1. beehoney

    beehoney Member

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    How can I find a Vampire story idea that doesn’t sound like Twilight?

    Discussion in 'Plot Development' started by beehoney, Dec 9, 2017.

    Hello Community,


    Twilight, Vampire Academy or House of night—there are a lot of clichés in every vampire (or fantasy) YA books. So, it’s ok to write that they drink blood, can fly, etc.—because the folklore says it too.

    I mean the clichés which are in every vampire story. You know, that they are sexy, can control elements, etc. I have no problem with them. But why can’t you write that vampires can also be common or ugly. Why can they control the four elements—without logic explain!

    And yeah! At least the academy: Ok, it’s cool that this species has its own Hogwarts. But either there is Queen Bee with her crew who bully our hero or it’s happily ever after.

    Oh Yeah! Don’t forget the badass hero.

    So, I believe the vampire genre sucks because authors use these clichés every time. How can I avoid them or explain them logically? In other words: How can I be unique? Do you have more clichés?


    Bye,

    Beehoney
     
  2. Trish

    Trish Damned if I do and damned if I don't Contributor

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    Write a story about common or ugly vampires? That seems the easiest solution. At least they won't be sparkly.
     
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    leaving aside the puns about vampires sucking (too easy)

    No one can tell you how to be unique - by definition you need to work that out for yourself, but essentially you've answered you own question don't use the cliches.

    (you might want to check out interview with the vampire by Ann Rice )
     
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Also bear in mind that the reason Holywood makes its vampires sexy is because ugly and boring doesnt sell films.. writers have a greater lee way but there has to be something interesting about them, if they are ugly boring characters who do nothing unusual of note your book will also be boring
     
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  5. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    There is a difference between a trope and a cliche. Tropes are just things. They aren't bad just because you see them in multiple places. They are part of our collective consciousness; we already understand them so the writer doesn't need to go to great lengths to explain what is going on with them. It's like having a cowboy with a black hat. We know that he's the bad guy, we understand what the trope means, but it's not a cliche. There isn't really a hard line where cliche begins but I think it's reasonable to say that a cliche is a cliche when it's been done without thought and without meaning, where it almost terminates interest instead of creating it. It's a fine line though and often what to you may seem a cliche is something that the audience of a specific genre really likes. Why is the male love interest in a romance novel always sexy? Well, because the reader wants to drool over some beefcake.

    To get more specific about vampires; why are vampires always sexy? Well, they aren't. You can check out Nosferatu as a perfect example of non-sexy vampires. Dracula isn't sexy all the time either. But the thing is that vampires are, well, philosophically sexy. They are all about penetrating young maidens. Their mythos is all about sex. And no, that doesn't need them to be physically attractive but when you take someone like Edward from Twilight who is a love interest, and a sexy blood sucking being, well, the book doesn't work so well if Bella doesn't find him attractive, you know?

    You can have ugly vampires if you like, you can do all kinds of interesting things with them. Personally I like the Legacy Of Kain vampire mythos which is interesting and unique and they aren't sexy at all. But if you want a vampire to be your romantic lead then the reader needs to think he's sexy; they need to be attracted to him themselves. If you make him ugly then it'll be very hard for them to watch your lead character batting her eyelashes at him.

    It's ok to be unique, and some things are cliches. You just need to be aware of what the audience is getting out of their cliches too, you know?
     
  6. beehoney

    beehoney Member

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    @big soft moose Its sound so easy to avoid clichés. Ok, the romantic subplot stuff can stay away. But when I write that they drink blood then can I write why? For example, like in the movie Blade they drink blood because they have few haemoglobin. Or they died through UV radiation.
     
  7. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    Right, exactly. Why is the hero always so interesting? Because he's the hero! Someone has to be interesting or it's not worth writing a book!
     
  8. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    Well that's up to you isn't it? But in general I'd stay away from the science. Unless it's a big deal (in Blade it was; they were trying to cure vampirism) then just let that be a trope. If it makes a huge deal to who they are and how they act then explain it but it should be for story purposes not just for background decoration, or for the sake of just breaking a cliche. It's a bit cheap to say "Well my vampires are different because they need to suck blood because blah blah blah" and then have that effect nothing in the plot and they spend the whole book just drinking blood like everyone else.
     
  9. X Equestris

    X Equestris Contributor Contributor

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    As LostThePlot said, some of what you're talking about here are just tropes. If you want to avoid the ones that are cliche, it might be helpful to go back to the original folklore about vampires. Modern depictions are more influenced by Dracula, Carmilla, and the like than folkloric vampires.
     
