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vampires, who likes them, who doesn't?

Discussion in 'World Building' started by Alex, Jul 20, 2012.

  1. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    No, I don't think the author has any duty to come out and try to 'correct' how a fan reads the work, nor do I think it is even desirable for her to do so. The author puts the story out there. The reader is an intelligent, thinking person who can interpret or view the story in any way she sees fit. I don't particularly care what Meyer's own view on it. That's the thing about art - once you put it out there, it belongs, in a sense, to the viewer, reader, or whoever. The person who brings their own experiences to bear in receiving it.
     
  2. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    Do you not think artists ought to be responsible for the messages they send or might be sending?


    I wouldn't consider myself an "artist" really, but I am very concerned with what messages a reader might intuit from my work. As you say, once it's out there it's out there. And so far as is within my power, I'd like to see that the messages sent are received correctly. I have planned a scene where my MC slaughters potentially innocent people- but I make it very clear that this is not a good thing, despite his intentions. If a fringe reader takes my book to mean I support killing innocent people so long as the intent is noble, I will likely write them off as a loon. But if a large contingent of my hypothetical readership came to this conclusion, I would be appalled and issue an official statement on the matter as fast as my fingers would allow.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  3. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    That depends. If an artist is intentionally sending a message to try to cause harm, then I think they may be responsible (at least if it is reasonable the message will be received in that way). In my view, those cases are very few and far between, if they exist at all in terms of pure art.

    The mere fact of writing a relationship like the one in Twilight, or Romeo and Juliet, or ones in The Great Gatsby, or East of Eden, don't rise anywhere even remotely close to that level, in my view.
     
  4. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    I'll weigh in on this & say that I don't think an author should even be remotely concerned about the "messages" they send.

    Crime, racism, sexual abuse, drug addiction.... These are things that most people I know find reprehensible. In fiction though, these are the things that make great stories. Bad decisions make for good reading.

    If you want to write about perfect, healthy relationships then have it at. I'll use it to cure occasional bouts of insomnia. People want to read interesting stories and as a writer that what I want to provide. I'm certainly not going to be effective in doing so if I'm constantly concerned with how a few readers are going to perceive some message (intentional or otherwise).

    I'm telling a story, through the eyes of a character. That's all I'm concerned with....
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
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  5. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    Good point, that would be a lone exception in my mind as well.
     
  6. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Bingo.

    /10char
     
  7. Mindfire

    Mindfire Istar

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    I think there is a difference between using unfortunate circumstances as elements to further a story and praising harmful behavior. Even Romeo and Juliet, which I can't stand, makes it clear that this is not behavior to be aspired to or imitated.
     
  8. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    You can always provide commentaries or an annotated version talking about what you thought or liked or disliked in your story. I don't feel that I have control over my characters once they've been created. They do what they want to do. If that means they kill and think it's a good thing, that's fine. It's rare where someone successfully argues that there are no deserved deaths.

    Also, have you ever read Machiavelli's "The Prince"? He basically argues that people in power need to bear in mind the ends. If your MC is someone that has power, whether assumed or granted, then it is possible that he might be justified--so long as it doesn't blow up in his face.

    One common example given of Machiavellian practices is during WWII when we had already broken the Nazi's code and intercepted a transmission that told us of an attack on a town that would have been wiped out. I am speaking from memory of high school history class and college ethics so forgive me the details. The allied side knew of the attack and was able to prevent it and save the town, but chose not to because they had no other evidence other than the intercepted transmission and if they interfered, the Nazi's would have known we had broken their code. The allies chose to allow the deaths of these innocent people bearing in mind the lives they would save later on. This is something any leader or person in a position of power has to face. It is why the towns always choose to sacrifice the princess or their daughters to the dragon/kraken to save their town. It's either the one dies or they all die.

    They believe that they are doing the right thing by saving their town with the sacrifice of the one and unless they have the power and knowledge to be reasonably assured they can defeat the creature, they are doing the right thing. Or at least the most right thing available.
     
  9. T.Allen.Smith

    T.Allen.Smith Staff Moderator

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    This is where I think the disconnect is....

    It's not "using unfortunate circumstances" & it's not "praising harmful behavior". It's just part of the story from a character's viewpoint.

    You're saying that you believe an author should feel responsible concerning how their writing is perceived. I feel it's ridiculous to take responsibility for anyone's actions or perceptions who may pick up your book.

    Take the recent runaway hit "50 Shades". Now I haven't read it but I understand it revolves around a S&M relationship. It's obviously interesting because stores can't keep it on shelves. I sincerely doubt though that the people reading it all run out and buy whips and gimp suits the following day. Some might, but should the author feel bad about wax dripping burns perpetuated by a couple that wanted to try something new after reading a book. I sincerely hope not.

