Vampire Books Fans, Fangs and Writers discussion

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VAMPIRE fiction

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Sandrine | 133 comments I would like to pose a question to anyone who has wriiten, or is writing, a vampire themed novel.
Looking at your work objectively, what would you say, or imagine, the biggest criticism of your work would be? Ie: characters too weak/shallow; plot stretches credulity; main character(s)too good or too evil (not enough balance); book too long; focus of the book unclear....etc.


message 2: by Francis (last edited Sep 26, 2012 07:05AM) (new)

Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments I find I can't really write within a genre, and the things I like about what I write may end up being just irritating to readers searching for something comfortable and familiar.

I don't know. That's a difficult question to answer. With my first novel I worry about, for example, whether a character could really travel so quickly between two points in the fantasy world of the novel, but of course the reader probably wouldn't notice (assuming the existence of a reader who isn't me).

My second novel contains so many different elements:
- Is the sex too explicit and anyway unnecessary?
- Are the characters drawn well enough and is the romance believable?
- Are the historical references a little too lecture-y?
- Will everyone really hate the ending too much to understand that writing it broke my heart?


Faye Cross (FayeCross) | 19 comments Well that's a question and a half!

I have to admit its sometimes hard to criticise your own work like that - when you write a book you end up editing it so much because you find those weaknesses in it from the first draft but saying that you still sit there thinking - should I have done this or would it have been better to have done that?

In the end a writer can think so many things about their book, but if they did it constantly nothing would ever get published.

I can say I'm not happy about my character development sometimes - but that doesn't mean the reader wont. Sub plots I can never get these right at times or at least that's what I feel. Like Francis said, is the sex too explicit and anyway unnecessary?

I could probably go at this all day but in the end, I prefer hearing from the readers - that's where you learn you go wrong and where to develop yourself further - or at least that's what I think!


Nolan (nolanskyfire) | 10 comments I'd say I probably eluded the reader too much. I think the mystery was probably a little over done. The research I did on the book was minuscule so certain things were not in great detail like I should have.

When I wrote my novella I had a hard time staying true to my plot due to my over active imagination.


Faye Cross (FayeCross) | 19 comments Nolan wrote: "I'd say I probably eluded the reader too much. I think the mystery was probably a little over done. The research I did on the book was minuscule so certain things were not in great detail like I sh..."

Over active imagination is not always a bad thing - let it flow ... that's what editing is for!


Nik Morton (Nikmorton) | 6 comments that's what editing is for!
- as long as by that you mean self-editing...?


Nolan (nolanskyfire) | 10 comments I mean I kind of believe you can over do the fantasy aspect of a story line if that's not what you're aiming for.


Stephanie (StephieJa) | 11 comments Editing has been my biggest problem. I self edited and have a friend go over them as well, but we still don't catch everything. Readers catch some mispellings and gram errors. My first book The Undead Heart is a mess on editing (It wa the first thing I'd ever written outside of a grocery list). I still got great ratings because most people are able to overlook edit problems in Indie books. Most understand that we're doing all of it-from the writting to the cover-ourselves (that why there getting Indie books for $0.99-$2.99 compared to $8.99-$15.99 for ebook from big publishing companies), but it does take away from the story a bit because it's distracting. I did better on Blood Thirst and better still on a non-vampire book When Angels Fall, but there are still errors that we don't catch. But when your an Indie author your choics are very limited. You don't have a publishing company to give a pro edit to your book and you probably don't have the $3500-$5500 it cost to have your novel professionally edited. We can only do the best we can with what we have. Good Luck to all!


Sandrine | 133 comments Absolutely great comments from everyone. It gives insight into how we all approach the subject. It's a given to me that a published work, regardless, will be free of glaring errors; I find it distracts me too much, and if there are too many of these, or awkward sentences, no matter how interesting the work is, it disrupts the reading. I think at the end of the day if I am absolutely happy with what I wrote, that is ultimately what matters. But then the readers/critics/ etc come along and may think quite differently. Who is (more) right?!


