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DavidZahir
08-01-2009, 08:59 PM
(I've started a similar thread in the Horror section, btw. Hope this isn't a no-no.)

What I'm aiming for to combine the horror and the seductiveness of the vampire -- a blend as it were of Lumley's Wamphyri with Meyers' Twilight vampires, of Anne Rice with 30 Days of Night. (Please don't take that too literally.)

My vampires have been infected with a supernatural organism that is slowly mutating them into something else. As time goes by, they are physically (and to some extent psychologically) less human. The vector for infection is venom. Said venom is also an opiate of considerable power, so to be bitten by a vampire will hurt but also induce intense feelings of pleasure -- enough to addict many. But most humans will reject the venom's mutation. Their bodies may start to change slightly (or not) but this will not last. Once a victim's system rejects the venom, the euphoric effect remains but does a lot more physical damage, which can easily result in death. Some people reject the venom instantly and they usually go into shock and die. Only a minority can actually become vampires--and this usually takes multiple exposures to the venom. Very rarely, someone begins the full transformation almost instantly.

Physically, vampires (or Nosferatu as they call often themselves) are stronger and faster than humans, with heightened senses especially smell and sight (bright light hurts their eyes). Canines and lateral incisors lengthen and sharpen slightly. Venom sacs develop in the upper palate. Their flesh begins slightly metamorphic -- closing over wounds automatically for instance, or healing damaged tissue almost by instinct -- and over time this increases. Elders, those who've survived a couple of centuries or more, usually learn to begin controlling this. However, such metamorphism is in a direction. Gradually it becomes easier to run on all fours, while a vampire's body becomes inhumanly narrow and flexible. Claws develop, the nose flattens and the face lengthens as the ears begin to point and hair becomes a pale fur. Fangs lengthen, as does the tongue, which becomes forked. This form is not ugly, particularly. It resembles a strange blend of a mink and a cat. Truly old vampires use their shapeshifting powers to make themselves look more human. Usually. Legend has it the final form is something either alien but lovely or transcendently hideous. Maybe both.

Vampires drink blood, and must do so at least once a week or so. Animal blood tastes different than human, because a vampire "tastes" the nature of the being. Animals cannot transform into vampires. However, the act of feeding creates a kind of psychic/spiritual bond. Details vary, but it is a truism that vampires "Are who they drink." To them, blood is delicious but they can become addicted to the sensations of other minds, especially if a feeding goes on too long. It is also true that the more a vampire feeds on blood, the quicker their metamorphosis proceeds. For the first several decades of life as Nosferatu, eating "normal" food is more-or-less the same as when human. But the taste for anything but red meat fades, until apples taste like wax and wine like flavored water. Elders only eat human food by an act of will, presumably to stave off their transformation.

When vampires sleep, they go dormant or hibernate. Elders can sleep for years and sometimes choose to do so, for decades even. The final transformation into a vampire resembles a cataleptic fit while the body rearranges itself.

Many vampires go mad or suicidal within a few years. Emotional attachment to their prey is a delicate balance all must confront. In all the world there are perhaps several thousand vampires all told. Some organize in the equivalent of secret societies, others as nomads or cults, while some are virtual hermits.

Killing a vampire requires inflicting too much damage for their bodies to heal. Decapitation and burning pretty much always work. Piercing a major organ and keeping it pierced (as with, for example, a wood stake) can do the trick, but the older the vampire the more damage it can take.

Generally, vampires are not fertile (although among the young there are exceptions) but their sex drives are more-or-less intact. Incubi and Succubi legends arose from amorous vampires. For that matter, the Count of Saint Germain and Gregori Rasputin are two famous individuals who were almost certainly vampires.

Some people with intense faith can wield that faith as a weapon against a vampire's mind. This requires something akin to fanaticism or monomania. Likewise some vampires have fairly extreme allergies to certain plants (garlic, roses, etc.)

Now, my questions and concerns:

Does this scenario make sense? Would it explain vampire folklore and the fact that the world remains unaware such creatures are real?

How strong and fast do you think these vampires should be? Those in Twilight are only a little slower than the Flash and are about the same strength level as Spiderman. This strikes me as too much, but maybe I'm wrong.

What do you suppose these vampires might be like as people? While I have my own views, odds are there are some aspects of this I've totally missed.

Do you think I should give my vampires some psychic powers? Or is that too much? Mind you, I'm not talking about can-read-every-mind-in-twelve-square-miles sort of thing. More like psychic powers as believed to exist in the real world, but stronger.

For that matter, I'm open to listening to any and all suggestions or ideas. Can't promise to go with any of them, but I promise to listen.

Thanks in advance! :D

TabithaTodd
08-01-2009, 10:40 PM
I would read it! It makes wonderful sense.

Very interesting spin on vampire lore. I look forward to seeing your work published. I'd buy it and read it and be a definite fan.

Does this scenario make sense? Would it explain vampire folklore and the fact that the world remains unaware such creatures are real?

YES and YES

How strong and fast do you think these vampires should be? Those in Twilight are only a little slower than the Flash and are about the same strength level as Spiderman. This strikes me as too much, but maybe I'm wrong.

I'm not sure how to answer this one. I would say do what you feel is right for the story to come out plausible. If it reads real enough then the plausibility of the characters is all that matters (along with the story).


What do you suppose these vampires might be like as people? While I have my own views, odds are there are some aspects of this I've totally missed.

Normal every day people, all walks of life. Politicians, doctors, nurses, teachers, neighbors.

