Since the advent of the Twilight series the entire country as well as some others, have been gaga over vampires. I have to admit, I've read each and every one of the the books and enjoyed them too. Interview With a Vampire was a great movie, Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt did a great job! Oh, and how cute was little Kirsten Dunst? She really did look just like a little doll. Now there has been an even bigger onslaught of the undead set. Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining, merely stating facts. Many publishing houses and agents specify these days NO VAMPIRES....well....this is a good and a bad thing. Let me explain before I get mean mugging via comments and emails. Bear (bare-depending on how you see this particular cliche) with me here.
Let's start with the arguement for the banning of vampires being good:
Well, as authors we want to sell books. Heck, let's admit it outright! Granted there is a few authors that write for the sheer joy of writing. There are authors that write both for the sheer joy as well as hoping they can make a living from their craft. So on and so on. There are as many breeds of authors as there are varieties of vampire depictions out there. Publishers and agents are worried about the business end of things. I'm not ranting and raving about a publisher's or agent's right to make a living, I promise you this. In fact here I'm defending that right. They work darned hard to get our works out there, we literally owe them our livings. Now, having clarified that point, let's get down to the brass tacks. When a publisher and an agent both say that they can't sell vamp stories, by golly I believe them. They know....they've been there done that and have seen what's out there for us. For those of us that aren't the altruistic type, that would love to make some money (even if it's a little bit) it behooves us to believe them as well. This is an argument for the good.
Now....on the other side the bad (publishers and agents that read this, please don't be offended, I'm merely pointing out something in my opinion):
The reason I think that it's bad that vamp stories have had a moratorium placed on them, is because there are so many more directions that people can take the stories. How can people make something more out of something that's been done since the fifties and told throughout the generations you might ask? Well, let's take those examples that I cited above. Twilight-Stephenie Meyers....she made Edward and company glitter in the sun rather than go up in a puff of smoke. This I found to be interesting, and brilliant on screen (literally, like a brilliant diamond) when it was portrayed. Ms. Meyers followed her theme from beginning to end. She made up the rules for her vamps and she stuck to them like gangbusters. Her portrayal was one that hadn't truly been done before. Granted, relationships between mortals/vamps have been done before, but not done the way in which she had done them. At least not until I read all four of her books on the subject. Going again to Interview With a Vampire, and Anne Rice's portrayal of vamps. Opposite ends of the spectrum. Initially she stuck with much of the tradition they burn in the sun, they live in the underground systems as a group and things like that, but there was that added difference of the one vamp wanting to tell his story to a mortal to get everything off his chest. Now that was an interesting little twist. Of course I couldn't resist the fact that she made his choice of cities to spill his story was in San Francisco. LOVED that little part (hee hee...what can I say, I'm a sucker for the city I adore!) My point is, these stories have something similar in that they are both about vampires, the vampires pretty much have the same diet--blood of some sort (whether human or animal--which incidentally was portrayed in both), and they are inevitably pretty (who would argue that with me having seen either movie or read either book?). Ultimately their rules ended up very differently. These authors took something that could have been classified as blase and turned it into something you'd stop and think about and not confuse the two. That's the best part about writing fiction, you have the ability to take something that people have been handing down in stories for generations and retelling it in such a way as to catch a new audience's attention.
My point through all of this rambling is that even if there are subjects that SEEM to be overdone, to me they are challenges that are begging me to find a different way to treat them. Have them do something out of the ordinary that isn't typical. To cite an example of that is a new web TV series that I've been watching lately Vampire Mob (http://www.vampiremob.com/), the guy is a vampire, but he's a mobster too. That's something that hasn't really been done before. Now there is someone that took the time to twist something seemingly familiar and make an audience for it.
My challenge to you now is to take something you think has been "overdone", research it, write down the ways that you have seen it treated and see if there isn't some way that you could put a clever twist to it. It's working for how people are portraying vampires....maybe there's some other mythical, horror, or even made up creature that you can do the same thing to. Who knows, you might have fun and even sell something "new and improved"?