Monday, April 25, 2011

The Sparkly Hurts the Eyes

We’re all very familiar with the anti-sparkly phenomenon, and in contrast the utter love for the prettification of vampires. Some have made a direct comparison to the sparkle equating a poor book. I don’t know about that. Does it not jive with some readers’ expectations? Apparently, and that’s a whole other topic.

During a recent read of The Greyfriar (see my review), which has vampires, I’ve got to say one thing about this book: The vampires are not sparkly...but it doesn’t help it ONE bit. I am shocked by the level of annoyance people exhibit towards the sparkly-phenomenon.

Vampires are a fictional monster. Fiction. As in not real. Therefore if someone wants to mess with the mythos. Go for it.

Were Meyer’s vampires unnaturally lucky in that they never really went toe-to-toe with anybody? Yeah. And that’s her greater failing that she didn’t put them to task, she didn’t risk her little pretties. It doesn’t matter that she made them sparkly. What she did, was she acted like they were made of delicate crystal and treated them too gently. Edward never mussed an eyebrow, despite the level of “danger” they supposedly faced.

Is there a lesson to learn here, beyond the surface? I think we can take away from this problem that you don’t take the easy route when you put your characters through the paces—whether it is the action, romance, or whatever. Make them real challenges with real consequences. Otherwise it’s just as bad as a Hollywood flick where the good guy wades through a blizzard of bullets and comes out unscathed. Are these fun to watch? Sometimes, but they lack the punch of something truly great. Risk everything and gain so much more.


  1. No risk, no reward.

    As far as the sparkly vampires, I think there was a discussion on Babel Clash about that--if something is very unlike its namesake, should it be called that, or something new.

  2. And that goes to the expectations part. Some people (perhaps many) expect a vampire to be vicious and bloodthirsty, a monster to fear. Others apparently were less inclined to be stuck on that preconception and enjoyed the story. So much so that I hear the term Twihard developed for a diehard Twilight fan. Funny.

    My wife and I decided a while back that Harry Potter fans should be called Pottheads. So, yes, you can call me a Potthead, but not a Twihard. ;-)

  3. Me, I think you can play with preconceptions--to a point. If you break them too much, then, IMO, you are doing it wrong.

    If, for example, Peter Orullan had called the short lived Fae like race in his new novel Elves, I would have been really unhappy.

  4. Yep, it's a tight rope we walk when playing with pre-existing archetypes that you want to tweak. Which is one reason why I try to be different in my writing when it comes to the different species. I may want something like elves or dwarves, but I try to break down why I want that and what I like and make my own.


Thanks for reading, now tell me what you think.