Before we start, look at the graph on this blog tracking the meteoric rise of Vampire Romance by number of titles per year over 10 years.
I found this via the following post on Twitter which I retweeted (I don't know who Michele Hauf retweeted here):
RT @michelehauf: RT Track the meteoric rise of vampire romance over the past decade at VampChix! http://bit.ly/ycx0r
That's a shortened URL going to the whole blog - the long URL above goes directly to the specific post with the graph that tells it all.
And if you haven't investigated my Vampire Romances, take a look at http://www.simegen.com/writers/luren/ to sample free chapters and look at what other Romance writers have said (I can still post more comments if you have any you want linked back to your own website.)
OK, now that you've done your interesting homework, come to class, sit in your chair, fold your hands and prepare to be bored out of your mind with one of my insanely long posts -- which is worse this time because I have to brag or there's no way to make this point, and the point is really, really abstract and you probably don't want to know, and maybe it really ought to be kept a deep, dark secret.
--------Skip If You Know All About Archetypes-------
We've discussed archetypes before, and I've always assumed everyone knows what they are and how they work and why. But maybe not. If you know all about archetypes you can skip this section of this post and still understand the point. Look for the dashed-line divider below that says SKIP THIS SECTION IF. to see if you need to read that section. That would be two whole sections of this monster that you can skip and still get the point.
The thing with archetypes is that they don't look like whatever manifestation you're seeing them inside of.
They don't seem "real" and have no absolute specifics about them. It takes some practice to walk the world and spot interacting archetypes in the people around you and their biographies.
People are so different, no two alike, and the differences matter to us. The similarities, not so much.
How can you say one person is "just another version" of another person?
But that's what successful Romance Writers (and other genre writers) do to make their characters (and dialogue) Flashburn into reader's Memory.
Some really successful writers don't even know (and shouldn't know) they're doing that at all.
Learning a little (very little) bit of Astrology can help sort the world around you into archetypes, but that's the lazy woman's way of learning it.
You can't make a diagram of an archetype (though that's what Tarot cards are and that works for some people). You can't do an animated gif to show what archetypes are. They aren't tangible or visible.
Archetypes are psychological patterns of non-manifested FORCE or ENERGY. They are templates for reality, not reality itself.
Yes, an archetype is a little like a web page template. It's not the template that matters to the page visitor, it's the color, sound, motion, words, videos, links, that make this page different from that page, and that is all that matters to a visitor, "what's here that's different from what's there."
But web designers know that what makes all the content accessible and high-impact on visitors (stopping surfers mid-click), conveying the meaning that is within the content is the underlying pattern, the design, the composition, the template.
Fictional characters are just like web pages in that sense.
If the template design shows through you get a stereotype. If the template design does not show through, you get a living, breathing, psyche-penetrating, communicating, real character who seems like a real person and "lives" in the reader's memory, dreams, and even manifests in their lives (yes, I have testimonials from my readers about how my characters have affected their real life decisions and results - to the good, thankfully!)
New writers need to learn to percieve this dual level of reality (template vs. content) because what matters to people is the specific manifestation of the archetype, not the archetype itself. "Happiness" is achieving a specific manifestation of whatever archetype is operating in life (and none of the other possibilities within the archetype), and nobody cares what the archetype is as long as the specific desired manifestation appears.
People and thus characters prefer to ignore the fact that an archetype encompasses their reality. It's irrelevant. They want what they want.
For example: In Astrology, Tarot and in Archetypes, there is no distinction between "winning" and "losing" -- between succeeding and living or failing and dying. These are polar opposites to us living beings, but irrelevant distinctions on the level of archetypes.
I'll leave you with that concept for a while because it's so nonsensical to our ordinary consciousness it takes a while to sink in. But it's the main clue you will need to understand a couple of future points I hope I can make on this blog.
Archetypes exist on the astral plane, or in Kabbalah Yesod represented by The Moon in astrology.
The best show-don't-tell I've ever seen for "the astral plane" was the Star Trek: The Original Series episode SHORE LEAVE (also written by Theodore Sturgeon, one of my favorite authors and I knew him well enough to know that he understood the astral plane well enough to have encoded it in this episode deliberately, though I don't know if he did.)
Here's a reminder about the episode on Wikipedia.
What you think, wish, dream, what just crosses your mind, what you subconsciously fear or want, becomes MANIFEST on the astral plane. Your psyche is the template, and energizes your personal reality. On the Astral Plane, anything you want (or fear or don't want) will surround you.
