Friday, January 21, 2011

Vampires, Werwolves and Dragons - Oh My

This evening, a young writer friend of mine asked be a very good question. "why are authors and young writers so fascinated with myth and legends like vampires and werewolves?" I thought it was a pretty good question so I thought I take a shot at answering it.

Not only young writers pick stories involving vampires and werwolves to write about, but I'm sure a lot of them do - at least several of the young writers on Ambitious Writers, Goodreads do. So why would a teenager (or younger) pick something so fantastic to write about? I think it may be because young writers have really very little life experiences to draw on - I mean, the alternative may well be a high school drama, provided they can dramatize it enough to make it interesting enough to be able to weather their way through an entire manuscript.

I say this because I have the same problem writing about my own life. While my life might be totally fascinating to those who read it, for me it is merely my life and though I enjoy sharing it, I need help coming up with the next story. Many high school students merely try to endure high school long enough to graduate, I know I did.

Another reason may be because a young person has really very little control over their own life. Parents decide (usually) what kind of clothes they buy, what kind of food they eat, what they can do with their free time and I'm sure a host of other small things. At school, teachers set up the curriculum and dictate the homework.

With such a controlled environment, and with such close horizons in life, what is there to write about? How about something totally fascinating and fantastic? Something that bears no resemblance to the doldrums of their every-day life? And what could be better than something where the very laws of nature could be changed to suit the story?

Like all writers, young writers need to write, and what better way to help them see and understand the laws of our nature than to let them sculpt their own nature and make it work. Understanding people can come around the same way, vampire, werwolf or human, they all have social issues and life problems beyond their physical issues, which are normal for them of course. Writing about all such things, regardless of the genre you write in, is one way to analyze the people and the society around us. With such analysis comes an understanding of motivations, even if only hypothetical, and such an understanding is vital in order to write a believable story.

So it is my opinion that as young writers grow and mature in their life, so too will their characters grow and mature; they may even out grow their vampireism or lycanthropy. And when young writers already write very good vampire stories, when they finally publish one of them, they can only do awesomely well.


Lisa Kumar said...

Good post, Anna. I think people, young and old, also like the ecapism in paranormal novels. Since daily life often seems normal and not all that exciting, it can be fascinating to create a new world of 'what-if's'.

Anna L. Walls said...

So true, Lisa, so true, and it isn't restricted to paranormal.

Jacqui said...

OK, you sold me on your logic, Anna. I laughed when I read the part--While my life might be totally fascinating to those who read it, for me it is merely my life--no truer words.

Anna L. Walls said...

Good thing, Jacqui. I dreaded I'd sound like a shrink, but I do spend a good deal of time searching for the logic in things. So, do you have a question about my life you'd like to see answered in print? By all means, ask away - I'd love the input.

Debra said...

Great points Anna... How right you are when you say that school offers little in the way of excitement and creative challange for kids(my own interpretation of your words:)