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments I can live with an occasional grammatical error. You get them even in professionally edited books.

(Begin rant...)

It's very irritating, though, when there hasn't been any attempt to edit. I'm not talking about a professional service, just persuading a friend to read it, running it through a spelling & grammar checker, etc.

Simple things: it's / its, they're / their, you're / your

Missing a stop at the end or forgetting a capital letter at the start are practically crimes.

And please don't use colons and semicolons unless you know what they're for!

I don't like to be a pedant, but how can a writer convey meaning when the reader is tripping over the syntax all the time?

(End rant...)

I'm a lot less forgiving of my own writing than I am of other people's...


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments I've written two novels and I love them both dearly.

While it would be nice if they made me rich and famous (ha ha ha ha) I don't really care about that. What's really important to me is that people enjoy reading my books.

My mum has read one, but otherwise I have no idea whether anyone else has read either completely.


Nik Morton (Nikmorton) | 6 comments I agree wholeheartedly with Francis's rant - and that applies to chat in forums such as this. We all make typos, but until you hit 'post', you have the chance to read what you've written... If I read an indie book that is badly written (ie poor editing), no matter whether or not I've enjoyed the story, I'm very reluctant to tackle another by that author. Professional means getting money for doing it 'write', right...?


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments Rite! :-)


Sandrine | 133 comments I read a "vampire" book that someone had recommended because they "loved" it. It was one of the most disappointing books I've ever read. I won't reveal the author/title. A woman meets an interesting guy at a public place; he pretty much tells her all about him being a vampire. No backstory to this character at all. The woman is chatty, humorous, self-effacing; but I'm not really interested in her except within the context of her connection to a vampire. The vampire's ONLY really demonstrated ability as a supernatural being is that he can open car doors quickly. He does this about 5 times. Having gotten these two people together the author doesn't seem to know what to do with them next. Luckily (sarcasm) there is a "head" vampire who rules over everyone and the vampire boyfriend cowers and "yessirs" his way into some mysterious errand he has to do, which is never explained, by the way, and then he sort of shows up later. But we don't care by then. He's too wimpy to be a human boyfriend; how much more pathetic to ask us to accept him as a supernatural one. The author has to resort to bringing in some kind of "fae folk" to save the day. What the hell are those things? They're not even interesting. End of story.
Your thoughts?


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments So, what does she see in him? Is this... the first in a long beautiful series of books in which the boyfriend evolves into a worthwhile member of a superior species?


message 16: by Sandrine (last edited Sep 28, 2012 09:42PM) (new)

Sandrine | 133 comments I know, right? What on earth do they possibly see in each other? Who tells a total stranger, that they have dated maybe twice, all about being a vampire? Who just takes that in stride? The author means for it to be a series...I think. And it got published. Not self-pub. either. I don't see how either character can evolve. I already don't care what happens to the lot of them.


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments Definitely a third-date thing.


Sandrine | 133 comments Francis wrote: "I've written two novels and I love them both dearly.

While it would be nice if they made me rich and famous (ha ha ha ha) I don't really care about that. What's really important to me is that peop..."


I loved your comment about loving your novels dearly.
It should really be enough, shouldn't it?
I love my book, and my characters with such a passion; they, and the process of bringing them fully to life, is so seductive to me.
But I have two big fears: one--that for some reason I will never finish my book, and it will never get published.
two---that I DO finish my book, and it gets published.
Because, then what? I suppose I just keep writing.
I can't lie and say that fame and riches wouldn't be nice. But my goals are these: I want to write something meaningful to add to the vampire genre, ie. not fluff. I know there are loftier ambitions humans should aspire to, but there it is.
And I have always thought that the very definition of success is that you can live, and live well, by what you yourself have created. That is what successful authors have that I want. That freedom to live your life that way. I'm sure, no matter how famous and successful, they are plagued with insecurites, deadlines, worries, like everyone else. But I'd gladly take those on.