The Kabbalistic trick is to understand that the astral plane is the foundation of our actual concrete everyday reality. And our reality actually is influenced starkly by what we think, dream, feel, and subconsciously hold dear.
Archetypes are the pattern of illusion and delusion, and they're plastic.
In addition to your personal manifestations of archetypes in your own life, archetypes have attributes defined by the human Group Mind that downloads and pours content into them, content that is displayed on that Group Mind's homepage.
Maybe all archetypes are eternal and the same ones arise wherever humans are. The Magician. The Mage. The Vampire. The Maiden. The Mother. The Crone. The King. The Queen. The Youth. The Outsider. The Alienated Hero. The Warrior. The Shaman.
Which are you living inside? Living with? Playing publically?
You can recognize archetypes manifest in something you're familiar with. A badly handled archetype becomes a stereotype, just as a badly handled "foreshadowing" becomes "telegraphing."
Last week we discussed Sharon Green's WARRIOR WITHIN starring Terrilian.
http://aliendjinnromances.blogspot.com/2009/11/astrology-just-for-writers-part-6.html (which post is mis-named, it is Astrology part 7)
Remember what we discussed and think about The Female Warrior Archetype - Amazon? - Marion Zimmer Bradley's Renunciates?
Archetypes do change how they manifest over generations. Yet the more they change the more they stay the same. Still, the available options you may choose from in your life or your novels change with the Group Mind.
You can change your options list by changing what Group Mind you belong to. Think about how a person can change when they do something drastic in their life - such as a religious conversion, joining the Army, graduating and leaving the "old neighborhood" losing touch with all the kids from class and finding new friends among co-workers. Consider a Rock Star fan who moons&moans, then cuts loose and goes Groupie, following the star around the world, associating with the Star's friends and forgetting family. Same person: different manifestation.
Today the female image has shifted markedly from where it was in, say, the 1940's before women contributed to the USA winning World War II. Now some women have become (or been brainwashed into becoming) suicide bombers, and there are more acts of violence against women in TV fiction than ever before since anyone started counting violence on TV. But at the same time, women are combat trained and gaining combat stripes in the armed forces, rising to high rank where that was prohibited before.
Something is changing in our Group Mind, and that change is accelerating.
But that's all very theoretical and abstract. Worse, that quick reprise doesn't even scratch the surface of what we can see once we are able to sort the world around us out into archetype and manifestation. But seeing doesn't accomplish much.
What can we do with this concept of the archetype?
Can we make our Group Mind change its mind about Relationships, and thus consequently about the merit of the Romance Genre in general and all its variants in particular, and possibly even the entire notion of what constitutes "peace" in this world?
----SKIP THIS NEXT SECTION IF...--------
...blatant bragging offends you or if you're already familiar with the origin of the Sime~Gen Universe novels and all the Star Trek connections underlying them, and how this all spawned Vampire Romance.
You can happily skip this section, and still probably get the point anyway. Scroll down to the next line of dashes where it says POINT.
In the Bantam paperback STAR TREK LIVES! on which I was the primary author, we discussed the then popular theory that "Spock" was actually a new Archetype - The Alienated Hero but heroic because of Intelligence not Brawn. In retrospect, it's clear that Spock actually raised the prestige profile of the Geek, the outcast Class Brain. Spock was considered sexy! The Group Mind attitude toward the Geek, The Brain, the Egghead changed in much the way we would like to see the prestige profile of the Romance Genre raised.
It's unclear whether the Archetype illustrated by Spock caused the change, or emerged because of the change sparked by Star Trek -- possibly this Group Mind/ Archetype Manifestation process is as interactive as the manifestation of Violence on TV vs. Violence in Society. Think of bootstrapping, or climbing the inside of a rock chimney. It's not either/or. It's a little this, a little that, until change manifests.
Smart men weren't considered sexy in the 1960's, any more than smart women were attractive.
The book STAR TREK LIVES! (which was published in 1975, six years after my first SF story sale and a year after House of Zeor, my first novel) blew the lid on Star Trek fandom and brought in (via the Star Trek Welcommittee) hoards of new fan writers brim full of stories to tell.
Some of those new fan writers had grown up reading Romance and though they may have watched the same TV screen with the men in the room, these women saw a different Star Trek. They saw hot romance sizzling in the background and sub-text of every scene, and that is what they wrote about in fanzines.
They literally invented from scratch what has become the genre of SFR or Science Fiction Romance.