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  10. beehoney

    beehoney Member

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    @LostThePlot Why should ugly characters be boring? Just because they don't look attractive? Is Disney's movie The Hunchback from Notre Dame bad because they have an ugly character? Its the character itself, not that he/she look sexy. And yeah! May the explain its just an accessory but it helps to understand the world and the story itself.
     
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  11. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    You need to have an original idea (and i can't give you one or it won't be original any more but as an example)

    Maybe you have a society of vampires where vampirism is normal and being human is what makes you a freak ... ergo its the humans that are sexy and mysterious.

    Or may be you have a vampire version of master chef all focused on doing different things with blood

    Or you have a dating agency for vampires

    Or you have an MC who is human but has a vampirism fetish (its a thing) one day he meets a real vampire and...

    Or...

    But as I said you need to come up with it yourself - brainstorm, write down a bunch of ideas, don't judge whether they are good or bad, then see what you've got
     
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  12. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    I didn't say that ugly characters are boring. I just said that they don't make good love interests, at least not for the casual reader. It's fine to have characters who aren't sexy, absolutely fine. Even romantic leads don't have to be gorgeous. But you can't write someone who's ugly or disfigured and expect the audience to immediately understand what the other party sees in them. That's basically why romantic leads are sexy; because the reader understands why someone else is just staring at them, and they share some of that desire. It lines up what the reader thinks and what the characters think. And people generally like stories about sexy people, we like sexy people.

    That doesn't mean that unattractive or even disfigured characters can't be written, but they can't be written as if they were sexy. They are their own characters who have to be built in their own way. You can make an ugly character who we sympathize with, absolutely you can. You can make them as interesting as you want them to be, you can even get them involved in some romance if you want. But it won't be the same kind of romance. You can't have someone drop their panties just at the sight of him. They need to get to know him, see his admirable qualities, understand who the real him is and grow to love him for that.

    The thing with attractive characters is that they are easy to write. The author doesn't need to explain so much. And the reader likes sexy people, books are escapism and wish fulfillment so sexiness is, well, easy and expected. It's what people already like and want. You don't have to be a good writer to make a sexy guy and a sexy girl sex each other up; it explains itself. That doesn't mean romance writers are bad for having sexy characters (I am a romance writer myself) but it is the default for a reason.

    You can have an ugly character do anything you want. It's your character. Especially if you don't want them to be romantic then there's nothing that it can stop them doing. But you have to build the character from the ground up. You can't lean on the audience being predisposed to like them, or feeling that this person is just like them. You have to work on building up that side of them when, most of the time, their looks doesn't really matter all that much, especially if they aren't being romantic.

    And that's kinda why we end up with default sexy characters. Because that's not what matters about them. It's everything else about them that the writer wants to focus on and talk about and develop. So they just keep a guy being ruggedly handsome and then move on to more interesting things knowing the reader will come with them. They could make him hideous, but what is that achieving except making it harder to get the audience to like him?
     
  13. Laurin Kelly

    Laurin Kelly Contributor Contributor

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    GODDAMMIT MOOSE DON'T GIVE ME ANY IDEAS I'M ALREADY DISTRACTED ENOUGH
     
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  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Under the fang ...
     
  15. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    Honestly, if you want to write non-sexy vampires then build that into your mythos. Make it so that vampires who drink blood stay forever young and forever gorgeous but those who don't rot age and rot and fall apart. That would set you up with a hideous vampire but who we can clearly see is a much better person than the forever pretty sparkling ones. Maybe your vampire is struggling to continue surviving; after all vampires need to be stealthy or they get mobbed by villagers with pitchforks. So your vampire is a good person but is facing the choice between drinking blood and surviving or being burned alive by people who can only see him as a monster.

    In this version drinking blood isn't quite a choice, but those who do it a lot and begin to revel in it are losing any sense of their humanity and they are doing it essentially for vanity. Not quite though. Because if they don't drink blood they will eventually rot to nothing anyway. But those who really get into it and bite a new neck every night are twisted and ugly inside, just held together with the blood of innocents.

    This gives you a reason why an ugly character can immediately be sympathetic, and re-casts the attractive ones in a new light. For vampires being sexy isn't something you are born with or that you can work at. For a vampire if you're gorgeous it's because you care about that more than someone else's life. And that sets up an interesting divide for you to work with; a character who chooses to be ugly because he refuses to put his looks over the life of someone he's never even met.

    I'll take my royalty cheque in the mail ;)
     
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  16. beehoney

    beehoney Member

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    @LostThePlot No, I don't think that's bad to write beautiful characters. I find it bad when your whole story is full of sexy vampires and human. I want a story where characters have an individuality. They shouldn't be wrappers who are looking well. That's what I want.
     
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  17. LostThePlot

    LostThePlot Naysmith Contributor

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    All characters should be written that way. There are certainly schlocky, hacky poorly written books where that's not the case, where characters are poorly developed and are pretty to excuse them being so vacant, but that's never good writing no matter what book it's in.

