Saturday, August 29, 2009

Stop that right now.

I love making this kind of post, because three things happen:

  1. Someone agrees and reminds me of something I didn't cover.
  2. Someone disagrees and accuses me of being jealous of Twilight.
  3. Someone points out where I have done exactly one of these things in my own books.

But, inspired by a conversation with an editor friend last night, I decided this post was necessary.


Okay, first of all, stop with the soul mates. I'm serious. No more fucking soul mates. Do you know what "soul mates" means in the book world? It means, "I, the author, am too lazy to let my hero or heroine get to know someone and build a lasting connection with them. Instead, I will mash them together like two dolls in the dreamhouse nightmare world of my story." Is there anything wrong with instant attraction? Not at all. Should it be a mystical, binding force that is unbreakable and permanent? No. Why is a relationship that two characters choose to be in somehow inadequate? What is it about fate or destiny, in which your characters have no choice but to be together, that seems so appealing? How about this: would you rather know that your significant other was with you because they wanted to be, or because they had to be? You probably have your answer. SO STOP THAT RIGHT NOW.

This next one does not apply to any long running series that are out there. I'm thinking specifically of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series and Charlaine Harris's Southern Vampires, but there are possibly others, they're all exempt. But to anyone who is currently writing a vampire book set in New Orleans, stop it right now. Listen, we all know why you're wanting to set your book there. Because there are a lot of vampires there, so says Anne Rice. Well, the reason Anne set up vampire shop in New Orleans is because it's her home, and she knew the area well. Also, it has a lot of history and a vampire could live there for a long time. But there are a lot of other cities that have been around a long time, that vampires could have a good time living in. Boston. Philadelphia. New York. Lots of fun places in the United States where vampires can romp and play. The thing is, once you put your vampires in New Orleans, the next step is, you're going to make them French. It just makes sense. Now, they're French, and living in New Orleans. Then, you're going to think, "Hmmm, the clothes that were around when New Orleans really started to blossom as a shipping port were awesome. I bet my vampire would retain some of that characteristic style, while incorporating some modern day pieces." Now, they're French, living in New Orleans, and dressed like prince. Then, you slap on some French name, and there you go, he's Lestat. And with everything that New Orleans has gone through lately, maybe they don't need your carbon-copy vampires running around the city they're trying to rebuild, okay?

I'm sure someone will remember a time I had a book set in New Orleans, or a vampire who was French and just like Lestat, or a pair of soul mates, but whatever. Do what I say, not what I do, all right?

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