The first Inspirational Science Fiction Romance is posted for free reading at
And as published Relationship Driven HEA Trek, they lured many readers into the genre until it finally (after several sad failures) burst into the Romance genre scene with THE VAMPIRE ROMANCE.
What has VAMPIRE ROMANCE to do with SFR? With Science Fiction?
Vampires are FANTASY. Paranormal. Aren't they?
Vampires are supernatural EVIL, so they have to be FANTASY right?
Vampires can't be Science Fiction?
Vampires are Horror. That's the vampire archetype. Right?
How many posts have I done on this blog explaining the paradigm and trope underlying genre fiction, and how a new writer breaks that trope at peril of life, limb, reputation and career?
Romance trope requires the couple find each other attractive (if not at first; eventually). Real attraction often first manifests as repulsion, and that makes a good Romance, but ultimately it must transmute into an attraction the reader can relate to.
And how can anyone love something EVIL?
Evil isn't sexy.
Oh, our predecessors soooo lacked imagination!
Or did they?
When and where did SFR and romantic Vampires actually begin?
Margaret Carter, one of our staunch contributors on this blog is the expert on the history of Vampire literature, so I'll let her point you to the answers on that. It was actually longer ago than you might think.
Major classics of Great Literature aside, though, look again at that graph I pointed you to at the beginning of this post.
It only goes back to 1997 which is ancient history for most readers of this blog. But I'm discussing the manifestations of the Vampire archetype in the 1960's, 1970's, and 1980's. That graph would not be parabolic had there not been 30 years of cultivating of the Group Mind's taste before 1997.
The Romance mass paperback publishers found there was a sudden market in a certain age group for Vampire Romance.
The Vampire did, however, turn off a lot of romance readers.
It disturbs people. Even today you say "I write Vampire stories" in a full room and listen telepathically and you'll hear "Evil" and all the religious people will leave the room or try to convert you.
OK, so the Romance publishers started putting VAMPIRE ROMANCE or something similar on the spines of those certain, slightly different, romances -- romances with a supernatural dimension, edgy romances flirting with the issue of Evil -- to warn off their more sensitive readers.
Meanwhile, in Science Fiction and the budding Fantasy field (yes, before STAR TREK fanfic, there really wasn't much of an adult Fantasy field - "adult" not meaning graphic sex scenes, but fantasy that was not aimed at 10 year olds) there was a flood of Vampire novels published.
Concurrent with the Science Fiction genre was the Horror Genre, often confused with SF, and most all the Vampire novels ended up labeled Horror even those with Good Vampire Heroes. That was when I started reading a lot of "Horror" even though I dislike the Horror genre. Non-Horror genre novels were published under the "Horror" label because nobody else would have them -- they contained a VAMPIRE!
A genre example.
Star Trek was the first real SF on TV. When it was cancelled after the first 3 years, and went into syndication so successfully, producers began to search for a way to lure the Star Trek audience to a new show.
They presented Star Trek fans with SPACE 1999, thinking they had the combination. But SPACE 1999 was actually HORROR FANTASY, and SF fans just don't respond to Horror (or if they do, it's with a different part of their literary taste buds.) SF fans at that time were somewhat allergic to Fantasy as well because most of the best selling Fantasy writers were women (SF editors wouldn't buy SF from women, so women went and made their own genre. So what else is new?)
This was such a hot-button issue in the 1970's that when I was nominated for the Best Fan Writer Hugo in 1973 for my Star Trek fanzine universe Kraith (up for free reading at
http://www.simegen.com/fandom/startrek/ ) there was a big political flap in SF fandom at Worldcon, and that was before K/S emerged.
Kraith plays with telepathic bonding and all the Theodore Sturgeon elements, Vulcan culture and its being shaped by telepathy. But those who voted against Kraith did so because it was Star Trek and was nominated by Star Trek fans who happened to be Worldcon members.
The feeling was that Worldcon was being taken over by "those people" - actor groupies who'd never read an SF novel. The disdain had a similar feel to the disdain focused on Romance and Vampire Romance. Today, Fantasy out-sells SF. If you graph the stats, I'll bet you find the same parabolic curve seen in the graph we're studying here on Vampire Romance titles.
In Science Fiction, the Hero prevails. The ending (as with Romance) has to have a specific flavor -- winning; triumph; achievement; understanding; satisfaction. Romance needs the HEA, the Happily Ever After, ending, and nothing else sells quite as well as an HEA.
An HEA can't actually be generated by a heroic success -- it isn't "Happily Ever After" if one partner forces the other to love them. That makes a good middle, but not an HEA.