Do you think I should give my vampires some psychic powers? Or is that too much? Mind you, I'm not talking about can-read-every-mind-in-twelve-square-miles sort of thing. More like psychic powers as believed to exist in the real world, but stronger.

Dealing with psychic abilities (and this is coming from experience here with writing Night & Day with a main character having empathic abilities and being a vampire while one of my mortal characters is a psy in all aspects) is difficult. Again, like your question about what vampires would be life as people - if you can write it as being plausible. If it reads like it's real to reader's mind - then it works. I would say though, research the different abilities in ESP. There's empaths, senders, receivers, telepaths, telekenesis, pyrokenesis, ect

not_HarryS
08-02-2009, 11:29 AM
I think it sounds freaking brilliant. I'm with Tabitha -- based on what you've written here, I'd read it.

A few notes (which ought to be taken with a grain of salt, as I've never written horror before):

I think you ought to refrain from making the vampires too physically powerful, depending on the nature of the conflict within your story. If the vampires are "evil" and destined to be offed within your novel, then I would say make them more powerful than humans, but not quite so powerful as to be indestructible to their enemies. This is an easy way to get stuck in a common rut I see amongst various horror and adventure authors, wherein an enemy of sorts is CRAZY difficult --if not impossible-- to defeat upon first contact, but then upon second and third contact, it miraculously becomes easier and easier to kill not only the original fiend, but more of its kind in increasingly and conveniently effortless ways. Take Alien and Aliens, for example, and you can see what I mean. Personally, I find that sort of discrepancy pretty damn irritating, and anticlimactic to boot.

If the main conflict is to be amongst vampires themselves, then make 'em as crazy friggin' strong as you'd like, as long as there's still a degree of comparison among them. Every Voldemort needs his Dumbledore. I think that's a good rule.

As for psychic abilities, I don't see a problem with it, nor do I find it necessary for you to limit them too fiercely. I would, however, urge you to be absolutely clear as to what said limitations are before you sit down to write. No matter what they are, be clear in your own head as to what the boundaries and "rules", so to speak, are to which your vampires psychicness-itude must abide -- then start writing about it.

That make any sense?

nitaworm
08-02-2009, 02:50 PM
Does this scenario make sense? Would it explain vampire folklore and the fact that the world remains unaware such creatures are real?

Yes, definately -- although its your story you can really get creative with it even more.

How strong and fast do you think these vampires should be? Those in Twilight are only a little slower than the Flash and are about the same strength level as Spiderman. This strikes me as too much, but maybe I'm wrong.

I think it should depend on their age, strength originally... just to make it interesting and could give you a lot more scenarios to play with

What do you suppose these vampires might be like as people? While I have my own views, odds are there are some aspects of this I've totally missed.

Hmm, don't really know -- but you could play with this a little too. They don't all have to be the same as far as characteristics.

Do you think I should give my vampires some psychic powers? Or is that too much? Mind you, I'm not talking about can-read-every-mind-in-twelve-square-miles sort of thing. More like psychic powers as believed to exist in the real world, but stronger.

I think you can give that power only to a few that are an anomaly.

DavidZahir
08-02-2009, 09:17 PM
Thank you for the kind words!

To specify... I want to make it believable that these creatures can indeed be killed by lone hunters or (more likely) hunter teams of two or three. And that they wouldn't need military-grade hardware to do it. On the other hand, my idea is that said hunters don't have an easy time of it and often suffer casualties. Part of a covert organization, these teams probably number a dozen or so world-wide. And there are of course others doing more-or-less the same thing (obscure branches of some intelligence agencies, a secret society or two, the equivalent of mercs, etc.),

It occurs to me that I should make it that young vampires decompose very quickly, whereas really old ones pretty much dissolve upon death (a side effect of their morphing power). Hmmmm...

One thing I'm terribly keen on working out is the psychological dynamic of such creatures, vis-a-vis humans and each other. I suspect they'd be extremely conservative about something, requiring some emotional anchors in their lives so as to deal with the regular influx of different emotions and thoughts as they feed. Probably a large number of new vampires can't handle it and go quite mad.

Noah Body
08-02-2009, 11:16 PM
Good luck--I've got something similar on the rack now, after a substantial beta. :)

dpaterso
08-03-2009, 12:14 AM
Casual drive-by comment. I'm not allergic to any of these concepts and I dare say I'd enjoy reading the story, but there's a touch of overfamiliarity about most items, except the evolving/morphing into something monstrous. But that comes at the end, so I'd be looking to sprinkle something extra into the make-up.

-Derek

Noah Body
08-03-2009, 05:32 PM
Oh, like you know anything! If you were so smart, how come your popularity ranking on IMDB is down by 60%? ;)

dpaterso
08-03-2009, 05:42 PM
You mean I was popular, before I lost popularity? Who knew?!

Quiet you, or I'll blow the dust off my vampyre epics and make you read them!

Oops, wrong forum! Apologies for the thread derail!

-Derek

DavidZahir
08-03-2009, 08:28 PM
Casual drive-by comment. I'm not allergic to any of these concepts and I dare say I'd enjoy reading the story, but there's a touch of overfamiliarity about most items, except the evolving/morphing into something monstrous. But that comes at the end, so I'd be looking to sprinkle something extra into the make-up.

-DerekNo offense, but I'm not in search of originality for originality's sake, not at least in terms vampiric powers and nature. I was looking for specificity. More, I was and am looking to make sure the concept is consistent and offers as many possibilities/tensions as I'm aiming for.