Who Owns the Vampire?

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Note: Originally posted Thursday, April 26, 2012

To my knowledge, Bram Stoker’s Dracula was the first ever vampire story. Since its publication in the late 1800s, many other authors have taken the original seeds of Mr Stoker’s wild imagination and run with them for their own purpose, remolding his character, over and over again. Anne Rice made her name in the literary world with The Vampire Chronicles, and rightly so–she very much deserves the many accolades she’s received for the success of her works (her collection resides proudly on my bookshelves). Lestat is one of those characters I wish I’d created. I imagine it is the same for a songwriter who hears a perfect melody and bows to the maestro, kicking themselves saying, “now, why didn’t I think of that?”

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Among others, for me, the same could also be said about Stephenie Meyer. Yes, I admit it… I love the Twilight series. The depth of love and the sheer hopelessness the main characters endured drew me right in. How could I not fall in love with Edward Cullen and his Edwardian ways? And if I start on the intricacy that is Jacob Black, I could be here all night. I’ve read the series four times, and to this day I’m still on the fence between “Team Edward” and “Team Jacob”. I think there needs to be a third category… “Team Edcob!”

Stephenie’s spin on the vampire world opened a whole new set of doors for authors. It not only brought a new take on the time-honored vampire preconception, but it also brought a new young audience to the genre. I love Stephenie’s writing voice and style. If you haven’t read The Host, I highly recommend it. She makes a story flow so easily it’s a pleasure to read. She also has the ability to touch heart strings–I went through several boxes of tissues whilst reading New Moon and Eclipse.

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There are many other authors who have done justice to Mr Stoker, too many to name here, but for some reason, Ms Meyer seems to cop the most flack. Another of my all-time favourite authors once said, “Anyone can write a vampire story. The idea is already there.” As much as I admire the talent and originality of said author, the comment pissed me off a little. My first thought, was they may have been a tad jealous of the hype Twilight caused, especially after it exploded when the movies were released, but this author is highly successful and has stood the test of time, and in my eyes had no reason to be envious. But it got me thinking…

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Authors have been taking others’ ideas for centuries,twisting them and making them their own. When a new sci-fi/alien story, a new crime story, a new superhero or angel tale, etc. is released, people don’t usually criticise the creator for building on an idea already thought of–so why do the vamps get such a bad rap?

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This topic has been on my mind as I’ve been working on a vamp story of my own. I found myself more nervous about writing this particular story than any other, because I expect the public critique will be harder on me, simply because it revolves around vampires. I’ve tried to be consciously aware and careful that what I’ve read on the subject doesn’t bleed into my own rendition, and it’s been more difficult than it sounds. I find it much harder to play with a theme which has been done so many times before. I know my story will inevitably be compared to those who have gone before me, and that’s some scary shit for a new author to get their head around. I can only hope my version will be judged on a stand-alone basis, and my fingernails are up to the challenge should it ever be published.

Comments transposed from original blog…

Mia Ryan: Loved this post! And I agree, Team Edcob all the way!! lol

Paige Thomas: Thanks, Mia!

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