SF needs the success ending, whatever success is. It has to be a definitive success and it has to be brought about by the Protagonist's personal actions which must proceed from the protagonist's ability to THINK CLEARLY. And preferably in an application of the scientific method, to resolve the plot's conflict via scientific reasoning even if the problem isn't actually a science problem.
SF became "Action-Adventure" because cerebral stories don't sell well, so publishing demanded that the SF novel end with a VICTORY imposed by FORCE of some kind - i.e. action. It wasn't enough to solve an intellectual puzzle any more. There had to be a physical problem with physical action and a physical resolution.
In the Horror genre ending, the protagonist must not prevail over Evil.
Evil can never be destroyed. The most you can achieve is to cram it into a coffer, a closet, a cave, and seal it with a magical seal that will hold for centuries, or millenia with luck. You have to leave the problem to your descendants. You can't win. That's the message of Horror. And SF is all about winning definitively, and that total triumph when a definitive solution slams into reality and changes everything.
The Horror premise is that evil is a property of reality, and reality wouldn't exist without it. Good and Evil must always be at odds, always in conflict, but neither can ever win.
The premise of SF is that humanity will prevail.
And that, as Gene Roddenberry said so many times, is the premise of Star Trek. We will go where no man has gone before, and we will prevail. We will prevail by intellect, compassion, and by wisdom. (He used that word, Wisdom, a lot in everyday talking, not just in speeches before throngs -- "When humanity will be wise ..." )
It's a philosophical difference that the producers of Space 1999, and the next TV offering to Star Trek fans (marketed specifically to Star Trek fans) Battlestar Galactica (the original), just couldn't grasp.
And so both shows failed to capture the Star Trek audience which continued to grow and grow, through an animated Saturday morning cartoon version of Trek, through books and the films, and into several TV series, with convention after convention making headlines everywhere, even on TV news. What an embarrassment.
Eventually, Ronald D. Moore succeeded in creating a Battlestar Galactica remake that grabbed Trek fans - he had the experience.
Here's his comment on my theory of Intimate Adventure:
That link reveals that Ronald D. Moore is a Sime~Gen reader, maybe fan, and it's posted with his permission. I did send him a set of Kraith Collected at his request.
Here's Ronald D. Moore's filmography on imdb.com
So after Anne Rice's first novel INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE became such a runaway best seller, Horror genre re-exploded with a new wave of Vampire novels. But they were horror vampires, bent on evil, destructive killers, not to be reasoned with, and with no shred of humanity left.
Then the Romance Genre pretty much invented THE VAMPIRE AS GOOD GUY and those books flooded the market for years. Then all of a sudden (about the time I was writing Those of My Blood - 1985-ish) you couldn't sell a Vampire Romance. Editors said don't send it, we're overstocked.
Everyone thought that meant they'd never publish any more, and the genre was a failure. I finished Those of My Blood anyway, and after more than 20 submissions (the only time that ever happened to me, and my agent was adamant that it would sell) it sold to St. Martin's Press for Hardcover. St. Martin's touted it as my breakout book. It was published in 1988. The paperback came out in 2003, but the new publisher refused to label it Vampire Romance because it takes place on the moon and so nobody would buy it. The graph we're studying begins in 1997.
Those of My Blood - Amazon Page.
Anita Blake Vampire Hunter series started with Guilty Pleasures in 2002, and either rode or created a contemporary urban fantasy Vampire Romance/Horror genre mix. Look at 2002 on that graph.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer TV show was on the air as TV beginning in 1997 when this graph begins.
Archetypes keep creating this kind of chicken/egg problem. When you can't solve a problem, as every math student knows, it's because you haven't stated the problem correctly.
OK, so what happened with the archetypes from Star Trek (1966) to now (2009)?
That's over 40 years, two generations.
These kinds of Group Mind archetype changes span generations. See my post on generations and taste from October 2009 which really is Astrology Part 6 (the November 2009 one is Part 7) -- on Pluto and the generations:
Think about that post on Pluto because there's more to say about how Pluto manifests via the Group Mind and why it's so clear that Astrology is utter nonsense. Let the notions soak in for a while.
Archetypes are always shifting and changing in the way they manifest, but there is (by definition) a core pattern to each archetype that is somehow inherent in all humanity and unchanging through millenia.
These patterns turn up in all cultures over all times that we've any record of. The Vampire myth is everywhere in one form or another. It's always been there, just not the subject of popular fiction. (of course "popular fiction" and "mass market" are new phenomena, and are now melting away under the force of the specialty niche market ebook!)
