Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Vampires - will they ever die?

So Nathan Bransford has a question up on his blog asking whether the big Vampire trend is over. As you can see from the response section, a lot of people have weighed in on the subject and it got me thinking about Vampires.

My thought is this. If the writing's good, if it pulls me in, and makes me forget everything else, than I don't can whether the characters are dead, undead, alive or somewhere in between. Just give me a good story. I want to love the people I'm reading about. I want to think about them long after I close the book.

For me, that means a character has to be multi-dimensional. Not just some chick in skin tight leather and six inch heels who's mad at the world. Unfortunately, in Urban Fantasy, that's a lot of what's out there right now and for me, it's just boring.

I brought a couple of books with me when we were in China and after months of reading eighteenth century British Lit, I was ready to read for fun. I grabbed some books off of my TBR list and one of them happened to be a Vampire book (no, I'm not saying which one.) Now there were a lot of good points about the book. There was conflict, interesting description and a bit of an interesting twist. However, the main characters were all one dimensional (see above comment about leather and unresolved anger issues.) I was so disappointed I left the book in China. I NEVER leave books behind.

If your MC MUST wear leather and has obvious anger management issues, TELL ME WHY!!! Maybe s/he is covered in scars and wears leather not only to cover the scars, but because it offers more protection than jeans and an oxford. Maybe before he was a Vampire, he was a Hell's Angel and wearing leather is his only tie to the humanity he's left behind.

If your MC is mad, tell me why? Is s/he mad because she's a vampire and anger is inherent to vampire nature? If so, show her struggling with that anger. Show her going out of control and hurting people she cares about. I don't know. I don't care. Just make it work for the character, because right now it seems like angry, leather clad Vampires are de'rigeur and if I read about another one, I'm going to throw the book across the room! (I know, I know, book throwing = anger issues.)

Bottom line. A good character, is a good character, is a good character, whether they're an evil vampire, a werewolf searching for redemption, or just a traveling salesman. (Hmm, Willy Loman as a Vampire...maybe the next big thing?)

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Return, Part II

Okay, so maybe I was a bit premature in declaring that I was back. Obviously, I'm not completely into the swing of things yet. For a full account of the past couple of weeks, jump over to Little Knippers.) But fear not, I have a plan. As long as I can wrestle my 12 year old for some computer time, I'm going to alternate days updating my blogs. So, theoretically, this blog should be updated again on Tuesday. That's the plan at least.

So back into the writing world. I've started re-writing my WIP and it's rough. Really rough. When I write the first draft, I don't know where I'm going, I wander down rabbit trails (sometimes following the big bunny who jumps out and says, "I'm late. I'm late for a very important date!" is productive, sometimes it's just weird,) I make lots and lots of mistakes. My first drafts are messy. As an example, I was reading over a chunk that I originally planned to have in the opening, and found my ending scene about 40 pages in. Good news for the ending as I hadn't figured it out yet, bad news for the giant hole I now have in the beginning.

Also, I've figured out the title. For the second book. That's right. Not the WIP, the second in the series. It's a really cool title and I love it, but what I really need is one for the FIRST book. Obviously my brain is not linear. For more evidence of that, what kind of crazy does it take to adopt a 12-yr-old AFTER you have a 6, 5, and 4 year old at home? So my oldest child is my last child. Try to wrap yourself around that one.

As I've mentioned before, writing is like quilting for me. A square here, a square there, then I piece them all together. Messy, but fun. So I'm in the piecing stage and hope to finish it by mid-May.

Until Tuesday,

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

I'm back!

So I'm home and officially writing again. YAY! That means my life is somewhat back to normal. As usual, I bought a new notebook and packed it in my carry-on luggage for the trip to China, and as usual, didn't write a word. But I'm not worried about it. If this was a vacation, I'd be concerned (I write even while on vacation - do some of my best work there) but international adoption is anything BUT a vacation, despite what many people think (and then feel compelled to tell us.) Yes, you get to travel to a different country and really soak in the culture, but you are jet lagged and have a new child who in most cases has never seen a westerner before. There's culture shock on both sides to work through and the stress of adding another member to your family. It's a rough trip. The only thing that made it easier this time, was that I've done it twice before.

Adopting special needs kids is parenting's version of extreme sports, except the ride never stops. Since coming home, I've made three trips to the doctor's with various kids, sat for the day in the emergency room at Children's Hospital, made up the Knipper version of ACSL (American/Chinese sign language), enrolled Sarah in school, and sat for hours in front of the computer with her while we tried to talk back and forth on freetranslation.com. As you can imagine, there has not been much time for literary pursuits. However, that's about to change!

Sarah starts school on Thursday (interesting since she doesn't speak English!) so I will finally have a moment to myself. Add to that I lost my job (yuck) and I will have even more free time. I know, having four kids and grad school eats up some (okay, most) of that free time, but hey, I'll take what I can get.

Anyway, the point is, I'm back and I'm writing!