Redefining Evil, Writing Journey

Why I Will Never Write Vampires Again

Let this entry be a testament to the fact that I, Mary Stewart, am well aware that vampires in “literature” have awful stigma. Furthermore, while I believe that “Redefining Evil” has a lot to offer to the reader and that it stands apart in some ways from a lot of the vampire/paranormal stories that boil down to little more than meaningless erotic trash, offering the reader theological food for thought and substantial relationships and struggles, I also believe that this is not a direction that I will continue to pursue. I will not be the next Amelia Atwater-Rhodes because, as far as I am concerned, “Redefining Evil” will be the last time that I ever professionally deal with vampires.

It’s sad, but frequently when introducing “Redefining Evil” I find myself ducking my head and admitting bashfully, “It’s a vampire story…” I feel undignified and desperate to regain my credibility.

I think that the reasons for this phenomenon are complex. When I began preparing to pitch “Redefining Evil,” it was:

  • Because of the Twi-craze
  • Because I was still sort of goth, and really into the supernatural and the darkness
  • Because manga was really big, and “Redefining Evil” had pretty solid roots therein
  • Because the story is a justification, and a manifestation, of my faith and my fiction intersecting

    But now “Twilight” is passé, and it’s common knowledge that the series has grown to be relatively difficult to respect. There are plenty of places that offer evidence to that fact. I no longer wear black with the intention of looking creepy. Manga is on its way out. And my faith…well.

    Additionally and most importantly, “Redefining Evil” is the only thing of its kind that I have written. It does not characterize my writing. I mean — my other stories include a tale about a fairy catcher; a girl and a wolf and the world from which he came; the conflict between a river and a forest king and the stars that are to blame; and most recently a feminist trilogy about a sunless world that deals with sexuality, patriarchy, independence, political conspiracy, etc. While this might not be a great thing, none of them are as dark as “Redefining Evil.” There’s less anger and less bloodshed. Even if I intend to take my writing back to a deeper, darker level in the future, using vampires to achieve that end is not part of my plan. I would rather experiment with an infinite number of other subject matters than write some sort of paranormal romance using mythological figures that should be totally grotesque and lack sex appeal entirely.

    Writing about nasty shit like vampires just has absolutely no interest to me. As evident in some of my brainstorming on this page, it didn’t really interest me even when I started writing it. Now that I’ve had some time to withdraw from the world of the Evereauxs and Danyil Kaehn, I can’t really say I miss them. I love the cast of RE dearly and they have left quite a heavy mark on my adolescence, but I’ve moved on.

    So…the question is: how do I salvage my writing career and make sure that RE doesn’t define the future of my publications? I think one way is through posts like this.

  • 2 thoughts on “Why I Will Never Write Vampires Again”

    1. I think that being AWARE is half the battle. While I can’t speak “for” them, no one I am aware of set out to “make” a series. They did, for the most part, simply GROW as the author wrote.

      I know another author who fought the process every inch of the way and has, as far as his fans go, disappeared into oblivion and doesn’t seem likely to come back.

      Other writers are “forced” to rewrite the same thing over and over and over again — witness David Weber and Joel Rosenberg. Even Lois McMasters Bujold and Orson Scott Card only managed to break their careers into TWO series. CS Lewis managed more than that as did Octavia Butler.

      So — once RE hits the shelves and you gather a following about you, your FANS (and yes, there will be some besides your friends!) will beg you for more and then create fanfic sites to explore what THEY want your beloved characters to do. Remember what Elijah House says about making vows! So — if the ore has been mined, then fine, leave it behind. BUT if you discover that there’s a seam you forgot about or that suddenly appears after the rain and snow erodes a few layers of sediment away, then don’t be afraid to go back into the shaft and dig it out…

    2. Ooooooh my goodness. I love RE, and I love those characters. But I totally agree with absolutely everything you’ve said in this. And I can’t wait to see what else your imagination turns out! 🙂 The vampire days were fun, but those days are done. (RE is still incredible though!)

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