So what happened between the advent of Star Trek fan fiction (STAR TREK LIVES! was published in 1976 but it was based on 5 years of research in Star Trek fan fiction) and the explosion of Vampire Romance novels that continues today in a rapidly evolving form of Paranormal Romance, SFR, and Time Travel Romance, etc etc.
How could Science Fiction spawn the Romance Vampire?
Science Fiction readers tended to loathe the Romance field. Romance readers tended to loathe Horror. All vampires are horror genre.
Before there is a runaway best seller in any new sub-genre, there has to be what Heather at http://www.thegalaxyexpress.net/ called in her post
a "Ground Zero" where the explosion of a genre happens.
Before we get to that Ground Zero, there are usually a number of novels that do pretty well, but just don't attract any attention. Audiences build a taste for a genre slowly (actually as we're seeing here over generations), and then BOOM something hits big time. Commercialization interests notice the small following, and promote it using sly, sneaky, underhanded but effective advertising tools that cost a lot of money.
And its a generational thing. In the 1980's, there were a series of children's books for pre-teens and tweens set in High School and featuring Vampires -- evil ones, and not-so unreasonably evil ones. They conditioned an entire generation to be willing to try things with fantasy and urban fantasy - and set the stage for Harry Potter.
In 1974, my first novel, House of Zeor was published.
It's the first novel in the Sime~Gen Universe, but my first sale is a Sime~Gen story that appeared in the January 1969 issue of WORLDS OF IF Magazine edited by Fred Pohl.
House of Zeor was reviewed by Jean Lorrah with the title of the review being VAMPIRE IN MUDDY BOOTS.
The Sime~Gen Universe is built on the Good Guy Vampire with a core of pure DANGER.
As a child, I had read a number of SF works with Vampires as aliens from outer space, or otherwise built on the Vampire archetype.
But I always felt there was something wrong, something missing, something just plain out of FOCUS in these SF universes. Very often they were published as SF but would have been published as Horror if they didn't have science fiction in them.
I wrote Sime~Gen to fix what was wrong with the portrayal of Vampires. The first story, Operation High Time, is available on the Web for free reading (It's not very good, but it is short.)
From 1970 to 1975 I was working on STAR TREK LIVES! researching Star Trek fanfic (and writing tons of it in Kraith which you can read online for free at http://www.simegen.com/fandom/startrek/ ) and meeting Marion Zimmer Bradley, and marketing HOUSE OF ZEOR.
I was also raising two kids. I don't know how I did it all.
Sime~Gen, complete with Vampire archetype to the letter, came from the mid-1950's, long before I knew anything about archetypes, but I did know Vampires from SF.
I know now that what was totally missing from those early SF Vampires that I so needed to "correct" was Relationships as the plot-driver.
So that's what I wrote into House of Zeor - Relationship as a plot driver.
It's about Vampires in a Science Fiction Universe with a framework of a Romance plot, a solid love-story in every novel, a love-story that eventually shapes the way things turn out.
Sime~Gen has a hidden Fantasy premise (ESP, Magic, and the supernatural that comes out later in the novels). Because of ESP and Magick, it is disqualified as SF.
It's mixed genre with the mixture hidden so it could be published as SF (because no other genre would allow the SF part). But House of Zeor is actually a non-Horror Vampire novel with a love-story plot driver.
House of Zeor was written during and after I did a close analysis of Star Trek, Star Trek fan fiction, and why fans wrote (and read) Star Trek fan fiction.
The lead character of House of Zeor is Spock, but he's not the POV character. He's a scientist in a non-scientific world struggling to solve a problem with scientific thinking. So the book really is SF. But he's a Vampire with all that implies - except he's not supernatural, he just has supernatural Powers (but he doesn't know that).
I sold 65 copies of House of Zeor on a money-back guarantee in the expensive hardcover edition to Star Trek fans who liked Spock, and never had one returned.
I wrote House of Zeor to prove the validity of the hypothesis I set forth in Star Trek Lives! about why fans wrote stories about Spock. That's why House of Zeor had to be published before Star Trek Lives! (to see if what I said in STL! was true.)
House of Zeor connected. It was in print continuously for over 20 years, and came back in the Omnibus SIME~GEN: THE UNITY TRILOGY.
Meanwhile, Jean Lorrah joined me collaborating on Sime~Gen novels, and writing on her own in the universe, too. Many readers prefer her touch on Sime~Gen.
