamps too, but that'll come later.) Maybe one of the sewer-vamps was the one who turned her?

    And if you can, please also include an insane vamp called Jeanette. :D
     
  8. CSwolery
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    CSwolery Member

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    Tell me about Jeanette. I might be able to use her...

    Oh and Theresa IS a vampire. She must drink blood more or less every week. And a lot: to the tune of five pints (about half the blood in a human body) every week. That's without exerting her powers. It's just she makes a point of not feeding on people. Getting bagged blood is expensive and difficult and frankly the other vamps want to break her in, so she's stuck drinking animal blood, which she needs double because it has less spiritual energy than human. She prefers cattle, they have lots of blood. And while Theresa can go outside in the day, without training she's going to be very sick in the noonday sun. Daywalking training is like bodybuilding, it takes a lot of work, and a lot of maintenance. That's why most vampires don't think it's worth it. Theresa's one of the few vamps determined to retrain her body to work on a daytime schedule, but again, it's not like other young vampires haven't tried.

    What I wanted to do with Theresa is make her a battle tank with no combat skills. She is incredibly tough, and has more than a little Vampiric agility and speed and for a newly turned, has an unbelievable blood pool (her healing abilities are so that she could take on the gangs of Compton and conceivability win, and she can go a month without feeding), to the degree that it more properly belongs to a much older vampire. She's a tank, but she doesn't want to fight, and even if she did, she's competent with concealed carry .45 and her home defense 12 gauge, but that's it.

    I say this because I believe that you can only take a vampire character in a couple of places: 1. The Chaotic Evil 2. The Corruptor 3 The Wanderer 4 The Cloistered Penitent 5. The Dark Protector. The Dark Protector is usually derided as the vampire superhero, but that's the direction I wanna go. In fact in Lost in the Darkness, Vampirism is SUPPOSED to be for being the Dark Protector, and the Devil is most displeased her gift is being used as an excuse for decadence, depravity, and indolence. Yes, in Lost the Devil is female and she's evil not in the sense of wanting to be evil, but evil in that her rebellion against God causes evil things to happen. She introduced the "Blood Rot" for every right reason, but it went horribly, horribly wrong.
     
  9. cruciFICTION
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    cruciFICTION Contributing Member Contributor

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    A vampire, by definition, is something that lives off the life force of another creature. That doesn't necessarily have to be blood. A lot of people's lives revolve around different things, emotions in particular. There's no reason that a vampire couldn't feed off that in a non-harmful way to the person.
    Naturally, this would have the opportunity for trouble. Say a vampire has a constant companion whose mirth is insurmountable. The vampire feeds off this person's mirth and joy. But what happens when the person gets sad or depressed? The vampire's goals then turn to cheering that person up to further their own goals, but that's an invariably good thing, isn't it?

    Just a thought and stuff.

    So yeah, the blood thing doesn't actually have to stay when we're talking vampires.
    Hell, if someone gets off on violence, why couldn't a vampire feed on the emotional offshoots of that if it happens enough?
     
  10. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    There was a computer game back in 2004 or so called Vampire: The Masquerade: Bloodlines you really need to play. The quick version is you go to a nightclub and meet two sisters called Theresa and Jeanette. They both seem normal enough at first, but they are very insane and two of my favorite characters of all time. Their story is very well written, adn the characters are very well made. :)

    Personally, I would be careful about making her too though. Stories about a "chosen one" is a turn-off for me.

    I think there are far more versions of vampires than those five. What about a selfish, arrogant vampire who doesn't care about anyone other than himself? He sees humans as cattle and drinks from them as he please, and doesn't give it a second thought any more than we care about animals. What about good protectors? Just because you drink from humans, it doesn't mean you have to be evil. Maybe some humans willingly let you drink from them? (maybe the pay is great etc.)
     
  11. CSwolery
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    CSwolery Member

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    Actually these are good questions, and seem to creep up because I seem to come out of left field. The selfish arrogant vampire is a Corruptor, and Dark Protector can encompass antihero vampires and totally heroic ones too. In fact Good characters can be any of the last three, evil characters can be the first three and neutral characters can be 2, 3, and may spaz out occasionally to be five. But there's a lot of flexibility in the motif’s I've outlined, and well made character I'd think would be able to qualify as at least two.

    Oh and I'm downloading Bloodlines right now. How do you mod it to allow daywalk? I cannot be happy playing a character that is permanently denied the sun, it's the main thing that drove me out of Masquerade. and one more thing: I love your signature. I miss Farscape.
     
  12. WriterDude
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    WriterDude Contributing Member Contributor

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    Maybe I got it wrong, but to me, it seems like a Dark Protector embrace his vampire side and protects everyone (even humans). A Good Protector is very similar, but refuse to feed from humans without permission. But that's just my opinion, of course. ;)

    As for Bloodlines, I don't think there are any day-missions. It takes place at night and indoor. :) But keep in mind it's getting a bit old, so it doesn't look too good now. And you might want to get a patch or two. A lot of people had problems with bugs, but most should be cleared out by now. Unfortunately the people who made it went bankrupt, but fans have made patches later.

