I feel slightly silly even attempting to write a definition post about vampires. They have become such a staple of romance fiction that asking “what does a vampire do?” tends get raised eyebrows in return or ‘d’uh!’ back.
But their very popularity raises problems. Hundreds of authors within the romance genre alone have written fiction featuring vampires, and if they’re any sort of a professional at all, they’ve spent time building their vampire world before they wrote about it.
That means there’s hundreds, if not thousands, of different versions of vampire lore and history out there.
The idea of vampires dates back to pre-history. Given that no one is really sure where the first vampire appeared in literature (Bram Stoker borrowed heavily from myth and fairy tales of other cultures and stories already in existence – so even he can’t be called the inventor), there is no one true or correct version of vampires.
There is only a general consensus of what vampires do, and at best, that is a simple summing up: Vampires feed off the life essence of humans. Generally, it is their blood, but that is not always the case.
Everything after that is up to the creativity of the author. Most authors borrow heavily from the structure and universe that Bram Stoker built in Dracula*. But with the genre maturing and readers keen to move on, even those faux-boundaries are being pushed.
So defining what vampires do isn’t quite as simple as you think.
They may even not have fangs.
Just think how interesting vampires can be if they moved on from Dracula’s Victorian corsetry and rules.
Have you read any romances lately where the vampires didn’t play by rules you were familiar with? Tell us in the comments section.
*[Dracula is free for Kindle at Amazon. Click here.]