Further proof of my theory about the connection between the Vampire Archetype and Star Trek -- and thus the nature of the SF genre -- was supplied when fans of Sime~Gen began writing their own stories in the Sime~Gen Universe, spawning at one point, 6 publishing fanzines of fiction and non-fiction about Sime~Gen.
Much of that fan written material is currently available online for free reading, and new material is still being added at http://www.simegen.com/sgfandom/
which is an index page full of links to huge sections of Sime~Gen fan activity. To read fiction, see Rimon's Library at the bottom of that page.
To read free chapters of the published novels and find links and background information on Sime~Gen see
http://www.simegen.net (net not com)
So just as Star Trek spawned fanzines of fiction (prior to Star Trek, SF 'zines contained NO FICTION, but only non-fiction, letters, opinion, personal updates, the kind of thing you find on blogs -- and like fanzines, blogs have evolved to carry fiction), so Sime~Gen spawned fanzines full of fiction, and a little non-fiction.
The Vampire is still my favorite archetype, but as GOOD GUY.
At last, to the point of it all.
On this blog, I've been discussing various philosophical nooks and crannies, plus a whole lot of intellectualized analysis of story telling techniques.
I've discussed marketing, and genres, and social networking and the changes wrought either because of ebooks or that ebooks are the result of other changes in the publishing industry (such as a major change in the tax laws that killed the mid-list).
And each of these individual points I've made are defining a universe of discourse for solving the problem of the attitude of the general public toward the Romance Genre, and SF Romance and Paranormal Romance, Vampire Romance, Alien Romance.
I've told you a lot about writing technique, simply asserting that doing it this way assures your story will be forgotten and doing it that way will assure that your story will be remembered and called a classic.
I've never offered any evidence that I know what I'm talking about.
But I stumbled upon a bit of evidence in the last few weeks. I only realized what it was evidence OF a couple days ago.
Sime~Gen keeps getting mentioned on various websites, even blogs. So? That's nothing new.
When my sifting tools turn up one of those mentions, I try to find time to drop the blogger a note.
I found a blog a couple weeks ago that mentioned Sime~Gen. It was fairly typical, though outstandingly articulate and well written.
On that blog entry freyashawk says:
"Some time ago, I wrote an article about a series of books that impressed me deeply when I first read them. They were novels about the Sime-Gen universe, created by Jacqueline Lichtenberg who, with the collaboration of Jean Lorrah, then proceeded to weave an elaborate tapestry depicting an alternate future of the human race based on a strange mutation.
Rather to my astonishment, Jacqueline Lichtenberg read my article and responded with a comment a few days ago. She wrote:
'Thank you for the nice words about the Sime~Gen Universe novels.
Please let us know what format you'd like to see these novels in next.'"
And a bit down the page, it says:
"I re-read the entire collection of Sime-Gen novels and stories last year, after recommending them to some one else who, like most of her peers, was infatuated with the 'Twilight' series. To me, the Sime-Gen universe depicted the same sort of social conflict that occurred between vampire and human, with concepts of prey and predator being turned upside down by love."
FLASHBURNED INTO MEMORY
Do you see my point? These books, read decades ago, persist in memory and get REREAD, then recommended to a new generation because they compare with something very current, like THE TWILIGHT SERIES.
Freyashawk did a second post that answers my question where she is staunchly advocating the necessity of producing reprints ON PAPER because ebooks are too ephemeral:
"Use the internet by all means to promote the Sime-Gen series and network with other writers, but find a way to PRINT the books at a reasonable cost. If you do not wish to organise that aspect of it yourself, I would expect that there are countless writers' groups and small publishers who would be more than pleased to assist in this project if the behemoths of the book-publishing world are too short-sighted to involve themselves. The reputation of any small publishing venture would be enhanced greatly if it were to produce a new edition of these Classics as well as new novels in the series."
This response from readers happens because of the techniques I have described in previous posts here, starting with the 20 posts on Tarot, through all the Writing Craft posts on theme, structure, plotting, story, conflict, etc etc.
Remember Archetype and Template as discussed above in this post.
The techniques of writing craft are like the archetype or template, but it's the content -- the specifics of the story -- that matter to the reader. If those specifics matter too much to the writer who then mis-applies the template, the reader will never recieve the message, the imagery, the content that matters to the writer -- for the same reasons cited above in the section about archetypes.
These writing craft techniques when applied to archetypes that are currently changing in a Group Mind's manifestation of them (Vampires-are-Evil to Vampire-as-Good Guy, is still Vampire Archetype), produce ReReadable Books, books that are remembered for decades and recommended to new generations.
