The Whole Vampire Thing
Okay, guys. It’s confession time: I read Twilight. Not only did I read Twilight, but I also read New Moon and Eclipse and Breaking Dawn. I’m not proud. My little sister was about eleven at the time, and she’s about the farthest thing in my family from a reader. So when she was giddy with the excitement of finding out what happened to Bella and Edward, I was just happy to see her reading. I wanted to support her. I wanted to give her someone to talk about the books with (which is something I often wish I had), so I borrowed her copies of the books as she finished with them. And since this is confession time, I have to admit that I really enjoyed the first book. The second one was less fun for me — I thought Bella was waaaaaay to distraught — and by the third book, I was rolling my eyes almost constantly. Seriously, I was getting headaches. My sister still bemoans the way I laughed every time the word “Renesme” appeared in the (thankfully) final book of the saga.
The thing is, I could totally understand my sister’s fascination with the Twilight books. After all, I was watching horror movies with her since before she could string together a sentence. She loves creepy, kooky, dangerous fiction almost as much as I do. And I had my own version of vampire love when I was a teenager: Anne Rice’s Interview With the Vampire. I read it the summer I turned sixteen, while I was spending the summer at my aunt’s house in Florida. She lent her copy to me and I remember being rapt. I was up late flipping pages, re-reading passages. The eerie gorgeousness of the characters, the danger, the immortality — they call to a young girl. And while Interview With the Vampire is infinitely less ridiculous and better-written than the Twilight saga, it spoke to me the same way Twilight spoke to my little sister.
The reason I bring it up is because last night (after watching an episode of South Park making fun of Twi-hards) I had the most fascinating dream about vampires. I won’t go into all the details, because I don’t want to confuse myself, but it started out at Fright Fest at Six Flags and ended in a dusty old Victorian mansion, and somewhere in between, I found myself taking notes for a novel WHILE STILL DREAMING. This is an important point: Most of what I have actually written and finished in my life came from a dream. My last novel and tons of short stories were all inspired by vivid dreams from which I could not escape upon waking. So the fact that my dream self was scribbling down notes about the dream for a novel is majorly symbolic to me. It’s like my Muse is shaking my shoulders and screaming, “This is it, you idiot! Write this down!”
We all know I am shopping for a new novel idea. I thought I had one worked out, but I just couldn’t get into writing it. I’ve been really getting into sci-fi lately. I’ve found that I enjoy reading it more than almost anything else, that it yanks me into its pages and won’t let me go until the story is over. Plus, it’s Halloween, my absolute favorite time of the year in almost every way. And I’m writing a ghost story. So it’s not really surprising that this is the sort of idea I would come up with right now. So what’s the big hang up?
It’s this: Vampires are just so damned trendy.
I have never, never, never been into trends. Jumping on the bandwagon is just not my thing. And I can make myself feel better by saying that I’ve always loved vampires and creepy crawlies and zombies and werewolves and whatnot, but that doesn’t change the fact that the vampire thing is sooooo popular right now that it’s almost hard to take anything with vampires in it seriously (True Blood aside, folks — I will take no dissing of True Blood).
That said, I have also never been one to ignore my instincts. I have tried at times, lord, have I tried, but every time I ignore the whisper in the back of my head the whisper becomes a giant, steel-toed boot and kicks my ass until I do what it said in the first place. So there’s a very good chance that in the next year you fine people will start seeing new excerpts based on this here dream I had last night.
If I can figure out how to make it NOT about vampires.