    And of course... "My friend, there's one thing you need to know: There is always time for beer." :D
     
  13. CSwolery
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    Actually, define Chosen One. The Devil has taken an active interest in Theresa. She woulda stopped her embrace all together except that such direct involvement would get her 'scourged' (instantly whipped a thousand times with a cat-o-nine whip with glass shards and risk getting one or both wings seared off. They'll grow back, but a month of agony that makes sleep impossible, and there's no pain medication that can lessen it). The Devil will get scourged to protect by the millions, scourged to protect one, not so much. The Devil is using Theresa as a yardstick to gauge if the Vampires should be exterminated. They cause untold suffering, and make her look bad. Theresa's not the only yardstick, but she's one of them. But that has nothing to do with her ability to hold her own in a fight.
     
  14. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Actually the first Pre-Dracula stories dealed with animated corpses who slept during daytime and rose in nightime to drink the blood of human beings, that was a vampire according to the slavic tradition. Bram Stoker was the first to have the idea that they walked at daylight.

    I'm not a fan of drinking non human blood, IMO it's a wussification of the vampire, who by definition is a predator on the top of the chain food, it makes too much Twilight to me, while the portrait of the vampiric figure in 33 days of night is the closest thing to pre-gothic vampire stories that I've seen on screen.
     
  15. Urshulgi
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    Urshulgi New Member

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    You could look at some other ideas of "good" vampires as well for ideas - Salubri from Masquerade are one idea, as are some of the other so-called "good" vampires.

    Try looking up the TV series Forever Knight as well (which, coincidentally enough, also featured a vampire nightclub owner, although called Janette...). It was essentially the Highlander TV series but with vampires instead of Immortals, but there were lots of ideas in it for a vampire trying to come to terms with his "evil".

    Alternatively, how about turning it on its head and having your vampire protagonist (the one who preys on humans, kills, etc.) believe that his/her ideas/morals/ethics are "good" and that the vampire he meets (or creates) who believes in not harming humans is the "evil" one. I love the idea that someone who is described as "evil" doesn't normally think of himself as "evil" at all - he believes that the things he is doing are "good".
     
  16. CSwolery
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    Wait, you're describing oranges and saying their apples. I never said the old myths didn't establish vampires as nocturnal, they clearly did. But there's nothing that ever indicated sunlight was actually harmful to them. Every known nocturnal creature is capable of going out into the sunlight without bursting into flames. It's not their bag, but they can do it. Fatal sunlight came out of Nosferatu, and nowhere else. Besides, I think the concept is stupid and dare I say it, cruel. So I'm altering it, playing it straight, and going back to an earlier tradition, all at once.
     
  17. DBock
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    A vampire that actually is a murderous fiend that actually drinks human blood. Getting so tired of the happy go lucky vampires that just want to fit in. If you are thousands of years old I doubt you care about current 'trends'. For a good reference check out the short story --- The Fall by D. Lynn Smith.
     
  18. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    You don't like sparkly and angsty bloodsuckers? Heretic!
     
  19. StrangerWithNoName
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    StrangerWithNoName Longobard duke

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    Ehi, they're better than the Wall Street speculators!
     
  20. CSwolery
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    Well, if you're thousands of years old, maybe...but if you're 28 years old and have been turned for less than a year, it's a much different story. Here me out: Young, unwilling vampires I'm not taking them as teenage outcasts. They're ghosts to a degree. Theresa was turned against her will having accomplished none of her life goals, which are painfully mundane: love, children, a nice car, destroying Goldman Sacs by hacking into their computers and embezzling their billions into the far winds of cyberspace because of their immoral business practices...Max was turned as a child and never got a chance to grow up (and once he learned to possess adults, he became a hopeless sex addict). Miriam didn't get to raise her son Jonah, and even having his friendship when he was an adult, he died not knowing she was his mother. William feels like a violent parasite. And truth be told, any young vampire that ISN'T angsty is a huge red flag because it means they are probably Nietzschean Wannabes:

    And have Masquerade Violation written all over them. This is why the Cam has very strict laws about just whom may be embraced. See?
     
  21. CSwolery
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    Hmmm....

    Well, here's the way I look at it: in order for vampires to have true moral dilemma, there has to be a realistic moral option for them. It's not morally wrong for a vampire to drink human blood if only human blood will sustain them. If I'm gonna do vampires, I'm gonna do them MY WAY. And that means that they can, and not always are, be functional members of society. If there's anything I learned from Masquerade, it's that vampires can be total monsters without ever mentioning the blood sucking. And my vamps are no pansies. In the second chapter, the city leader drains a vampire hunter dry in front of Theresa, then has him skinned for a bear-skin like throw rug and offers the vampires a minor favor for the best ceramic apple to stick in the hunter's mouth. There are sparkly vampires...these are not sparkly vampires.
     

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