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments It would be great in some ways to abandon the day job and make a living just reading and writing. I am amazed by authors who are able to write new books regularly, although often with these there is a lot of familiarity between books.

I agree with you about wanting to say something meaningful. After finishing my first book I had lots of ideas for how to fit in prequels and sequels, but never found the passion to take these ideas and forge something out of them.

Twelve years later, stuck in a hotel room, I thought I'd amuse myself by writing something, nothing particular in my head. I didn't expect it to go anywhere. But it got me thinking: What would life really have been like over the centuries for a female vampire?

At around the same time there were two series on TV. Bettany Hughes looking at women and the divine across history:
http://www.bettanyhughes.co.uk/divine...
and Lucy Worsley's Harlots, Housewives and Heroines, about women in the seventeenth century:
http://www.silverriver.tv/broadcast/g...

Also, while trying to think of an interesting origin story, I read Infamous Lady: The True Story of Countess Erzsébet Báthory and was left with a serious dose of life-darker-than-fiction.

So, anyway, what started as a light-hearted amusement, evolved rapidly into what might best be described as an anti-genre feminist rant.

God save us all from authors with a message... :-)


Nik Morton (Nikmorton) | 6 comments Good authors hide their messages under the guise of entertainment...


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments The play's the thing,
Wherein I'll catch the conscience of the king.


Sandrine | 133 comments Nolan wrote: "I'd say I probably eluded the reader too much. I think the mystery was probably a little over done. The research I did on the book was minuscule so certain things were not in great detail like I sh..."

Can mystery be over done? I wonder about this. In real life not everything has an explanation. But in books, does a reader need/demand that all the loose ends be tied up and explained satisfactorily; or is it acceptable to leave some of the mystery hanging; let the reader draw their own conclusions, or continue to wonder; or would the reader think "this writer is lazy or careless and didn't bother to sort this out for us."


Sandrine | 133 comments Reply to Francis message 19: it is strange isn't it the way things will come along to inspire us. I think the timing just has to be right. I had the idea for my book back in the late 80's but the muse would not stay with me and I allowed myself to be intimidated by "better" "successful" writers out there. Then one day two years ago I had a chance encounter with a 12 year old stranger, a twilight fan, who prompted me to start writing my book again. This time with much better results.
I saw a ballet production called Blood Countess that was actually very well done. I had read the book years ago also. One tends to see her portrayed as a vampire because of her blood fetish. Meh. I guess so. There was a fabulous book out years ago (and a horrible film made of it, with a good cast except for the lead...I'd see anything with Alan Rickman in it...anyway the book was Perfume. The character was a vampire of scent--the thing he lacked that separated him from humans. Though the word vampire is never used as I recall it is so obviously one of the better interpretations of vampires ever, and remains one of my favorite books for that reason. It proves you can interpret the vampire mythology in new and different ways.


Sandrine | 133 comments I just bought the new issue of Diabolique magazine and I love this quote in one of the articles: "We might go to the theater, or to the movies, or read a book in order to participate in something that feels much larger, much more ancient, much more significant than we allow ourselves to feel during our ordinary lives." I always seem to have that longing for...something. I can't describe or define it but I will know it when I experience it. When, for example, I pick up a vampire novel to read and there is an instant connection, something resonates for me. That elusive something.


Robin (RobinLayne) | 91 comments Regarding the novel I'm working on right now, it is TOO LONG. But I'm not worrying about that overmuch because I haven't finished the rough draft yet. When I get finished, I hope to have a much clearer idea what things to cut out. Other things that concern me at this stage of the novel writing: the secondary characters aren't well-developed enough, but I hope that can be remedied. Other people have said that the names and other details are too old-fashioned for modern characters, but I don't think that's major. I guess my biggest fear right now is that the subject matter is mostly secular through most of the story but by the end a Christian theme becomes dominant. I am trying to balance this so that no one feels tricked, but it's hard because none of my main characters are Christians until almost the end of the book. This has nothing specifically to do with the fact that it's a vampire book, other than the fact that people nowadays don't expect vampire stories to "turn religious" on them.

