Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hashing Out the Lore

Vampire Killing Kit
This is Monday's post. I'm sorry it's so late. Today's Wordsmith at Work post will be up sometime tomorrow because I'm sleepy and recovering from being sick. Sorry about the delay.

While my declared genre is fantasy with a sprinkling of science fiction, I also enjoy writing vampire stories. I've been writing about vampires for years (since before Twilight hit the stands, thank you very much) and recently I haven't had much time to write about vampires. It's been more important to work on Heaven's Wrath, my novel.

However, as I mentioned in Is Writing A Solitary Art?, I am currently working on a collaborative story with one of my oldest writing friends. After a long hiatus, we've picked it up again, and we've been working on getting more of it written.

This story happens to involve vampires, and in order to write it properly, we have to figure out all of the related lore. This, naturally, leads to a lot of questions, and all of them must be answered in order to have a cohesive storyline.

Do vampires get burned by sunlight? What about artificial light? Do they sparkle like certain vampires?

Can they breathe? Do they need to? Well then, does drowning kill them?

What about healing? What do they heal from? How fast do they heal? Are there side effects, such as higher levels of pain? What can't they heal from? Would taking a bullet to the brain kill them?

Then you have to decide if they're affected by holy or blessed objects, how often they need to sleep and eat, whether they need to drink human blood to survive or not, and what the typical aging cycle is (such as it is, with immortal beings).

There are a hundred and one details to nail down to ensure that the story makes sense. If our vampires don't have a heartbeat, it makes no sense to write "her heart stopped" in a dramatic scene, and if they can't cross running water, then that sweet scene with the brook in the forest has to go.

Arguing over the details with my friend made me wonder: what lore do you have in your story? Even if you're not writing about vampires, there are rules that must be laid down and adhered to for the sake of a coherent plotline.

What rules have you laid down in your stories? Does the lore of your world make sense?

(Alternatively, what's your vampire lore? I'm always interested in hearing other people's answers to these questions.)

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