Author of Paranormal Romance/Urban Fantasy
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Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What makes a vampire?

A pair of fangs does not a vampire make.  Neither does pale skin or an aversion to garlic or any other myriad physical traits that vampires have been ascribed with over the years.  I’ve read far too many vampire tales where the bloodsucker in question relied on the physical to convey “otherness.”  I mean really, how much are you going to stand out if you flipping sparkle in daylight or burst into flame at the touch of the sun’s rays?  While having distinguishing physical characteristics that make your vampires different from their human counterparts is all well and good, there has to be more.

Do my vampires have fangs?  You bet.  And they’re self-conscious about them around humans.  Do they have pale skin.  Yep.  They’re creatures of the night.  Is that what makes them vampires?  Not a chance.  It is their life experience and their actions that define them.  Otherwise they are no different from the humans that visit nightclubs decked out in dental-grade fangs and bad hair dye jobs.

Imagine what it would be like to live 300+ years.  Think of the history you’d have to have seen in that time, the people you would have known, loved and lost.  That sense of timelessness makes a vampire.  Having to live with humans as your source of sustenance, preying on someone that is what you once were, that makes a vampire.  Dealing with the secrets, guilt (or lack thereof) and, yes, hunger are what make vampires  interesting, appealing and even terrifying.  Not the fangs - though they do make for a wicked smile.


Lorelei said...

Exactly. And they would devise some way to amend all the problems of getting a meal. My head vampire, Tremayne--who is so rich he can afford it--actually pays the donors, who can choose to give intraveniously, or get a nice orgasm for their trouble. thus providing for his underlings nourishment and a place out of the sun to stay in his luxury hotel on the Magnificent Mile in Chicago.

My vampires don't sparkle, but they have a very faint heartbeat, and holy water does burn, and a wooden stake through the heart can kill them. They have to be vulnerable to something. Right?

Sara Furlong-Burr said...

Well said. Nothing kills me worse than those who dress the part but don't have the mentality to pull it off. It's just like Halloween: All show no substance.

Thanks for the blog comment. I'm glad the links helped you out. Synopses are the devil. ;-)