1. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    'Our vampires are different'

    Discussion in 'Character Development' started by Shbooblie, Oct 22, 2015.

    My MC in my first attempt at writing has a fictional disease that is similar to vampirism. It is written in first person from his perspective.
    As it's a bit of a thorny issue he's not exactly forthcoming with details about his affliction- the idea being that he gradually lowers his barriers as he gets closer to a new person in his life.

    So his disease will make him need blood, be allergic to the sun, prevents him from dying unless he suffers damage to the brain and causes him to not age. That I know.

    Now I am quite shallow in that I like vampires to have the fangs, but as hes "not a vampire" it makes no sense that he could grow fangs. I'd thought that as the virus injects its own DNA into his cells it could change the coding so that his teeth could grow like a rodents and then he could file them down every few days so they don't draw too much attention. Basically this post is just me thinking out loud(and perhaps thinking a bit too much) and asking should I give him fangs or is that stepping into the traditional ' supernatural' territory?
     
  2. KaTrian
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    KaTrian A foolish little beast. Staff Supporter Contributor

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    If he has a disease that prevents him from dying and keeps him forever young, isn't that kind of stepping to the supernatural territory already? Granted, I don't know much about this kind of stuff, but how does the disease (virus) keep rejuvenating the body? If you've got a scientific explanation to that, I'm sure you can sell a scientific explanation to the fangs as well.

    Maybe you're overthinking it... Maybe you could have a mix of science and supernatural, after all?
     
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  3. Midge23
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    Midge23 Member

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    Hi.

    Whether you add the fangs or not, when you have the need for blood, needing to avoid the sun, and being hard to kill, your 'vampires' don't sound much different from any other.

    You may have a non-supernatural cause, but if it walks like duck and quacks like a duck, the reader will see a vampire duck (now there's a great story!).

    I think if you are going to go with a disease (virus/bacteria etc.) that creates something like a vampire, why not let him have fangs. He has most of everything else. His condition could then explain where the vampire myths originated from.

    As always, it is what he does, and why, that will make your story.

    Dave
     
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  4. Aire
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    Aire Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Sounds like a cross between a vampire and a zombie - since brain damage is the #1 way of killing zombies.

    The unfortunate thing is, is most of those traits you list are what makes a vampire. Fangs are, in a way, to explain a vampire's ease of eating see as without fangs to pierce the skin they can "suck" on someone's neck all night - all the victim will get is a giant hickey.



    As for the concept of a disease doing this. What disease? Where did it come from? You say injected - was the guy messing around with something? Is he the vampire version of Spiderman?

    These are all the sorts of questions you're going to have to answer or at least cover in your book to keep it away from totally supernatural because as Midge23 said, a duck is a duck is a duck. Without you guiding the reader away from the typical vampire theme - supernatural - they're just going to splat supernatural right on top of your "not so normal" vampire.
     
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  5. Aple
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    Aple Member

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    Don't all vampires start via disease?

    It sounds interesting as it's from his perspective.

    But a rose by any other name is still a rose.
     
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  6. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    The fangs are a logical physiological adaptation to suit the dietary needs of a vampire. Fangs pierce the skin, opening the blood vessels, and he drinks what comes out. If the virus is already preventing him from aging, clearly it's already significantly rewriting his DNA, so it wouldn't be a stretch to say it gives him fangs, too.
    If, however, you don't want to go that far, you could play up the psychological aspect. Maybe, instead of biting people, he cuts them with knives.
     
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  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I'm with Aple. He's a vampire. Totes. As a reader, the first time you mention either in the narrative or somewhere in dialogue that he's not a vampire, exactly I'm going to get very frustrated with your story. You have described a vampire to a tee and just because you change one minor thing here or there, doesn't make him not a vampire. How he comes to be one doesn't really matter. Many writers who tackle the vampire trope try to come up with novel origins, be they supernatural or not. Whether they be Anne Rice's vampire-vampires who owe their origin to an original possession of a female pharaoh by an intangible spirit, or the hemophages of Mila Jovovich's hyper-color-saturated Ultraviolet film-universe who are also virus caused, or the castrated, sparkly, boy-band vampires of Twilight... they are all vampires.

    Give him fangs, don't give him fangs, it's all the same.

    The question I'm asking is what is the purpose of his situation in the story? What are you trying to tell us with this? Vampires are traditionally used to speak to us about our Jungian "shadow" and about our limbic selves, our emotive, lustful, hedonistic, unrestrained selves. What is your dude trying to tell me?
     
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  8. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    What you have is a vampire.

    I've been fond of watching the red roses bloom in private. It more or less reflects the Jungian shadow without out-and-out vampirism. The concept of a vampire, done well that is, is simply a clever manifestation of the darkness borne of certain existences. It is a pity that most vampires are males with unchecked desires, yet manage to keep themselves concealed to everyone except their prey - I think female vampires would do a better job in the first place.
     
