In my (unpublished) supernatural-thriller series, some of my characters are actually vampires. When I was writing about them, Twilight was just getting big. For the longest time I battled with the idea of changing my story and eliminating the vampire angle completely. But doing that would mean I’d have to alter all the other stories, too. I eventually decided to keep the vampires, because I figured my books would be published well after the Twilight hype is over. Plus, my vampires are vastly different from Stephenie Meyer’s vampires. I went so far as to invent my own creation story for vampires. As a mythology buff, that was a lot of fun!
TIP #1: Study vampire lore to make characters vampire lovers will appreciate. But that doesn’t mean you can’t get creative.
Check out this Wikipedia list to compare notes and help you to decide what you want to do with your vampires.
Now here are 15 things to consider when you create vampire characters:
Come up with unique names for your vampires to make them stand out from any human characters you might have in your story. You don’t have to think extreme, but do better than Bob. Bob would be a sad vampire.
What age do your vampires look? (This will be whatever age they were bitten.) And how old are they really? Vampires are immortal, so a vampire that looks to be 21 years old can actually be 210 years old.
Give your vampire classic vampire traits such as pale skin. (Even a vampire with a dark complexion can still appear paler than normal. After all, a vampire is the living dead, and a person’s skin color changes with death.) You can also play with other characteristics of corpses such as blue lips and glazed eyes. If they live in the real world, though, let them wear disguises (sunglasses, long sleeves) so their differences can’t be noticed. And don’t forget the fangs!
A vampire isn’t a vampire unless it drinks blood. Don’t neglect this aspect. Even a vampire who refuses to attack and kill humans still needs to get blood from somewhere whether its animals like rats and pigs, or by stealing from blood banks. You can also show your vampire eating real food.
Vampires don’t come out during the day. In vampire lore, vampires are said to sleep during the day and wake as the sun goes down. At night, they prowl and “live.” If they do come out during the day, it would be when the sun’s rays are safe behind a thick layer of clouds, or with the help of magic.
Vampires have many cravings from blood to sex. Make your vampires sensual and give them the opportunity to enjoy many pleasures.
All characters, even immortal ones, should have weaknesses. The biggest weakness for a vampire is the sun. When the sun’s rays touch them, they burn. Other weaknesses tend to be fire, and according to lore, stakes. A weakness can even be a person such as a parent, sibling, or lover.
Vampires inherit abilities from speed and agility to super hearing and vision. Take advantage of these whenever you can.
Common characteristics a vampire can have are fearlessness and anger. He/she can be extra indulgent, dark and mysterious. But you can always change things up and create a happy, funny vampire. That’ll be different!
How was your vampire turned? Who bit him/her to initiate the change? These are two very important questions you need to answer and tell your readers.
5 Extra Things to Consider:
· Where does your vampire live?
· Is your vampire part of a clan? (Is he/she a leader, King/Queen, or a loner?)
· What does your vampire do? (Is he/she a hunter? Does he/she work at night for a company, or live freely with no binds?
· What was your vampire before he/she was turned? (A mother/father? What was his/her job as a human?)
· Does he/she have a love interest? (This would be a major part of the plot.)
TIP #2: Read Dracula by Bram Stocker and other vampire books by Anne Rice, Anita Blake, and J.R Ward. Also, watch movies like Queen of the Damned, Underworld, and Daybreakers.
TIP #3: Check out Natasha Duncan’s blog for her April A to Z Challenge, which was dedicated to vampires. You’ll learn so much from her posts.
QUESTION: If you’re a vampire fan, who writes your favorite vampire books?