Around the 15th of January, 2014, I sat down with my trusty computer and started creating the background for my vampire story. When most people create a story, they do one of two things: They create an outline of what they want to happen, where it is going to be located, what characters are involved, and how they want to wrap it all together. Or, they just sit down and start writing, and let their muse (the creative voice inside them) just go to work and see what happens. I did most of the latter (I let my muse take me where it will, and let the story develop on its own) with a little of the former (I decided to make my vampires different from Bram Stoker, Stephanie Meyer, and all the rest).
The first (and biggest) decision I made was to have my vampires be mostly human; living humans with a twist, not just anthropomorphic supermen. I wanted them to be a little stronger, faster, smarter, and live longer — so I had some supernatural aspects to play with to keep people interested — but I did not want them to be dead, cold, invincible, or immortal. So, I did a little research, added a dash of creativity, and came up with the concept of the Vamparisi.
Vamparisi is my name (conveniently singular and plural) for both the living, breathing human with some vampire-like features and the symbiotic parasite that infests a human during a bite/feeding or other blood transfer, changing him into a Vamparisi over the course of approximately two months time (as the parasite multiplies and settles into the various places I imagined it should in order to effect change in the human host). This allowed me to have enormous freedom over the visible and noticeable features that distinguish humans from Vamparisi, and gave me a “semi-plausible” medical/scientific explanation for how and why they exist.
I believe strongly in the “willing suspension of disbelief“, and believe that it is my job as a writer to make that as effortless as possible for my readers. Some supernatural fiction is so far out there as to make the reader doubt the premise, even if he does not want to, making it more difficult for him to enjoy the story. I did not want to do that. Although my creation is purely fiction, I wanted it to be believable… at least at some fundamental points, so that when I do throw a curve ball that is wild and crazy, the reader can say, “That’s impossible, but the rest feels like it could happen, so I’m going to let it slide.” If the entire thing is unbelievable, then that wild curve ball will sail over the reader’s head and he will start thinking that the whole story is too impossible, too fantastical to enjoy.
The second decision I made was to make the antagonist a “good idea gone wrong,” a good organization based on a solid concept… the leaders of which got a taste of too much power, and they let it corrupt them — or, they created it in its corrupt form and attempted to hide it by wrapping a good, wholesome organization around it, knowing full well what they were doing. The reader will have to decide who is right and who is wrong… and whether the actions of the protagonist go too far and cut too deep, hurting the good instead of purging the evil. I do not make it simple. There is no master villain, nor are the Vamparisi themselves fundamentally evil. In my story, there are good and evil humans and good and evil Vamparisi. And there is a huge twist that you sense somewhere in the middle, but you have no idea of its impact until the end.
This does not mean that I do not have clear themes or that I have created a story too complex to follow. Rather, it is like an onion, with layer upon layer of abstraction that creates depth of meaning and strength of purpose. The reader can decide how much he wants to dig, how far he wants to go in order to understand everything that is Vamparisi.
Finally, my fourteen-year-old protagonist undergoes a harsh journey, rife with joy, pain, hard lessons, poignant wisdom, and devastating setbacks. You will feel his flaws, smile at his wit, marvel at his strength, and cry for his heartbreaking losses. He has to grow up fast, but will it be fast enough?
At this point, you can read the work-in-progress version on Writing.Com. The novel is complete, but I am still working on both the prologue and epilogue. I need to revise it some more, go through a round of editing, and then decide if I will publish it as an e-book or go the classical route and attempt to hunt down a literary agent by writing query letters and playing the waiting game. I have received some amazing reviews so far, but at this point, I am hesitant to claim that it is the next Twilight, however, some people have said that it is better. Read it, and make your own determination.