    Your position seems to revolve around the idea that readers are impressionable morons which is a inaccurate assumption. Even teenagers, in the case of YA books, are not idiots. Sure there are always exceptions in every case but making an argument based off of exceptions is inherently flawed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2012
  10. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    I think everyone is going to have to agree to disagree. It doesn't seem we are making much progress and Mindfire and others are entitled to believe what they want to about an artist's responsibility--as much as I disagree with this view, I don't think we are making any progress here towards a mutual agreement.

    Anyway, so how about the vampires in the manga "Vampire Knight"? I borrowed the first ten volumes from my library and had no qualms with their description of vampires.
     
  11. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    Exactly. I pre-read Twilight because my then-thirteen year old daughter wanted to read it, and all I knew about it was 'vampire romance,' which could be quite racy. So I read it, determined it to be harmless, and told her OK. As I've related before, about halfway or so into the book my daughter came to me and said "Man, Bella is an idiot." She nevertheless loved the books and devoured the entire series, before branching off into reading other things (there had been a lull in her reading habits for a few years prior to that).
     
  12. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I don't really know any manga vampire stories that well. I saw one episode of Vampire Hunter D and didn't like it, and really my knowledge of manga is very limited. I'm always open to giving it another shot, though.
     
  13. Zero Angel

    Zero Angel Auror

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    They use a pretty normal description of vampires. There are pure bloods that have their blood undiluted from the progenitors of the vampire race and have additional powers; aristocrats that are from noble bloodlines with some dilution; and human vampires created from a pureblood drinking the human's blood but not killing them. If the human vampire does not drink the pureblood's blood in return, they descend into madness and become mindless beasts.

    Also, pure blood vampires that drink the blood of another pure blood becomes more powerful.

    They have normal super-human abilities, are weakened by sunlight, take blood tablets so they do not have to feed on humans (although the tablets don't work on everyone) and the pure bloods are able to command lesser vampires along with their own abilities.

    I've only seen the first movie with Vampire Hunter D and I was not a fan. Hellsing is a much better adult anime for vampires. Haven't read the manga though.
     
  14. The purpose of the criticism isn't to get Stephenie Meyer (or, in general, an author) to change. It's to (hopefully) reach the readers who are under the relevant misapprehension. I've seen several people who used to love Twilight becoming exposed to the negative criticisms, and saying, "Wow, I never thought of that," and then reassessing their love for the books.

    Writing that glorifies negative relationships should be met with criticism. The cure for bad speech is more speech.

    Obviously people have emotions and sometimes those emotions affect or interfere with their opinions; but if someone points out B&E's negative relationship, and fails to point out (or even defends!) a similar relationship in another story, that has no bearing on whether or not B&E's relationship is healthy. Being a hypocrite doesn't make you wrong. (It might make you less convincing, but it doesn't logically undermine anything.)

    Tearing them down only because they're successful makes no sense, sure. But it would be kind of silly to claim that there's never any reason to criticize a successful writer. If someone writes what I think is crap, I'm going to point it out. The only relevance their popularity has is that I'm not going to spend time criticizing some writer nobody's ever heard of.
     
  15. Shockley

    Shockley Maester

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    My problem with this still boils down to people deciding whether the relationship in Twilight is healthy or not. At the end of the day, whether a relationship is good or not should be determined by the potential happiness and the actual happiness achieved. If both people in the relationship are at maximum happiness (as in the end result of Twilight), then who am I to say that the relationship is healthy or unhealthy?

    You can take abuse as the message of Twilight - that's a reasonable interpretation (though, taking into account some of the arguments used against my own position here, that's certainly not the author's intention). Or you can take the message as 'you should go for the person who makes you happy, even at great risk and difficulty.'
     
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  16. Lawfire

    Lawfire Sage

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    That is a good one!
     
  17. The Blue Lotus

    The Blue Lotus Auror

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    Twilight really stunk. I still like vamps but I'd prefer to keep them more along the lines of Anne Rice/Stoker. However having said that, I hated Buffy but loved Angel... Maybe it's because David Boreanaz is super hot?

    :bat:
     
  18. dreamslave

    dreamslave New Member

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    I think it depends on how you portray them. If it’s as a bloodthirsty corpse, or a sparkly undead person, a lot of people won’t like it. But if it’s a bloodthirsty corpse with a believable personality, or a sparkly undead person whose surname is not Cullen, then it would probably work. If people don’t like them, it’s usually not because they’re a vampire, it’s because they’re a stereotypical vampire.
     
  19. Steerpike

    Steerpike Felis amatus Moderator

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    I liked them both, but Buffy a lot better. Angel (i.e. David Boreanaz) is a ponce :D
     
  20. Alex

    Alex Troubadour

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    Steerpike, what is a ponce? I must know! :p
     
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