Something that always surprises me when I’m reading a perfectly decent query is when a vampire shows up and ruins everything. The havoc the vampire wreaks on the characters is nothing compared to the damage it does to me personally. I read about four vampire queries in a row yesterday, which is what got me thinking about this, but truthfully I’ve been thinking about my relationship with vampires for a while. They once held a pretty special place in my heart.
It was a sad day for me the first time I rolled my eyes at a vampire book, and an even sadder one when I audibly groaned in frustration. You see, writers, I was once, as they say, really into vampires. Which is also to say, I totally get their appeal. The reason vampires have stood the test of time, other than immortality, is that they can be the perfect hero and the perfect villain at the same time. On their worst days, they want to kill you, and on their best days, they still want to kill you, but feel bad about it.
They are also eternally sexy. Let’s put aside the metaphors involved with them wanting to control you and suck you dry. Instead, let’s focus on the fact that they never look older than 30, they’re mysterious, and for some reason they all seem to have mastered the art of dry wit. Sure they’re dangerous, but what’s hotter than knowing that after being around the block for centuries upon centuries, they still want only you. Even Dracula had a soft spot for Mina, and he’s Dracula!
Before I really knew what sexy was, I fell in love with vampires through Christopher Pike books that were probably too old for me, and through cheesy ’80s movies like Once Bitten and My Best Friend is a Vampire (both amazing by the way – add them to your Netflix queue now!). I also let my angsty self out in reading The Book of Nod (also too old for me) and being mildly fascinated by goth culture and vampire lore.
Then Buffy, the Vampire Slayer came along. I was a fan of the movie because it is hilarious and Luke Perry is in it. The show, however, is one of the best written shows of all time. It hooked me immediately and I still watch it pretty much everyday in syndication. Seeing the show was also the first time I said, hey, vampires are sexy as hell (no pun intended).
There was definitely teen vampire lit to be read, and I enjoyed the less sexy – but still sexy in a “I might have issues” way – vampire horror. In adulthood, even in the midst of vampire mania, I enjoy the modernized vampires of Charlaine Harris and Jeri Smith-Ready and the villainous vamps of Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s Strain trilogy (also looking forward to reading Justin Cronin’s The Passage!).
That said, the reason those queries I mentioned were surprising to me is because I can’t believe people are still trying to pitch vampire books. Despite everything, aren’t we sick of them yet? The answer from the industry standpoint should be yes, but I guess what should be more surprising is that these books are still being sold. To me, vampires have jumped the shark. I don’t really blame Twilight, but it’s an easy scapegoat. Twilight didn’t start anything that wasn’t already there. Edward, after all, is just a poor man’s Angel. All Stephanie Meyers really did was reaffirm that nothing is the new vampire, nor will something ever be. But she also reawakened a craze that proved perhaps there can be too much of a good thing.
So, vampires, you’ve shown me, with the above-mentioned modern examples, that you still have what it takes to be in my life. But unfortunately, that’s not enough for me anymore. You’ve changed. I liked that you were starting to show a softer side; I was even excited about it. Then things got out of control. You were showing up in places you didn’t belong: classic literature, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and prime-time network television. You’re everywhere and you’re becoming a mockery of yourselves. We can still be friends, of course. I just need space. I’m in a place in my life right now where I need more stability. I need to know you’ll always be the person I fell in love with, and I hope once you get this madness out of your system, you’ll be able to find that side of you again. It just won’t be any time soon, I’m afraid, so I must say goodbye for now.
We’ll always have Nod…
29 thoughts on “It’s Not Me, It’s You (Or, My Breakup With Vampires)”
Dammit! Hmm… What if you're writing a novel featuring vampires but the focus isn't on how they're oh-so-cool-and-sexy? (Basically, my hook isn't “Read mah book cuz it haz VAMPIRES in it!!!”)
I couldn't agree more. I'm a total Whedonite, to the level that my Buffy love has been passed down to my two youngest daughters. (There's nothing like seeing your seven year old sing every line and dance every move to 'Once More With Feeling'). But, as much as I love vampires, I don't think I can stomach yet another.
I finished my first novel two years ago, complete with edits and et all. Then, the vampire boom happened and it's languished on my laptop, untouched since. (Though I have written a few outtakes for my friends).
The problem, for me, is that they aren't scary anymore. And since the market is so inundated with them, they have lost their appeal for many people.
I miss the days of Buffy. Heck, I miss 'Dark Shadows' on Sunday afternoons as a kid. I hope one day we'll be able to see a truly new twist that doesn't include a dark immortal stranger, a 'special' average girl and their fights against the biggest bad of them all. Sorry, folks, but Whedon did it best and I can't imagine anyone topping that.
Now, that Eric Northman? Ha, nothing would stop me from watching or reading about him.
Hehe, great way to let writers know not to send you vampire novels! I'm pretty sick of vampires right now, and I used to love them. This was fun to read, and I'm glad to know that not all the agents out there repping YA are looking for vampire stuff.
RE Sunshine: *Actual* muffin-baking. There are also non-metaphorical cherry tarts.
I have to agree. A girl can only handle so many new vampire loves before she gets the blood sucked out of her. Er. Um. I mean enthusiasm. Yeah. That.
Fortunately, the trend must die off sometime, and I hope that time is nearly upon us. I've recently been introduced to some time travelers, some faeries, and a handful of distopian worlds where young kids have to overcome insurmountable odds.
Lucky for me, there will always be something fantastic to read. Thanks for the laugh!
@Jaimie & AJ – Um, muffin baking? I hope that's not a metaphor because now I NEED TO read Sunshine!
@Jade – There is variation in the queries. They're not all mopey-chick-meets-mysterious-guy, but even the ones that are different aren't enough to get me interested. Which I admit is sad. But like I said, vampires and I just need to take a break.
@Jeri – You're welcome! And you definitely deserve to be among Harris and Del Toro 🙂
Thanks, AJ. I really do need to check it out…
@Jaimie RE Sunshine: One of my favorite vamp books! Definitely different. It has a post-apocalyptic twist, and there's a lot of muffin-baking.
LOVE vampire mythology. Dracula had me at hello. It's a little overdone now, for sure, which is a shame since it's such an interesting literary history! Sigh…
*flashbacks to gothic horror lit in college…*