Today is Vlad the Impaler’s 580th birthday! Vlad the Impaler was the inspiration for Dracula.
Vampires were known throughout time as corpse like creatures that fed on humans’ life force. It was more of a spiritual thing than an actual “drinking blood” thing. In 1819, a novella called The Vampyre by John Polidori was published, leading the evolution of vampires from something akin to an animated corpse to the suave and sophisticated creature more often written about today.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula came out in 1897, and is the quintessential vampire novel. Most vampire novels share some similar characteristics. Vampires have some sort of problem with sunlight, they feed off blood (most often human), and they’re immortal unless staked in the heart or cut off at the head. Wood hurts them most.
While I wouldn’t call Twilight, by Stephenie Meyers, great literature, what was interesting about it as a vampire novel is that it broke many of the “molds” of other vampire novels. Many vampire novels and movies make vampires at least a little scary along with sexy. Twilight’s vampires are almost a sanitized version of vampirism. In my opinion, one of the reasons it was successful is that it took an existing mold, and instead of being faithful to it, twisted it into something recognizable, but something different.
In writing, it can be hard to come up with new ideas. Twilight shows that you can dust off an existing idea, perhaps even one that’s been done to death, and showcase it in a new and interesting way.
Here’s a link to an interesting “alternate” take on Twilight. If you’re a Twihard, this might offend you…