Sime~Gen so easily gets flashburned into the reader's memory because the universe premise asks questions using the Vampire archetype, questions about real world current issues that the readers don't usually know, consciously, are really bothering them. But as Gene Roddenberry taught me, don't answer the questions. Just ask.
When you ask those obtuse, difficult, ellusive questions at the nexus of change in an archetype's manifestation, you capture the attention of those to whom the content matters but the delivery vehicle does not.
The Vampire Archetype manifestations (not the archetype itself; the manifestations) were morphing with the culture through the 1970's, '80's and still are even today, reflecting cultural changes such as the role of women, of racial prejudice, sexuality, the toxicity of violence.
How do you get your way? How do you get satisfied? How do you survive a crumbling life situation? What right do you have? How do you get what you need? And even though you have a right, do you have the right to exercise that right over everyone else's objections?
In Astrology, it's all bound up in 1st House/ 7th House matters, obstructed by 4th House / 10th House matters. That's another essay, but there are the 4 archetypes that quarter our existence.
It could be that the entire paradigm underlying our world culture is shifting more massively than anyone now knows.
The element that could be shifting is all about how one gets one's needs met -- taking your fair share from whoever's trying to keep it from you; exploiting the labor of others (slavery was abolished but continued to evolve via underpaying wages spawning Labor Union's battles); Charity and giving your fair share to taxes as a means of ensuring that Charity is done properly.
Think sweeping meta-history -- history about history. Get an orbital perspective on it all.
Giving and Receiving, the biggest, most abstract (dry, boring) concept behind Kaballah.
Shifts are happening generation to generation on that most fundamental level of the asbsolute structure of the universe.
Is "Evil" a fundamental component of our "Reality" -- or can it be vanquished forever? If we vanquish EVIL, will it take GOOD with it?
Do a quick run through some video games to check subject matter and problem solving techniques. What constitutes the problem in the most popular games? What's the conflict? How is it resolved to the benefit (high score) of the player? Much of gaming is about Good and Evil at War. Primal. Nothing new there. Shades of gray would spoil the fun.
The video game is today what the Vampire novel was to kids growing up in the 1980's. An obsession. I knew it then. My Vampire Romance hardcovers, Those of My Blood (1988) and it's sequel Dreamspy (1989) are still available now in paperback.
The "Vampire" is a perfect amalgam of the issues disturbing the deepest levels of our culture, the issues where the underlying archetype of human nature is changing the way it manifests (not the actual core of human nature; just the way it manifests, the part that matters to us living creatures, is changing. 2009's Halloween included Vampire films with awesome FX.
The Vampire is still popular, more popular as Horror, but go back again and just stare at that graph of Vampire Romance titles.
Think about what that means and we'll dig into it more in future posts.
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Vampire Archetype Flashburned Into Memory
Posted by Jacqueline Lichtenberg at 2:44 PM
Labels: Archetype, Jacqueline Lichtenberg, science fiction romance, SFR, Sime~Gen, Star Trek, Tuesday, Twilight Saga, vampire
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"It's about Vampires in a Science Fiction Universe with a framework of a Romance plot, a solid love-story in every novel, a love-story that eventually shapes the way things turn out."ReplyDelete
'Course, my critters aren't actually vampires, but if it walks like a duck...
Here we go with all that subconscious stuff.
Two things consciously inspired me.
1) Captain Janeway saying, "A species more powerful than the Borg? That's difficult to imagine."
2) The whole turning someone into a vampire thing. As a lifelong childcare professional and mom of four (Yes, four, so I'm bad at math!) children, it just didn't make sense to me.
If you take the whole turning someone into a vampire thing on Science Fiction terms, you've got a few possibilities.
1) It's an infection, like HIV.
2) You're transforming someone like the Borg.
3) You're creating a new creature.
In all those scenarios there's a change and change is a process. I seem to remember one scene in HOUSE OF ZEOR when an adolescent went nuts because he was going through a change. Can't remember exactly what was going on, but that satisfied me as a reader.
*I'll continue this later. Got a diaper to change.*
*Okay, I'm back.*ReplyDelete
It seems logical to me that there would be a birth, childhood, and adolescense, which makes the whole change automatically into an evil, super-intelligent monster not fly with me.
A physicological change doesn't make someone evil anymore than being born white makes someone a racist.
Evil is defined by one's actions.
As a result, the most vampire-like character in my story is nothing like the archetype, which worries me.
Maybe I'm not cut out for this story.
What exactly is the Vampire Archetype anyway?
"The same but different" means you find ANOTHER OPTION.