As for the short story I already published (that is posted on my profile), some changes that I agree with have already been suggested: I didn't stay in the head of my viewpoint character enough. From the beginning, I made some comments as a narrator that were more distant and melodramatic than my character's direct thoughts would have been. (Feel free to read and comment on it yourselves; the more good advice I get, the more I should be able to re-write it better when I have the chance. It's called "Blood Ties.")
I haven't yet read everyone's comments on this question; I want to get back to my writing, and it's 12:25 a.m. I enjoy my time on here, but if I want to finish my novel and my education, etc., I can't do all I'd like to here. My characters are calling me...


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments Fracis, you are a wealthy man, in your own right. Its nice, there are other people in this world that are content, with the thought of just being themselves. I'm, so there & hope its contagious.Keep wrighting, everything works out the way its supposed to. I still want to read your books,& Masons & Amy May's. Just need to finish the books I allready have. Have a great day!!!


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments I'm not sure what you mean there. I was simply expressing astonishment of professional authors who are able to write whole books on a schedule.

For me (and many others, I'm sure), writing is a process of discovery as much as creation. Sometimes I set out to write the plot in one direction, but the characters take off in some other completely unexpected direction.

There's a key difference between series and and standalone books that has a huge impact on how the reader reacts to the end of the book. In a series, the author can leave all sorts of things unsaid and unexplained, and the reader will wait to see how the next book picks these up. Which is fine, but does add a touch of soap opera, especially in long series.

With a standalone book, the reader has a fixed ending and can only speculate what the characters do next.

I wrote Suzie and the Monsters as a standalone. I got quite obsessed with it at times, and researching and writing it ate a lot of time that I couldn't really afford. For the next half-year I have even less spare time, but I have an aching desire to pick up the threads and continue the story.


Sandrine | 133 comments I was just looking online for reviews of Anne Rice's IWTV, older reviews from when it first came out. But then I found and read "newer" reviews from people here on goodreads who have just discovered her (older) work. They are, some of them, the twilight generation, so their views are a bit skewed. I find I am fascinated with the comments both for and against. Men tend not to "get" her vampires; women, usually; it is an over simplification to say that in general, I know. But I have questioned myself as to who my demographic really is. I mean, besides myself, who would like my book? Because I'm pretty sure it won't be the twilight people. Maybe old school Anne Rice fans. But I'm not even sure of that. If you have strangers pre-view your book, don't you at least want people who may at least be pre-disposed to like it?


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments I keep hearing about, the age of Twilight fans. I don't fit into that mold at all. I'm a Grandmother of 6, Great Grandmother to 3,& 2 on the way.Please realize, I was a mother twice, by the time I was 18 yrs. old. My husband & I, finished school before our son was born. So don't lump us into an age group. I've never read, Anne Rice, so dont know anything about her work. So, what is your book about & name? Who knows, I might like it.


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments Robin wrote: "Regarding the novel I'm working on right now, it is TOO LONG. But I'm not worrying about that overmuch because I haven't finished the rough draft yet. When I get finished, I hope to have a much cle..."

Just keep hanging in there Robin. Everything will work out,in the long run.


Robin (RobinLayne) | 91 comments Thanks. I believe it will. I just wonder how long the run will be, lol. I started it around 2000 and am still working on the rough draft (and have re-written a lot of the chapters I HAVE completed). I just went to a meeting of the large writer's organization in my area and heard Phillip Margolin and daughter speak tonight. He said that he often spends years just thinking about a story from the time he gets the idea to the time he starts writing it. Then he writes an extensive outline that becomes or is his first draft--something he says is not something anyone would want to read, at least 500 pages of outline! This comforted me, because my novel draft is over 500 pages, and to keep track of where I've gone in it and intend to go I have what I call an extended synopsis--a scene-by-scene summary of what will eventually be the whole book. There are some gaps in the proposed scenes, but I know where I'm going. Margolin also said that when he has the outline he doesn't get stuck as easily. He never writes until he knows what the ending will be because it's the most important part, and he finds it easier to deal with not knowing how to get from A to C than not knowing where to go from there. I agree that the ending is essential to know, and that, like he said, the route might change along the way, but with a plan you can go forward and are not likely to get stranded.
Right now I am going through chapters I haven't worked on in 3 years, reading each one over in order and making changes as needed, but I'm getting eager to get to the hard part where I have to write new material. I just want everything to be set up and clear in my head before I go there again, especially since those gap areas are where I got stuck before. Some of them are parts that don't interest me, and so I'm thinking about cutting what I can because it may not be of interest to the reader, either. Some of the scenes I planned might be just mentioned in dialog or something if they aren't that crucial.


