Wednesday, 19 October 2011

National Write a Novel Month and Musings About Vampires

So I bit the bullet and entered NaWriNoMo (this: www.nanowrimo.org), which I suspect is either going to break me or be really fun.

I have a nice idea for a story, a sort of mashed up post apocalypse vampire murder mystery thing that I think will work. I've done some prep work for it, in so far as I have a plot and a protagonist and know the basics of the world but otherwise I'm going in cold aside from a bunch of ideas for scenes.

Looking at it, I think that as long as I can hit about 10,000 words a week I should do alright though there may not be much in the way of editing. If the story works I may try to keep the momentum up for another month to double the length and then spend January editing the manuscript to Hell and back again, but it's all a matter of waiting and seeing at the moment.

It feels a bit strange that I'm writing vampires at all, to be honest. For a long time I've felt burnt out on them. There have been too many bad movies and books with too few characters that stood out as exciting and compelling (to me anyway, your mileage may vary). In some ways too, just the sheer volume of media that features vampires has left me a bit cold and it felt like they were being turned into soft porn for women and teenage girls, through things like Twilight and the True Blood novels and when you get to the stage that what sets your vampires apart is that they sparkle the cynical part of me wonders how far we are from bringing back Count Chocula breakfast cereal. Add in the fact that many of the stories still use the image of the strong, alpha male as a desirable, masterful, vampire and it makes me wonder how far we've really come from the shadow of Lord Ruthven and Count Dracula.

This isn't to say that I loathe everything that has vampires in, I'm currently reading Sam Stone's Zombies in New York and Other Bloody Jottings and have found her take on vampires very interesting, not least for the fact that her protagonist Lucretia is an elder who isn't jaded and cynical (or at least not to the extent of most elders seem to be) and there isn't the sense that she's seen it all before, which is refreshing.

I've also enjoyed Poppy Z Brite's Lost Souls and Kim Newman's Anno Dracula series and I'm really looking forward to reading both Sam Stone's and Raven Dane's vampire novels once I've ploughed through some other books (I have a ridiculously big reading pile). Also, despite playing them for years and years, dating back to when I started gaming back in the 1990s, to the extent that there was a period where it felt like there was always a game of Vampire the Masquerade going on, I still have a soft spot for White Wolf's Vampire games.

Even so it seemed a bit strange that when I sat down and started to think about the Write a Novel in a Month initiative (I'm not really sure what to call it to be honest) the first thing that bubbled up out of my head was a vampire story. I don't mind but, as I say, it seemed odd. That being said, I'm quite enjoying the challenge of not only creating a novel in a month but also trying to write something compelling with a monster I think is so over used.

I have a few bits to tidy up before I get started so the next week and a bit will be quite a rush but then, well we'll just have to see.