Monday, July 26, 2010

Again with the Vampires

So far we've established a basic idea and some rules. Some of this will no doubt change in the writing of the beast. I don't know about you dear readers but I tend to find that in writing the characters will change themselves as I write things. I guess I need a bigger rock on my imagination some days.

For now though, let's look at conflict. Conflict is of course the meat of the story. You can have the neatest character and if you don't have any conflict then you'll have bumpkiss. This is why it sucks so much to be in a soap opera or comic book; that character will always be tossed hither and yon to the winds of fate and if he finally gets the girl its only because the writer has decided the girl is going to die of cancer, be a guy, or an alien. Sometimes an alien guy who dies of cancer, but that's rare.

The main conflict here as I see it is very clear. It is the character versus his base nature. Unless one is bat shit crazy no one wants to hurt others (Mondays excepted of course), so there is an inherent conflict in stealing the life from people just to fuel your own selfish needs. Our character here might want to fight against his addiction as it becomes clear what the costs are to his very soul. One thing I like about my concept is that it's possible to actually stop being a vampire, our character can take back his boring old morality. So there is a real choice for the character to make. I would want to be careful here. It's too easy to get into an emo, teenage, self pity spiral in this type of conflict. I would want it more "Trainspotting" and less "Silver Surfer."

The next level of conflict as I see it is between mentor and student. From how I set it up, it's obvious to me that the story should at least for a small part deal with character's learning about his new world. A mentor/student relation can be very rocky in the best of circumstances, and these are far from ideal. Why did his mentor pick him? How will he keep our character under his thumb? Also, given their natures, can two alpha predators share the same hunting ground for any length of time. Again, here I want to be careful not to imbue this relationship with too much angst, and I certainly don't want anything romantic for this one.

From the mentor we come to the rest of the vampires. How often do they interact with each other, if at all? How will they react to our new character? I have to think on this part more. I certain think it should be a wary friendliness. I think there should be secrets. Will have to think on this some more.

Now, we have the conflict between our character and his "food." Unless mentally influenced by the vampire, or mentally unstable, no one is going to volunteer for giving even a little of their life force to the vampire. That means our character is going to have to take it either by being agressively physical or by mind games. One thing that I wonder about is can a vampire resist "Playing" with his food. I mean you have the power to mentally influence others, wouldn't you want to see how far you can push it? Didn't you have a special person that you thought, "If only I could make him/her look at me like I meant something." I have a feeling every vampire has tried this, and I have a feeling there is a distinct point where if you aren't careful (and who would be?) you could "break" your new toy. I like this idea; it's horrible, mean and wicked and would be perfect for the story. It could be the fulcrum of the other conflicts. Our character could wake up a vampire, be taught all the rules, and for a bit likes it. Then he wants the affections of X, he tries the vampire mind games and even though warned by others that it just will never work, he continues. He pushes and pushes, and boom, X is now a broken doll. The illusion that he can live this life without causing others undue suffering is shattered, and then all the other conflicts rise up.


As an aside: For an author who treats his characters so meanly you can't get better than Stephen R. Donaldson. What he does with the "Into the Gap" series shouldn't be done to a dog, but it does make for good fiction!

The next level of conflict would be those in active opposition to the vampires. I don't know about this. Vampire hunters are so hoary a cliche. The only thing I can think of to liven it up for this story would be that they are all ex-vampires. I could work with that, instead of killing vampires they want to catch them, immerse them in running water to get rid of the life force, then tie them down and make them go through cold vampire turkey. Basically, it would just be going from one cult to another, but at least that's a bit more intersting than van hellsing around.

Anyway, what do you think?

1 comment:

  1. Nice, again. Some great and playful language in the lay out too! Always a good bonus!!

    Figured some of the conflict would have to come from those that quit the vamping, nice way to bring it in...