Your list of 3 ways to turn someone into something (vampire or otherwise) is fine, but it's all been done to (excuse the expression) death.
You need to find a 4th way. The same: "turn into" but different: "by NEW ACTION".
And yes, in House of Zeor, (and previously in Operation High Time) I introduced the psychological trauma of Changeover, then discussed in subsequent books how various personal experiences of Changeover shaped the eventual adult personality.
Trauma shapes children, and they grow into adults who use that trauma to shape civilization.
A lot of our problems (throughout history, but more visibly evident in today's world of communication and record keeping) stem from child abuse.
A lot of what's done to children isn't considered "abuse" when in fact for that individual child, it is.
How different personalities respond to the impact of trauma is an unending source of drama.
We live in our imaginations. We really do. What we imagine to be real is more important than what is actually real when it comes to implementing decisions.
If you want to change your life, or ultimately civilization's life course, you start with healthcare for the imagination.
Novels and TV shows and films are much more important than I've ever heard anyone admit.
I was thinking when I wrote the first comment that the Vampire myth started back when Evil was defined as something you could be born with and now a lot of us define it by the person's actions.ReplyDelete
Back in medieval Europe when the Catholic Church dominated and vampire mythology was accepted as fact, it was believed babies were born with a sinful nature and already damned to hell, which was why they were baptized into the Catholic Church right after birth.
I seem to remember a movie, THE BAD SEED, I think it was about a woman who was good but one of her parents was evil and as a result her child was born evil. This was considered a matter of genetics.
But, nowadays, a lot of us believe in Free Will.
There's been a change over the last couple thousand years.
Yes, in Judaism there's no concept anything like "Original Sin" -- but Souls have traits and choices, lessons to learn and missions to accomplish in life. And in fact, the concept "Evil" has a whole different definition. I'm sure Islam has its own slant. Pagans have a different take on it. Atheists come at it from another direction entirely.ReplyDelete
A writer has to consider that the readership consists of all of the above, plus the terminally confused, not to mention the innocent.
So the writer has to know what she thinks and explain why and what's important about all that, to the reader in SHOW DON'T TELL, letting the reader spin the conclusions for themselves.
All that is the work that goes in before the THEME actually occurs to you consciously.
Define "Evil" for your UNIVERSE and build everything around that definition, and you've got a core theme for a series.
You want a postulate about the nature of Evil that's both startlingly different from the notions the general populace hold today, AND completely possible and comprehensible but maybe not at one glance.
Your specific definition is a notion to develop for the reader, and a great source of internal conflict for the characters.
"What Is The Vampire Archetype" --
Well, it's YOUR universe you're building, and "what is" would be a sub-theme to your main theme "What Is Evil".
Common thumbnail definition is, as I noted in this post, to do with "Giving" and "Receiving".
Evil Vampires take what they need to exist, or what they just want. What they take leaves the giver unable to continue to exist (the Vampire is essentially a parasite that kills the host)
Good Vampires ask and wait to be given what they need to exist, or what they want.
Then there's shades of gray, where stories happen.
The Magickal definition of power abuse (Vampires are powerful enough to take what they want and nobody can resist) is to use power to override another person's free will choice.
Different theologies explain why over riding another person's free will choice is "Evil" in different ways.
You're building a universe. You have to decide what the objective truth is about Evil in your universe, then what each of the faced-off factions believes and is willing to die to defend.
It does not have to be what you believe, but you have to make every image, every decoration, every sound, every echo, every symbol in every scene bespeak that objective truth and be seen via the character's subjective filter.
Don't expect to do all that consciously. The writer's most powerful tool is the subconscious.
I mean have you any idea how complex the calculations are for catching a ball tossed at you? Or crossing a street between racing cars going every which way?
Your subconscious is a great calculator. Let it do its work.
"You need to find a 4th way. The same: "turn into" but different: "by NEW ACTION"."ReplyDelete
"Then there's shades of gray, where stories happen."
"Yes, in Judaism there's no concept anything like "Original Sin" -- but Souls have traits and choices, lessons to learn and missions to accomplish in life. And in fact, the concept "Evil" has a whole different definition."
I've read about that.
You wanna know a funny thing? Actually, you probably already know it.
Waaay back when the Catholic Church still held a powerful position in Europe, Maria Montessori revolutionized early childhood education with the belief that children are 'born persons' with the capacity for either good or evil. Now, I can't remember if she had any Jewish influence, but that sounds aweful close to me. As far as I know, she came to her beliefs through simple observation.