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Follow the Rules: Part #2 Vamps!

Image by Astrid Rodriguez

In my last post, I discussed the importance of following the rules with the classic monster, Werewolves. I stressed how authors sometimes fail to follow the rules of any classic monster and that if a change is made to these rules, an explanation needs to also be provided as to why. Vampires are no different. If an author were to suddenly change one of the rules that have governed the folklore fans of this monster will instantly wonder why and if no explanation is provided...the story falls flat. Vampires have been around for centuries in mythology and folklore. Over time, the rules that have been established should be followed to portray the monster properly in the pages of any new fiction.

Vampires drink the blood of another to sustain life. This dates back to the infamous Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” and stems from the tale of ‘Vlad the Impaler’ who used to impale his enemies on the battlefield and dip bread into their blood as part of his breakfast. This rule is largely why the vampire is monstrous. If all vampires had were special abilities and needed to stay out of the sunlight, then sympathy as well as a longing to become this would ensue. The fact that they drink the blood of other living things, poses an immediate threat to the well-being of humans.

As mentioned, vampires do not like sunlight. Some turn to ashes, while others grow weak and sickly. Regardless of the overall effect on the vampire, there needs to be something that suggests an aversion to sunlight. This rule has grown from the notion that a vampire is a night creature operating in the dim, darkness of nightfall. Some go so far as to say that since the vampire drains the life force from a living creature, the light, whether religiously invoked or literally brought by the rising sun, is said to give life and to energize; thus operating entirely against the nature of a vampire.

A vampire’s abilities are based upon dark concepts and evil. That said, their unnatural speed, strength, sight, smell, and power over animals give vampires a supernatural edge above normal living creatures. So, religious artifacts, pure metal weapons, and crafted artisan wooden stakes were the weapons of the past and still hold true in modern times. Whatever is used to combat evil, regardless of the culture or religion, could in theory be used against a vampire. When changing these rules, it is crucial to explain why, and if you cannot fully explain it, then DON’T change them.

~Brian Hershey~

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