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I’ve been doing some research on Vampires–yep, Vampires, thanks to the third book in my Apprentice Angel series. Tentatively titled Unworldly Angel, the plot revolves around a young girl who’s really into *gasp!* Vampires! Something I swore I’d never write about but…never say never, right? Anyway, I started researching Vampires and I kept getting lots and lots and OMG, tons of sites dealing with Stephenie Meyer and her Twilight series. Now, I’ve never read the first word in any of her books but when you’re researching Vampires, the Twilight series is all the rave right now and you can’t get away from it. Seeing all the sites, I couldn’t help but click on a few. The first one I ran across that had me stopping to read was called Reasoning with Vampires where the blogger first read the series then posted about the many mistakes/errors in the books. From the blog:

Before I had any right to dismiss Twihards or criticize the psychologically unhealthy relationship model that Bella Swan and Edward Cullen present, I felt obliged to read the books. So I did. All four novels, one novella, and an incomplete document in portable format.  The content lived down to my expectations, but I was unprepared for how poorly crafted the saga is.

Pretty funny stuff–and boy, I can’t tell you how much I would hate to see my own books held to this kind of scrutiny!

From Reasoning with Vampires, I found another blog, Mark Reads, where the blogger reads books and reviews them chapter by chapter, including the entire Twilight series. Hilarious, so much so I’ve added it to my Favorites list and am slowly, slowly, like I’m savoring every word of every post, working my way through his reviews. Like I said, he doesn’t concentrate solely on the Twilight books but since my chief interest right now is with Vampires, I haven’t clicked on any of the other chapter-by-chapter reviews although I hope I’ll find the time to read them all one day.

Anyway, I’ve made my way through the first two books, Twilight and…uh-oh, can’t remember the title of the second one…Eclipse? No, New Moon. Yeah, that’s it, New Moon. After the last chapter of New Moon, there’s a post entitled “Mark Reads ‘The Story Behind the Writing of New Moon’” from Ms. Meyer’s own website. And it was in that post that I finally–finally!–found something I disagree with Mark about–sort of–and OMG, I hate to say it, agree with Ms. Meyers–um, partly, anyway.

She writes:

…I am a character writer. I write my stories because of my characters; they are the motivation and the reward. The difficulty with strong, defined characters, though, is that you can’t make them do something that is out of character. They have to be who they are and, as a writer, they’re often out of your control.

Mark’s response:

WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT. There are few times you have ever kept your characters consistent. May I remind you of the bizarre, unnatural things you’ve made Jacob do? You are ABSOLUTELY in control of your characters! THEY ARE NOT REAL PEOPLE.

The thing is, I understand exactly what Ms. Meyer is saying. She has a point about strong characters being the “motivation and reward”–and I have to add that was beautifully expressed!–and she’s also right when she says “you can’t make them do something that is out of character.” Except, according to Mark, Ms. Meyer manages to do that a lot. And judging from Mark’s chapter-by-chapter reviews of the first two books in the series, I have to say Ms. Meyer’s characters are definitely inconsistent.

And if they are, that’s all on Ms. Meyer. There are times when my characters do what they want instead of what I want. Yes, characters, as Mark says, are not real people but they can certainly drive the story down a different road than the one the author had in mind. And I know Mark is talking more about keeping the characters consistent, which is a must, but I have to say I’m with Ms. Meyer on the strong characters “are often out of control.” Witness Betty Sue in Storm Shadows. I almost didn’t finish that book because she was so adamant about taking the story in a completely unexpected directionand it’s not always easy to force a character to do something they don’t want to do. They may not be real but when you’re the author, they are very real to you and sometimes it’s impossible to argue with them.

But, and this is a big BUT, if they’re acting out of character, it’s your job as the author to take over the wheel and drive them in the right direction–even if you have to sneak and do it!

I admit, I don’t “get” why so many people are fascinated with vampires these days.  I mean, sure, I used to watch Dark Shadows and I loved every single minute of it.  I’d rush home from school, plant myself in front of the TV and for 30 minutes I wouldn’t move.  I guess you could say I was a fangirl of vampires back then but now, well, not so much.

Hey, wait a minute, maybe it’s that old soap opera that did it.  Maybe I got my fill of vampires back when I watched Dark Shadows religiously.  I guess you could even go so far as to say Barnabas Collins is my vampire soul mate–aren’t soul mates very important in today’s vampire stories?–since no other vampire has ever tempted me to spend hours of my life in their world.  Maybe no one else can ever do the same thing for me that Barnabas did back in the late 60s and early 70s.

Or maybe I’m just too old.  Could be, but I write paranormal romance and love writing in that genre so maybe I’m not that old.  Still, I rarely read any books that have vampires.  I’ve only read one Sookie Stackhouse book, the first one and it was pretty good, but I don’t watch True Blood and have no desire to read the rest of the books.  I’ve never read a single one of the Twilight books–is it true the vampires sparkle?  I’m sorry but that’s just wrong to me–and I’m definitely not tempted to see the movies.  I did read Salem’s Lot when it came out and I enjoyed it though it’s not my favorite Stephen King book.  I’ve also read Interview with the Vampire by Ann Rice, but was never tempted to pick up another one in that series either.  One series I vaguely remember enjoying was by an author whose name I can’t recall, nor can I remember the titles of the book or series.  Only thing I do remember is in the first one, the hero is a vampire and he wants to be turned back into a mortal and the heroine is a waitress at a diner.  I read another two–or was it three?–books in that series but I didn’t read all of them.

These days though, when all the world seems to be caught up in some sort of “Vampire Fever,” I just don’t get it and I definitely don’t want to write about them.

It could be because there seems to be a glut on the market when it comes to vampire books these days and again, no one will ever top Dark Shadows.  I read something somewhere the other day that they are making a Dark Shadows movie and Johnny Depp is rumored to be starring as Barnabas Collins.  Meh, I like Johnny Depp but I probably won’t go see the movie because that’s another thing I’m sick of.  Why do the people in Hollywood feel compelled to remake perfectly good movies–they can never improve on the original in my opinion–and movies based on TV shows–too much of a good thing and in most cases the movie is nowhere as good as the original show.  

Heck, maybe I am old…and cranky…and I know for a fact I’m most definitely tired…of vampires!  Which brings me to the real reason for this post, I’ve finished with the second book in my Apprentice Angel series and I’m thinking for the third one, the main character, Mac the Angel, is going to be sent to help a goth teenager who’s fascinated with vampires and all the lore that goes with them.  Not that there will be any actual vampires in the book, but the underlying theme will be a sort of vampire mania so…I guess I’ll have to get over my aversion and embrace the world of vampires again.