Readers share a romance with vampires, and many think it would be romantic to become vampires themselves. This may explain why vampire romances are so popular. If you're thinking about writing your own vampire romance, however, you need to know that romancing your reader involves more than the idea of vampire seduction. You still need a strong plot, strong characters and a strong sense of formula.
- Skill level:
Read other vampire romances. Seeing what other writers have done can give you a sense of the formula, characters and plot devices. Most important, you will know what's been done and what hasn't been done allowing you to successfully build on the model while avoiding devices and characters that have been overdone.
Develop your characters. Vampire romances tend to focus on two protagonists, the human heroine (who could be a cop, reporter, monster hunter or secretary in the wrong place at the wrong time) attracted to a darkly seductive vampire alpha male. Supporting characters can include the best friend encouraging the heroine to (literally) keep her head, a reporter trying to out the vampire, odd supernatural sidekicks such as goblins and elves and, of course, a villain (who could be a monster or a misguided vampire hunter). Write a page or more of biography for each major character, including backstory and motivation.
Establish your conflict. Vampire romances usually involve conflict between the villain and one of the protagonists, but also between the two potential lovers (can she really trust the vampire, or is he just luring her into his own trap?), and even within the heroine (can she trust her feelings?).
Write a one-line pitch, one-page synopsis and outline. Distill your ideas before you write so you can work out potential problems. Novels have a setup, climax and resolution, and vampire romances do it with the following formula: the heroine finds herself in danger, and has to rely on the vampire for help; they find the key to defeating the villain and they discover they are in love.
Start typing. Your novel doesn't have to be perfect on the first draft, and you can depart from your outline. Look for opportunities to work in twists and surprises (the vampire also loved the heroine's mother, or the heroine finds her diary in the vampire's lair). Try to end each chapter on a note of suspense (a secret about to be revealed, the heroine in jeopardy, the vampire confronted by a vampire hunter) so the reader will want to keep reading.
Plan for a sequel or series. If your book becomes successful, readers will want more, and agents look for writers who can follow up their first book to keep up sales.
Tips and warnings
- Vampire romance series to explore include Laurell Hamilton's Anita Blake series, Erin McCarthy's Las Vegas series and Tanya Huff's Vicki Nelson series.
- You don't have to write your novel from start to finish. You can work on the passages that seem most exiting now, and go back and fill in the other material later. You may find you worked out some problems with more difficult passages in the meantime.
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