  9. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thanks guys everyone's raised really valid points here and this is exactly what I was looking for So thank you!
    Basically my story is based on my opinion that if vampires were real the condition wouldn't be glamourous and the vampires themselves wouldn't be upper class and live amazing lives. It would be dirty, and the people would be sick and they wouldn't necessarily know other people like them or live in covens etc.
    So - I am writing as my MC so in his head hes not a vampire because they just don't exist full stop, so in his head hes thinking that there must be a scientific explanation for this i.e a virus. Of course there is none but I've tried my best to make one up in a similar way he would have done.

    @KaTrian - I've basically made it similar to the rabies virus except it attaches itself to a persons brain stem keeping the brain in constant animation despite injury/disease. Just as @ManOrAstroMan suggested it would inject its own DNA into a person and cause replication of cells in certain areas (like the teeth) and ceases bodily functions to such a level that it has prevented ageing (like no free radicals, skin wont lose elasticity etc) That's just cause I'm shallow and want a decent looking, young MC.

    @Aire - He's kind of like a vampire/zombie hybrid cause without the blood his body just rots. I'm just sick of vampires who seem to know everything about everything. I as the writer know where it's come from and there are some hints dropped but my MC as far as he is concerned just woke up like that after a really nasty illness.

    @Wreybies - My MC says something about how he is aware of the basic elements of vampirism and myths and such but he refuses to accept that title because monsters just can't exist in this world - there has to be a scientific reason for everything - Is this enough of an explanation to avoid using the 'v' word or will this just annoy people?

    I think my dude's being used to demonstrate that no man is an island and the bonds you form with people can be ones that change your life in unexpected ways (good or bad). It's not really about power or hedonism, and it's not really being used as a metaphor for drugs or anything like that either as I've seen it done in the past.
    I think it's really just about not fitting in and how surrounding yourself with people you love makes you forget that.

    That's a really long winded way to say - Thanks guys, the fangs can stay! :superagree:
     
  10. Aire
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    Aire Banned Sock-Puppet

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    :superlaugh:Shame those disco-ball vampires seemed the next best thing to sliced bread - books, millions of dollars, and some rather shoddy movies.
     
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  11. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    If this is set in a modern world where vampire-based entertainment exists and this character has not been living under a rock his entire life, I will literally explode if he doesn't immediately think he's a vampire when the fangs come in. :wtf:

    *starts vampire dick-measuring contest with you*
     
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  12. Aire
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    Aire Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Maybe it's just me but it sounds remarkably like Warm Bodies, just vamped. I mean Warm Bodies - zombie is loved, comes back to life. Here guy is vampire, yet is "loved" and what lives his life as always?

    And unless the guy is "tripping" - thinks this is just some wacky nightmare due to drugs - how exactly can he not realize the legends / myths of vampires in his world have fangs & drink blood --- he has fangs & needs blood ==== him likewise vampire.
     
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  13. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Haha @Imaginarily. You cracked me up with that crossed out comment.
    It's set in second world war-era Czech Republic (when he gets it) and 2011 USA. I haven't wrote the scene where it first happens because I've re-thought the whole biology business of it all since then but I read that the Czechs do have vampire legends so he would be aware of those, but then he doesn't have typical mythological style attributes like no reflection/crosses hurt them etc. So he will acknowledge what it's like but I want it to be more like "The disease that the legends have come from"

    The thing is it's the word for me, I think 'vampire' and I'm thinking of Dracula and Lestat (or even worse...a certain Edward) and the whole supernatural aspect so I wanted to avoid specifically calling him a vampire just because of those connotations and images. Saying that when the other person finds out (cause you've got to have that scene) they call him that and he doesn't like it and that springs on the whole discussion about reality and monsters yadda yadda.

    @Aire - The whole 'love' thing doesn't change him physically like in Warm Bodies but I do get the similarity, it's just he's got a distraction from the bad bits so it's not the main focus of his life any more.
     
  14. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I actually think this is quite a good idea, especially if the idea of refusing to accept that monsters exist in the real world serves as a tool by which to speak about how we (the every "we") fail or refuse to accept our own monstrousness, because, the truth is that we can all most certainly be monsters and we give ourselves license to do so by not accepting it, by calling it different things, thinking about it in other ways that allow us to ignore or bypass it. We know it's true because we all see the end effect when all this monstrousness adds up, but on the individual level we'd rather be blind to it.
     
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  15. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Yes, that's exactly the point I was going for @Wreybies - Thank you so much.
     