Sandrine | 133 comments Rita wrote: "I keep hearing about, the age of Twilight fans. I don't fit into that mold at all. I'm a Grandmother of 6, Great Grandmother to 3,& 2 on the way.Please realize, I was a mother twice, by the time I ..."

Hmmm. I would define the age of twilight fans as more of a social phenomenon than as a true age range, in that: young girls, pre-teens and high school maybe, seemed to be the initial readers of this book series. Then, somehow the Moms got on board. I began seeing the book everywhere, in the hands of people you would least expect to be interested. Then, the young girls--got older, went to high school/college--and that seemed to leave just the Moms lusting after Edward/Jacob. I really don't get this.
I went on a vampire themed cruise this summer; it was supposed to be for the serious vampire fans, but there was a very small turnout for this. Whereas the "sparkling" variety of vampire fans had 600 on board for the previous years cruise. I would hate to be in that crowd for reasons too numerous to mention.
As for Anne Rice, love her or hate her and her work, --- every true fan of vampires knows her work to some extent. Her contribution to vampire literature is indisputable.


Sandrine | 133 comments Reply to Robin message 31: I find I have to outline my chapters to some extent; my book follows a calendar year plus, more or less, and as each chapter has a specific purpose I like to list things that I want to or need to include within that chapter. It helps keep everything organized. I have an "ending" in mind, one that I feel will satisfy readers, but it is also a pivotal point that can act as a transition should I find I have enough material for a second book.


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments I will have to check her out, but have to many now, yet to read on my bookshelves. Also, I keep all of my books, just in case, I ever want to read them again. Don't loan them out anymore,because I don't get them back.You sound a lot like I am about most things, very OCD, so have to follow a mental list, to get it done right. I'm also a perfectionest. If I can't do it perfect, I don't do it at all. Wish I was an author,but my artistic talents, lean in another direction. Good luck with your noval, I'm sure it will be worth,the time & effort you are putting into it. Keep me updated,on your progress, OK. Good Luck.


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments Anne Rice: I read everything of hers for years, then got very upset with the ending of one book and haven't gone near her since.


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments I GUESS, i'LL GET AROUND TO HER, AT SOME POINT. jUST TO MANY, ON MY TO READ SHELVES ALLREADY. My cat steped on the cap key again. Theres you books, Mason's new book& Amy May's book. Just, what does a poor girl do?


Robin (RobinLayne) | 91 comments Which book was that, Francis? I read the first two of her vampire books, and I think my daughter read all of them. But when she started her series on Christ, I found some things in it disturbing. I couldn't even finish the first book of those. I thought she was better at writing about the darkness than writing about the light--knows more about it, maybe, more experienced at writing about it. I did like her Mummy book, which was another perspective on immortality.


Robin (RobinLayne) | 91 comments Rita, a poor girl takes a good speed reading course, quits her job, secrets herself in her room, does nothing but read all day long, and PUTS THE CAT OUTSIDE. Lol, my bird sometimes gets on my typewriter.


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments Shadow, adopted me, but now that I have 2 dogs,she is highly pissed off, & cant put her out, because, I cant get her back in. She's getting old, & just dont want her to get hurt. Both of the dogs just want to be friends, but thats not going to happen. Oh my, what to do. She just needs to get over, herself. Oh, by the way,I'm retired, thank God. My job was tearing my back up worse, than usual. I loved it though. Most of of my life, from 10 yrs. old,I've been a care giver.It is what it is, all I can say


Robin (RobinLayne) | 91 comments I was totally teasing, Rita! I was trying to set up an impossible scenario.


