More than a place--it's a writer's muse.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Staying Power of Vampires: Playing Devil's Advocate

Disclaimer: The following is not in any way to suggest you stray from your particular religious flock, but rather to point out an odd correlation between a fall in church attendance and a rise in vampire popularity. Just think about it. Life's one big "What if..." ;-)

As a writer of werewolves, I think I'm legally required to be "Team Jacob." And frankly, having seen New Moon (and Jacob's ahh-mazing abs on display several times) I must say "Good show" ;-). Anyhow, as much as I prefer a heartbeat to the stone cold nothing of a vampire's chest, I have to admit I think vamps will be around for a while. And it goes beyond their pesky immortality--or maybe not so much if we think about it.

Let's look at our current culture and the relatively recent surge in vampire lovin'.

Being mere mortals one of the things that has always fascinated our species is the concept of immortality. We've fought wars (remember hearing about those crusades?) in hopes of getting pardoned for our sins and gaining admission to that great and relatively exclusive clubhouse in the sky. We've confessed our most unsavory thoughts and deeds and tried to follow the laws set by men who supposedly had them delivered by God (I wasn't around back then, so who am I to judge?). We've hurt ourselves and others all in the name of getting a ticket to heaven.

Today less people worldwide are attending church and other religious institutions and it seems more are being more vocal against organized religion. Without the message of how to attain immortality through godly behavior is it any wonder we're even more fascinated with the paranormal "alternatives." ;-)

I mean, come on. You can play by all the rules that religious dogma suggests (and there are gobs of them if you've ever bothered to read the books of the big 3) or you can dream of being bitten by a hot (well, actually cold ;-) vampire, suck some of their blood and shazam! Immortality.

Which is sexier? The heat of blood pumping (I dare say at a faster rate) as a vamp takes a bite and embraces the warmth that is no longer naturally theirs (and then gives a "mere mortal" a taste of vampy goodness) or remembering you aren't even supposed to have lusty thoughts because that's committing adultery according to dogma, too?

No wonder more folks tote copies of vampire novels around than Bible study stuff.

And, while we're being frank, the romance angle of vamps in fiction still has room for exploration. Yes, vamps (being immortal and around for a long time) have "been around the block" a time or two. They've probably seen and done stuff and become callous. So the trick for authors may be for the romantic lead to find the button on the vamp character that truly makes an experience seem new to them. If you'd lived forever and started to become bored and jaded with life, what would it take to excite you again?

So, although there are readers wanting to put an end to vampire popularity (the complaints I've seen!) writers may have a bigger stake ;-) in their success even now. Unless everyone suddenly gets religion and steps onto *that* highway to heaven with greater interest than we're currently seeing. I mean, the end of the world does come in 2012, right? ;-)

Simply Shannon ;-)


Jennifer L Hart said...

I'm so in favor of the werewolves. Sorry, to me, dead is dead and so not sexy ;-)

Jennifer L Hart said...

Okay that posted before I wanted. Technical difficulties, cleanup isle three. Anyhow, I see your point— the vamp culture does offer a heck of a lot more than the monotheistic faiths are delivering. Escapism beats harsh realities any day of the week and twice on Sundays.

Shannon Delany said...

LOL--I'm with you, Jennifer--werewolves rule. The living-dead thing? Creeeepy. Of course, I don't quite get the current fascination with zombies, either. *shrug*

I just think the correlation between falling church attendance and swelling vampire popularity is amusing. The things both have in common (most obviously) are that desire for immortality and the transformative power of blood. Fun stuff. ;-)

SarannaDeWylde said...

It's all about the blood-- in most faiths, actually. There must be some sort of sacrifice or death for any sort of transformation to the divine. Very interesting!

Liane Gentry Skye said...

What a fascinating post, Shannon. Just when I thought I'd sworn off of vamp fic, you've made me think about vamps in a whole new way.

Jennifer L Hart said...

Don't swear off quality Vamp fiction Liane, just the hokey been there, seen it don't want the stupid T-shirt tripe.

Check out my goodreads list of paranormals. I won't lie to you, promise ;-)

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