    As long as you develop your characters they will never be cliches no matter what, they will always be individuals. It doesn't matter if other people have done similar ideas, it doesn't even matter if it's something that is just an accepted part of the mythos and has been written poorly a million times. If you write it well it doesn't matter.

    But that is a totally different discussion; it's about how you write not how you create ideas. It's not to do with the vampires if your vampires read like cliches or individuals; it's to do with how you present and develop them.
     
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  18. OJB

    OJB A Mean Old Man Contributor

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    Okay, so here are my thoughts on Vampires, and other mythical creatures. It's hard to bring something new to the table. For vampires, I look towards John Carpenter's Vampires.

    Now, the vampire in that story isn't really that original, but the vampire hunters are. Before that movie, all the vampire hunters I'd read/seen were priests, detectives, a group of high school kids, etc. In 'Vampires,' the hunters are [Edit note] bikers. I just loved it because while it was gritty, I have to admit that if vampire hunters 'really existed,' that would be the type of person they likely would be.

    Sometimes it is not the mythical creature we should focus all our attention on, but the people that interact with them and -most importantly- how they interact with them.

    Edit: Just realized the OP is 16. My example was for adults only. Anyone who has seen JC's Vampires will know what I am talking about.
     
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  19. Devlin Blake-Novel Coach

    Devlin Blake-Novel Coach New Member

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    I'm going to make some suggestions and give you homework.

    Read:
    • The Fat Vampire by Johnny B Truant. It's about a fat man who becomes a vampire, and now that he's undead, he's stuck being fat forever.

    Watch:
    • Tales from the darkside- the reluctant vampire. He's a security guard.
    • Netherbeast incorporated - Dilbert meets dracula
    • What we do in the Shadows- it's like the Real World, only with vampires


    Check out the following vampire myths
    • Chinese vampires. They drink Chi instead of blood.
    • Chedpies; the vampire witch who only attacks men


    If you're looking for something a little weirder than the typical vampire tropes, you'll love these.
     
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  20. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Benevolent Ochlocrat Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Brilliant movie
     
  21. John Calligan

    John Calligan Contributor Contributor

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    My favorite novel last year was the 5th or 6th publishesd work by a best selling author. The MC was a cliche Mary Sue, unique and good at everything for no reason, and I loved it. The book was great. It has lots of fans.

    So, I think vampire stories are full of cliches, because that’s what lots of people like.
     
  22. Privateer

    Privateer Senior Member

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    If you want to avoid vampire clichés, try going back to basics and writing about actual strigoi instead of Anne Ricey, Diet Dracula stuff that's been done to death in modern anglophone media.
     
  23. beehoney

    beehoney Member

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    Hello Writing-Community,


    Finally! I get a chance to write my story. Of course, I was able to write my story before this. But I have school, duh. Now the stuff is that I should write a blog. However, offline while I have computer application. (Maybe when you like the stuff, I create a real one.)

    So, I decided to write a complete story about vampires. My problem is: When I put “vampire”, “school/academy” and “teens” in one sentence, I can bet someone says, “Urgh! You stole it from Twilight, Vampire Academy, etc.”.

    But how can I create a unique/ likable story with these things?

    Of course, I thought a little bit about it. But every story idea I had sounds either like Twilight or Vampire Academy. How do I avoid this?


    Please give me some tips. But the idea must sound familiar and new.

    Nice weekend,

    beehoney
     
  24. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    I actually have a longer spiel about this, but the basic point is that The Lion King sounds like Hamlet when all you've gotten to is "a prince must avenge his father, the king, who was assassinated by a brother seeking the throne for himself" :)

    What else is there in Twilight and Vampire Academy that you aren't interested in writing yourself?
     
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2018
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  25. Mink

    Mink Contributor Contributor

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    Make it darker and less emotionally/physically abusive?

    Vampires, unless you want to get back to the very dark origins of vampires in different mythos, don't come in many flavors in the modern world. If your heart is set on vampires, teens, and a school my advice would to switch it up a little. What are Twilight and Vampire Academy missing? How are they same? For instance, Twilight is nothing more than a Stockholm-esque story where an abuse victim falls for her though it's supposed to be a romantic love story with some vampires thinking they're better than others. Vampire Academy brings about different castes and allows for more social points to be brought up. Overall, both are rather tame and on the lighter side of things; neither really gets dark and gritty and the vampires really are just people who have no inkling of what original vampires were.

    You could get truly dark and gritty where vampires are just that: vampires. They're not what you would want to cuddle up with at night. If you want romance, you can make it more Anne Rice-esque than something that's depicted in most YA vampire novels.
     
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