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.