1. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    Should I really use the word "vampire"?

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Sundowner, Jun 21, 2015.

    I've got two reasons for thinking that maybe I shouldn't. I mean, of course, people will mention the term here and there, because otherwise that would just be avoiding the obvious. But I think, as the "primary term", I might want to use something else.

    The first reason is, people like avoiding cliches and adding a sense of elegance to thinks by avoiding the use of the actual word of it. Some examples are Shiki where they call vampires "Shiki" (meaning "Corpse Demon"), which a vampire got from a book from an author they admired. Another example would be The Walking Dead with how it avoids the term "zombies" by calling them "walkers". I'm not a fan of the series, but I admired that touch.

    Another reason is, I think the term is too romantic. When my story starts, the only people who really know about vampires are people who dedicate themselves to killing them. I don't think they'd humble their enemies as much as to call them "vampires". Vampirism is a real illness that they want to keep contained so nobody finds out and wants to become immortal themselves. So I really doubt they'd want to use such an endearing term. I thought about calling them "infected" or something, but it's too generic. I don't even have a name for the virus. And of course something like "blood-suckers" just sounds weird. I do want it to be cute, like "Shiki". Just not explicitly "vampire". I was already sort of avoiding the term by having people just say "they're sick" or "I'm sick", which I think works really well, as it avoids the term but doesn't really go out of it's way to actually avoid the term. It's a very delicate balancing act, I think.

    So, given this information, my question is, what do you think a good name would be?
     
  2. RachHP
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    RachHP Contributing Member

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    Although the thread title presents it as a question, the impression I got from reading your post is that you don't want to call them vampires. You admire the renaming of Zombies to 'walkers' and you recognise 'vampire' wouldn't be in keeping with your characters, so I'd say it's not really a question - don't call them vampires...

    As for what to call them:
    I'd pick a work that describes an element of the disease/vampirism and use that. Personally, I'd probably go another step and see if that word was cooler in a different language (and lend that heritage to the fictional scientist who 'discovered' the illness)
    E.g. 'Hungry' in French is faim. Doctor Jean Luc first wrote a paper on Le Faim and the title was bastardised, so those with the disease became known as the famished.

    Other words/titles as starting points (random google translating going on)
    the sharp/la forte
    Pijn (pain in dutch)
    jager (hunter in dutch)
    venator (hunter in latin)
    kehle (throat in german)
    fyt (throat in albanian)

    :)
     
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  3. Mocheo Timo
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    Mocheo Timo Active Member

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    I agree with @RachHP , don't call them vampires. You seem eager enough to bring your own name for those creatures. I do suggest though, that you compare your creatures with something known to the reader, be it a vampire or a zombie or whatever. Specially if you give them a foreign name.
     
  4. DeadMoon
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    DeadMoon Contributing Member Contributor

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    One of my favorite movies "Near Dark" was a movie about Vampire and them surviving. It was obvious what they were but it was never mentioned in the movie of DVD cover. Until the "special edition" blu rye came out and some dumb ass added the word Vampire to the back of the box... Personally I liked it better not being told what they were.
     
  5. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm puzzled by the whole question because I don't see "vampire" as a pretty, flattering, nice word, and apparently you do. To me, a vampire is a creature that feeds off the life of others. It's the ultimate arrogant, evil selfishness. If I called a narcissistic parent, say, an "emotional vampire who feeds off their children" you can be assured that I would not mean that in a complimentary sense.
     
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  6. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    I was just considering that, @RachHP . Foreign names and words do have a touch of mysticism to them, considering not many readers will be familiar with it. I don't know if it counts as foreign, but I recently found the term "revenant" and I think it'll be good enough for what I'm trying to do. Though I do also like the term "faim", might see what I can do with that, maybe call it "Faim's disease" or something to that effect. Thanks a bunch.

    @DeadMoon , I do agree entirely avoiding the term can be a good direction, I feel like it isn't that realistic. The way I see it, if it talks like a duck and walks like a duck, at least someone's going to call it a duck, even if they're just mocking it. Though I am certainly going to avoid using the term for most of the book for sure.

    @ChickenFreak , yes, I agree I used a poor choice of words there. What I'm saying is, by the time this book takes place, Dracula and other romanticized pieces of fiction had happened, and the gothic horror subgrenre of the vampire genre had captured people's hearts and gained their interest. It would be in the hunter's best interest to use a different term for vampires so A: they're not called insane by thinking vampires exist and B: not let people know they exist so they can actively seek them out (either getting themselves killed or becoming a part of the problem). Just my way of looking at it.
     
  7. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    Just ... whatever you do, don't google "Euphemisms for Vampire" unless you're ready to read instead a lot of euphemisms for menstruation.
     
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  8. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Give the group as a whole a name.

    We don't refer to ISIS as terrorists even though they are, because it is broad term.
     
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  9. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    VISIS. I like it.
     
  10. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    Doesn't exactly roll off the tongue.
     
  11. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    It does if you're reading it with the same accent that Dracula himself has.

