Education

Using Vampires As Inspiration For Creative Writing

Vampires have made a huge comeback recently in our popular consciousness. They are a Gothic creation, and they most certainly represent a fixed archetype. Vampires are even becoming a legitimate topic for humanities research at the university level, particularly in Great Britain. There are communities of people from every walk of life devoted to the continuation of imaginative energy devoted to vampires. Therefore, vampires will continue to be a relevant topic for creative writing, as well as for movies, role playing games, and other fun, sexy, and fanciful pursuits far into the distant future. The fact of their immortality is a huge part of their appeal, and so it makes sense that vampires are establishing themselves so permanently in our popular culture, our creative pursuits, our academic pursuits, our history, and our art.
If you are the creative type, you will undoubtedly experience a desire to use the vampire motif in your own creative life, especially after seeing what a big impact Twilight is making right now. Don’t be concerned that it is considered a “guilty pleasure” by some, or that others are dismissive of vampire stories because they are “for tweens.” Just because something with universal appeal, like vampires, can be geared to a certain audience does not mean that your own writing cannot be geared to another audience. In fact, it speaks volumes to the imaginative value of a topic. Pay attention to your own instincts, and realize that creativity is hindered most when we start criticizing our ideas before they are even on paper.
One piece of advice for creative writing that uses vampires is to realize what characteristics are fixed and what characteristics are not. Perhaps you can begin by sketching either a mental or drawn picture of your lead vampire. List which characteristics the vampire needs, in order to satisfy what we expect of vampires. Then tinker with the characteristics that can be tinkered with. For example, in Twilight and other classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, vampires co-exist with us in a contemporary world, and many of the traits we associate with old school vampires are cleverly intertwined with an American high school setting. Does your intended audience prefer to escape completely from today’s world? If so, you’ll need to research another time/place setting. One good way of immersing yourself in and thus researching a different setting is role playing, which can be done online or with a group of friends.
Lastly, your audience will want to read about your vampires only if you provide a very careful mix of believable and unbelievable. Connoisseurs of stories about vampires will want to know why, for example, your story alters or omits what we popularly know about elements like garlic, crosses, and somnambulism. Navigating your way through the many decisions related to people’s expectations about vampires, while still writing something fresh and creative, can be very challenging. Again, testing your ideas out on a friendly and generous audience is a big part of the creative writing process.

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