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments I know & nothing is impossible!!!!


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments I think it must have been The Witching Hour.


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments It could have been, as she is jet black. Good ,morning Francis.


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments So sleepy right now.

It's funny, I crawled out of bed this morning because my alarm clock said 7.20, and staggered sleepily downstairs, thinking how dark it was... and discovered that it was only 6.20. Somehow my bedroom is in another time zone.


Robin (RobinLayne) | 91 comments I got up earlier than usual because I was inspired to write and draw things on myself. Now I'm not nuts, I'm preparing for a local event called the Independent Publishing Resource Center's annual Text ball. Costumes are invited that have text in them in some way, so I'm wearing my entire button collection on a T-shirt and hat, and yesterday I met some street vendors from which I bought colored body markers that are supposed to last up to 3 days. The ball is Saturday, so I expect I'll need to do some touch-up work by that night, but I had to try them out. Oh, dear, I just realized I should need a bath by then! I may have to do all the writing all over again. My worst concern is the possibility of ruining the pens, because when I used rubbing alcohol to take off part I goofed up on, when I went over the spot with the pen again, I ruined the pen. I'll have to include photos of my costume on my profile so you can all see.
Anyway, good morning, all! Yes, Francis, you were up late on here, like I was, too. Maybe your bedroom is in the Twilight Zone. *play the music* One morning, I got my daughter up for school when I thought it was time, and I couldn't get her to get going, she was so groggy. I was really mean to her until I discovered I'd read the clock wrong and it was still the wee hours of the morning.

Now that I am The Illustrated Woman, I am feeling tired, too.

Inspiration gives me energy? I haven't thought much on that. It makes sense. But I have to confess that until recently (and even now sometimes), those late nights have been spent playing games and chatting with people that turn up on Facebook rather than writing or getting ideas for writing.


Rita (rccola1945hotmailcom) | 513 comments Both of you are so funny. I love people with a sence of humor. People never, know whats going to come out of my mouth. Thats just part of living to me.Francis, I've done that befor,& then can't go back to sleep.Robin, have a good time at the ball,& don't lose any glass slippers, ok.


Sandrine | 133 comments I guess it is never too soon to start marketing one's book. I am going to be in New Orleans later this month and had wanted to be able to hand out little cards like business cards, sort of advertising for my book. And I haven't even gotten the cards printed up yet! There will be a panel of horror wr
iters, and vampires, and AR fans; just the people I need to connect with. How might others of you market your book/reach your audience?


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments I find it strange to talk about books that aren't finished, and very frustrating to be told there will be more books in a series that I'm reading but that I have to wait years to get them.

Which is not to say that pre-marketing isn't a good thing. I'm very impressed with Faye's blog and artwork, for example.

I want to ask how your novel is coming along, but... is that bad etiquette?

Substitute Novel for PhD/Thesis in these:

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archi...
http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archi...
http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archi...

and my favourite:

http://www.phdcomics.com/comics/archi...


Robin (RobinLayne) | 91 comments Rita wrote: "Both of you are so funny. I love people with a sence of humor. People never, know whats going to come out of my mouth. Thats just part of living to me.Francis, I've done that befor,& then can't go ..."

I will not be wearing glass slippers. They are so uncomfortable, and hard to write on! I will wear my embroidered canvass flats that have "Here comes the sun" on them. And boy, my make-up has been smearing! I will probably have to do it all over again Saturday, especially since I need that bath.


Francis Franklin (FrancisJamesFranklin) | 468 comments I never understood that glass slipper thing. It does make me wonder whether they were just a pair of transparent 6" stripper heels transported back in time...

I think Grimm said the shoes were pure gold (which still sounds unlikely).

Anyway, have fun at the ball!


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