How Do I Avoid ALL of the Vampire Tropes and Clichés When Writing About Vampires?

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How do you avoid ALL of the Vampire tropes and clichés when writing about Vampires?

You can’t.

Seriously, you can’t.  If you have a story idea, just write it.  Yes, it has all been done and said before, especially if it involves vampires.  Or dystopian futures.  Or romance.  Or aliens. Or magic.  Or pretty much everything you can think of.

Who cares?  Do you have an idea?  A twist?  Are you mixing in science?  Or back to gothic supernatural?  Horror?  Something lighter?  Does it sound like it would be fun to write?  Then write it.  Later you can decide if it is useable or publishable.  People love this stuff for a reason, and a good story is always a good story.  Just don’t tell the same old story in the same old way.  Tell YOUR version.  Don’t you realize that EVERYBODY ELSE GOT IT WRONG!

I follow a couple of writer’s  Facebook pages, and I keep seeing questions like the title of this blog (or similar questions), over and over.  I used to comment, but I was one of many voices, and lost in the landslide of opinion.  Now, I just shake my head and scroll past.

Your choices are to not write about vampires at all, or just get in there and mix things up.  Play with the tropes.  Joke about them, and laugh with the reader.  Or make them scary, again.  Turn ideas on their head, inside out and upside down.  Build a world with hard and fast rules, or merely guidelines.  Find the source material and mine out the purest elements.  Take the mythology apart for the parts you want, and ignore what doesn’t work for you.

It doesn’t matter who or how many have written about vampires before.  Nobody else in the world has the exact personal mythology as you.  It is made up of all of the stories you have come across, real and fictional, liked or not, and the order they arrived in your life.  You are different from everyone else. Books, movies, family secrets, TV, conversations, cultural traditions, arguments, lucky happenings, personal tragedies; they all affect how YOU see the world.

Tropes and clichés–as annoying as they can be–are our shared mythology.  Don’t fear them.  They are your friends.  They show us that we are similar enough to understand each other, but different enough to learn from each other’s point of view.  They link us to people we have never met.

Don’t let writing what you love make you afraid of being repetitive.  Write the story you want to read.  If you decide you want to be published, then revise and edit to current standards.  It’s hard work, so decide if it’s worth it.

Just remember lots of people won’t like it , no matter what it is.  Make peace with that, or tell them to feck off, whichever is your style.  Hopefully, you will find an audience that loves the world and characters you created, and beg you for more.

Most importantly, and in the words of Noah Lukeman, “Don’t bore the reader.”

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4 thoughts on “How Do I Avoid ALL of the Vampire Tropes and Clichés When Writing About Vampires?

  1. I think too many people confuse tropes with clichés, and they’re NOT the same thing. A story with NO vampire tropes wouldn’t be a vampire story. A trope is just a recognizable story element, and can be rather complex with uncountable possible variations that are still recognizable as what they are. If your “vampire” has NONE of the recognizable traits associated with vampires, why even call that character a vampire instead of making up a new term?

    If someone wants examples of stories that are, technically, vampire stories but don’t use the most COMMON tropes in the most usual ways, I recommend some novels by C. S. Friedman: The Coldfire Trilogy, the Magister Trilogy (the former is fantasy on the surface but with science fiction underpinnings, and the latter is straight-up fantasy), and the stand-alone SF novel The Madness Season.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yes! Thank you for that point! I ended up linking tropes and clichés together because they’ve become synonymous in so many minds, but I really should have clarified the difference! (I was in a roll, I guess.)

      Also, thank you for the book suggestions. So many really good books get missed.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I do agree that whatever one wants to write about has already been done, and the trick is to put your own spin on it.
    What I would like to add is that there are certain types of cliches that should be avoided like the plague; The sentences that have been beaten like a dead horse:
    “It’s dark (quiet, spooky, creepy…) in here.” “Yeah TOO dark (quiet, spooky, creepy…).”
    “I’ve got a baaaaaad feeling…”
    even “How’s that working out for you?”
    If you’ve heard it a hundred times, or even just three, find a new way to express the feeling. Use your own and don’t rely on how someone else said it. The English language, and especially American English, is a mishmash of so many others. It is diverse enough to find a multitude of ways to say the same thing. Even if you just mix the words around.
    A great informative post here, Danae! Keep it up!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks! I appreciate the feedback.
      As for those all-to-familiar phrases, I’ll cut an author SOME slack, but eventually I’ll figure out they don’t have their own voice, and not bother to pick them back up. (Don’t bore the reader!)

      Liked by 1 person

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