I'm back after a little break (aka reading the final Harry Potter book) and I'm ready to blog again. Today, I wanted to answer a question that a reader that posted over on my LiveJournal.
"Hi Jocelynn :) I think your book sounds really interesting, but do you worry that the market is glutted with vampire novels? I'm throwing some ideas around for a vampire book at the moment, but I feel like every idea I come up with has already been done elsewhere. How do you keep your vampires different from what's already out there?"
Let's take this in some smaller chunks: Do I worry about that the market is glutted with vampire novels?
Yes, sometimes. Urban fantasy as a genre has taken off like a rocket and it continues to soar. There are more vampires novels out there than ever before and it's exciting. And the great thing is that the readers I know who love urban fantasy, who love vampires, are always searching for new authors and new stories. These readers are voracious.
When I was trying to sell my book, I was constantly hearing whispers that the market was saturated and that publishers weren't taking any more vampires books. That simply isn't true. However, what I have heard from several sources is that publishers are growing more selective in what they are buying and it probably has gotten a lot harder for a new author to break into this genre. Yet, with the excitment and love people have for the genre, I think there will be a demand for dark tales of vampires, werewolves, witches, and demons for a very long time.
Battling that "Everything's been done" feeling.
There are a few things that can be done. First, read everything you can get your hands on, old and new. If you want to write about vampires, read across the various genres (urban fantasy, horror, erotica, paranormal romance, science fiction). I wrote short stories with vampires for fun, but before I even considered a novel, I read what was out there. I made notes of what I liked and what I didn't like. And most importantly, I made notes on the holes -- there were somethings that hadn't been tackled yet by other writers-- and that's where I started.
But in truth, I think it was T.S. Eliot that said it (and I'm badly paraphrasing), nothing is new. Everything has been done before. You have to get past the initial inertia and fear. Just start writing.
Second, DETAILS. DETAILS. DETAILS. To make your vampires and world standout, it's all about the details. Know your world and your vampires inside and out. Know the rules about what they can and cannot do. Know the history. Where did they come from? Why are they the way they are (mentally, socially, and physically)? Whether you understand it or not, there are reasons for everything in nature, the same should be for your book. You'll gather a lot of information that will never appear in your stories. However, if you know it and it's written down, it will help insure that your character and world stay consistent.
And finally, can you answer the question: Why a vampire? Is there a specific reason why your character is a vampire instead of human, or witch, or werewolf? Knowing all of this will help you create a better story.
Slightly off topic, but highly adorable, I would like to introduce 2 new members of my family. Over the weekend, I acquired (thanks to the unwavering dedication of my brother) 2 kittens, named Demona (right) and Harley. They're 17 weeks old and are proving to be quite a handful. Right now, we are learning not to stand on the laptop.