    "VISIS vants to suck your blood. HA-HA-HA!"
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2015
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  12. No-Name Slob
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    No-Name Slob Contributing Member Supporter Contributor

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    OP - I like the idea of calling them something vague which leaves it open to the interpretation of the reader. I like that you refer to them as "sick." Perhaps something like "sicklings" would work?
     
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  13. Aaron Smith
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    Aaron Smith Contributing Member Contributor

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    The wicked.
     
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  14. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    I personally don't mind what you call them. Just don't make them sparkly, ffs.

    :blech:
     
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  15. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    You can't go too flowery or esoteric in your Not-A-Vampire's name, because using some exotic variant of the term still maintains an air of mystery and intrigue.
    If a scientist is treating it like a virus, they'd use a term like "lyssavirus-hemophagia", and the scientist's assistants would call their subjects something short and sweet, like "biters" or "drinkers". Carry this forward to a scene where a small town sheriff has to stop frightened townsfolk from going angry mob on someone the suspect is "one of them filthy biters!"
     
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  16. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Revenant to me sounds strong and complimentary.

    What's your novel's title? Can you borrow something from that?

    Have you considered the attributes of the vampire to choose a name from there, as they did in Walking Dead (==> walkers coz most of the time that's all those lame, pansy ass zombies did meh. Scary as a puddle)?

    eg:
    • most of the time, Vampires sleep (ie all day yeah?) so call them sleepers?
    • They suck blood, so call them suckers (well no but get the idea?)
    • desanguinators - Sangas (means sandwich in Australia so maybe not) Desangs?
    • Exsanguinators Exes? Also ties back into a cross motif which is typically associated with vampire lore, or Exsas?
    • Fangers?
    • Dessi? (short for dessicated) Watch the Indian crossover of Desi, however
    • Never get sun, so call them Palers / Palies / Paleys?
    • etc
     
  17. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    The colloquial "Nosferatu" coined by Stoker is actually a mistranslation. What he probably heard was "nosphorus" which simply means "unclean".
     
  18. ManOrAstroMan
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    ManOrAstroMan Magical Space Detective Contributor

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    @Jack , then again, Nosferatu does have the sound of an East- European localization of the word, so it could have been deliberate.
    And did Stoker even use that term in the book? I was under the impression it originated with the German filmmaker who copied the Dracula plot.
     
  19. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    The title is "Black Rose" which is more of a pun on the main character's name, so I don't think I can get anything from there.
    I like the idea of all those nouns and verbs with a y suffix, but for some reason I don't feel like it fits in this setting. The "hunters" are what give them their name, so for some reason, I guess I think they would be a little more professional about it, if that makes sense. I guess sort of what Jack was (indirectly) saying by calling them "unclean" instead of something cuter. Who knows, maybe I can get the word "killer" from a cool language like German or something and use that. Though all google translate gives me is "killer" and "morder" and those are a little obvious. "Parasite" would also be cool but I don't like any of the German translations for that either. Anyone know any good words like that?

    The thing that seems to stand out most in my book is their red eyes, their eyes turn red after they get infected and they even subtly glow. But "red eyes" or "demon eyes", or really anything with "eyes" in the title sounds a bit too quirky for me.
     
  20. Jack Asher
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    Jack Asher Wildly experimental Contributor

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    No, Van Helsing uses the term when floating the idea that there's a vampire around and attributes it to...some other researcher.

    Wikipedia also suggest "necuratu" for unclean/undead.
     
  21. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Hmm ... bleeders maybe? Everything else I thought of had already been suggested, hahah. Contaminated? I feel like I'm stealing that from something else though.

    I'd consider the background of the hunters, like what culture they originated in, and look up stuff in whatever their old native language would have been. If there are folkloric vampires in your setting, see what stories that culture has about said blood-drinkers that the hunters might've drawn off of in naming them.
     
  22. Sundowner
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    Sundowner Member

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    Ooh, I don't hate the sound of "bleeders".

    That's a good idea, I probably should focus on the hunter background. Only one shows up in my story, so I didn't put much thought into the whole operation, I guess they're kind of like an old Western Europe gang, which is why I liked "Revenent" so much when I came upon it. I'm not utilizing Europe's vampire folklore, but I am referencing it.
    I don't think the English-speaking parts of the world ever really called them anything else besides "vampires", I'm not sure what they called them before they invented the term, though. I suppose there is that thing about people thinking tuberculosis (or "consumption" as they called it) was a vampire eating them alive. Though, I can't seem to find what they actually did call them, if anything.
     
  23. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    What happens to the vampires when a Hunter kills one?
     
  24. Sundowner
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    What, like, to the corpse? Well, to kill one you have to fully remove the heart (got that from Aztec culture but apparently they did that with accused Revenants too). After that, nothing, it acts like a regular human corpse.
    This is my problem, I didn't leave a lot of room to make them very distinguishable from humans, all I really have are the red eyes. I mean, I did make up a whole bunch of technical stuff about them, like their digestive systems being modified so they can only consume liquids and stuff, but visually, they're just people.
     
  25. Aaron DC
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    Aaron DC Contributing Member

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    Ah ok. In Blade they kind of explode.

    Can you vampires transform? Mists could be another name. Any secret super powers?
     

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