Is using the word "vampire" cheesy?

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Meemossis

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Please forgive me if this has been mentioned in other posts, but I came across something the other day, that I would like people's thoughts on.

Now, before I get into it, I just want to say that I've read plenty of PNR, and see new books coming out all the time. So, I know this isn't a big issue with regards to sales, and there's always an audience for it.

I've heard some writers are shying away from using terms like Vampire, Werewolves etc. because it's "cheesy".

I only ask because I have an idea for an adult romance that involves a man who drinks the "life essence" in people's blood to make him live longer. He doesn't have a problem with sunlight, silver, garlic, or anything else like that. So I wasn't planning on calling him a vampire as I don't think it fulfils the brief. I wasn't going to give him a name at all, actually, but that's for another post.

Would readers think I was trying to get out of calling a spade, a spade? Or in my case, call a vampire, a vampire?
 

veinglory

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My experience is that readers who like vampire or werewolf romance are searching for the word 'vampire'. They will be most confident that they have found a vampire romance if the title and blurb make it clear. I still think more people are looking for it than avoiding it. That said, the market is saturated.
 

Introversion

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I only ask because I have an idea for an adult romance that involves a man who drinks the "life essence" in people's blood to make him live longer. He doesn't have a problem with sunlight, silver, garlic, or anything else like that. So I wasn't planning on calling him a vampire as I don't think it fulfils the brief. I wasn't going to give him a name at all, actually, but that's for another post.

Would readers think I was trying to get out of calling a spade, a spade? Or in my case, call a vampire, a vampire?

There's not a universal definition of what a "vampire" is, and I'd caution against inventing another term for a character that clearly is vampiric. Read about smeerps and why it's a bad idea.
 

frimble3

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I don't care if he wants the 'life essence', the plasma or whatever. If it drinks blood it's a vampire. That's certainly what anyone running across it would call it.<br>
Do you know what you call a creature who drinks blood and tells you some long-winded story about his origins, his 'people', why they have a super-special secret name and why they drink blood? A pretentious vampire.
 
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Introversion

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Do you know what you call a creature who drinks blood and tells you some long-winded story about his origins, his 'people', why they have a super-special secret name and why they drink blood?

A hipster vampire?
 

Alessandra Kelley

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I think the convention might date to the early days of the "Vampire: The Masquerade" roleplaying game, wherein "vampire" was treated in-universe as a sort of slur or crude word, and the vampires in the game insisted on using genteel euphemisms for themselves.

Right about the same time I seem to recall a number of novels that depicted vampires while self-consciously never using the word.

I don't keep abreast of these trends, but it seems to me you can use the word or not and it won't be a big deal unless you want to make it so in-universe (like, it matters to the characters which terms you use, or some of them are considered cheesy in-universe or something).
 

Meemossis

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I seem to recall a number of novels that depicted vampires while self-consciously never using the word.

This is what I meant about not giving him a name. As I said, I'm not averse to calling him a vampire. I'm saying, would I be called out for not calling him a vampire?
 

Ari Meermans

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Oh well, sure, someone will probably note it. Maybe many someones. It happens. Still, it's possible to have a great story without actually calling him a vampire and thus letting your readers draw their own conclusions. As with everything else writing-related, it depends on the execution.
 

frimble3

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Just letting him drink blood, etc, and not calling him a vampire is one thing. There might be lots of reasons for that.
Making up, or finding, another word when clearly he's a vampire, is the annoying bit.
See Introversion's post 3, regarding 'smeerps'.
 

InkFinger

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Would readers think I was trying to get out of calling a spade, a spade? Or in my case, call a vampire, a vampire?

Yes, you are trying to get away with not calling a vampire a vampire. Even if his victims are technically donating plasma, he's a vampire by any other name. But it's not cheesy.

My thoughts.
 

TheListener

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A vampire is what you make him. He can walk in the light, eat garlic, walk into a church, etc. He must have some sort of kryptonite but that is up to you. Mostly taking off their heads or removing their hearts does the trick. Readers of paranormal romance don't shy away from the words vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, witches, ghouls, demons, etc. That is how they find those books to read, by the keywords. Many of the best books I've read had vampire or wolf in the title. Readers will be upset if you try and reinvent the characters they have come to love.
 

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