  16. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    @Shbooblie Avoiding using the word "vampire" when by all definitions that is what you have ... will piss people off. I guarantee it. It irks me that you want to write vampires but don't like the word "vampire." I hate Twilight too, but that just motivates me to write my own vampires better. (Not hard to do.)

    As @Midge23 said, if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a god damn duck. Vampire.
     
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  17. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Yeah - you're right. He is a vampire, but he won't refer to himself as one - hopefully I can write it in a way that won't piss people off too much, but I can't please everyone! Because it's him speaking and his thoughts differ to yours or mine, it's he who won't accept what's right in front of him because he just doesn't like it. He doesn't want to acknowledge the truth of the matter because to him it's a bit of a thorny issue.

    I'm trying to write it as a sort of gradual reveal where you find out things are off with him and then there's a scene where it's like right in front of you what the situation is with him and he's kind of forced to address it.
     
  18. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    @Shbooblie -- if you're gonna deny vampirism, that's the only way to do it, I think. Through the character's eyes, having him refuse to accept the obvious truth and aggressively searching for any other explanation. If you simply state in your narrative "He has fangs and needs blood but he's not a vampire I swear" the sound of books angrily being slammed shut will be heard 'round the world.

    Sounds like a solid approach, re: gradual reveal. I wanna read it. :agreed:
     
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  19. Aire
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    Aire Banned Sock-Puppet

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    Vampire Guy: "Hello luv."

    Girlfriend: "Holy sh*t. You have fangs."

    Vampire Guy: "Yes, I know. But I'm not a vampire. Now hold still while I suck your blood."


    Reader: .... wtf. Steps slowly away from strange book where vampires really aren't vampires.
     
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  20. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    @Aire Yes exactly. :rofl:
     
  21. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    @Aire - He files his teeth down every week or so, like how guinea pigs have to gnaw on things to keep their teeth down to a nice manageable length. :supercheeky:

    Vampire Guy: "Hello luv."

    Girlfriend: "Holy sh*t. You're canines are remarkably flat and level to the rest of your teeth, and you have a metal file in your toothbrush holder."

    Vampire Guy: "Yes, I know. I'm not a vampire. Now go to sleep and in 3 days when my teeth are pointy again I'll creep into your room and bite you in a moment of irresponsible weakness." XD

    It's more like him saying "Yes I have fangs and need blood but listen to yourself suggesting I could be a mythical creature...I mean come on, we live in the "real" world here, the real monsters are the people."
    You might get to read it if it turns out it's any good that is (first piece of writing so that remains to be seen). I want to read yours too @Imaginarily :superwink:
     
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  22. Imaginarily
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    Imaginarily Disparu en Mer Contributor

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    Feel free to check out my workshop posts. :whistle:

    And if this guy is a grown-ass man, I (personally) would like to see a little more gravity in his denial. This isn't a thing he could just "Meh you're being ridiculous" off. If you're gonna break that wall, break it.
     
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  23. DefinitelyMaybe
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    DefinitelyMaybe Contributing Member Contributor

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    It's not impossible that genetic changes could make people immortal (barring accidents etc.) We don't know everything about what causes cells and bodies to age. It's thought to be something to do with the telomeres that caps the ends of DNA strands. Cancer cells, such as the Hela strain are effectively immortal. They will reproduce forever, without degrading. A large complex organism such as a human that doesn't age would be much less likely, but fiction allows us to make the unlikely happen.

    A virus can change DNA. Retroviruses (e.g. HIV) have RNA as their genetic material, and once in a host cell, will use reverse transcriptase to synthesise DNA from this RNA. In some cases this DNA will be inserted into the host cell DNA. People are working on using retroviruses to perform gene therapy by creating a retrovirus which will inject beneficial DNA into a living organism's DNA, such as a human's, changing their genetic code.

    Genetic changes could make us act quite different, e.g. teeth that keep growing and a desire for blood. We have no idea what genetic changes could make these changes and maybe it would have to be a LOT of additional DNA added to our genomes. But, in terms of a fictional world, it's not impossible.

    Failing to cast a shadow might be a bit more tricky however.
     
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  24. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    @DefinitelyMaybe - I was watching a documentary the other day on those things you mentioned and they had the cancer cells from years and years ago still functioning living after all those years. It was amazing - gave me some food for thought with what I'm trying to pull off here.

    @Imaginarily - In the real piece of writing he is a lot more philosophical with his denials, that one was just played for laughs. I think I've read one of you're workshop entries already, I need to go and check out your latest one :)
     
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  25. Shbooblie
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    Shbooblie Contributing Member

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    Thanks guys, you've all been really helpful. It's hard when you've got an idea going round and round in your head and cause you're so involved with it personally it's hard to step back and see if what I'm trying to show is actually being shown.

    I feel a little bit more encouraged now and feel like i'm heading on the right path so thank you for your advice everyone!
     
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