In your opinion, how much creative license should an author be allowed to take with pre existing concepts such as vampires, werewolves, etc.?

Personally, I don’t think that authors are “allowed” anything. Here’s the thing: one author can take one artistic liberty and ruin a thing entirely, but another author could take 50 artistic liberties and make it the best thing ever.

You have to account for writing style, which pre-existing concept you’re using, how you’re using it, the setting, the goal of including that concept, the end goal of the story, and any number of plot points.

Look at Twilight. We have a different reason for avoiding sunlight, a different method of conversion, and vampires that eat animals instead of people.

I’m not sure that any one of these differences is necessarily bad on its own.

For example, we often think of vampires as being ridiculously attractive, so is it really that big of a shock for them to be inhumanly beautiful in sunlight? Would that not reveal their secret supernatural nature? If you saw someone sparkling like that, you would know instantly that that individual was definitely not human. Why do they have to burn up in sunlight? Why does that matter? There are plenty of ways to kill a vampire.

Rather than pointed teeth, which would also be an important way of revealing their non-humanness, these vampires use venom that comes from their mouth. Because they’re supernaturally strong, they can just bite down really hard to break the skin and then use the venom as a conversion method. Honestly, the methods of changing people into vampires are so ambiguous as it is. So why not come up with an actual thing for it?

And then we have non-malevolent vampires–they eat animals instead of people. They’re almost like an evolved form of their species. They’ve figured out how to navigate and be a part of the human world without infringing upon their neighbors. Vampires have to keep their identity a secret, because they’d get dissected and whatnot. So this would be a good method of integrating into society.

Each of these things isn’t bad on its own. And in fact, they’re not too unreasonable.

And dare I say it, but these components in conjunction with each other are not bad ideas! They bring vampires into a modern, normal setting. Vampires are among us, but these are ways they keep themselves from getting discovered. If you want your readers to believe that vampires are real, that they live on our modern-day Earth, then you have to find ways of explaining how we’ve not found them by now.

The problem with Twilight is not that the vampires sparkle, despite how much people say that’s what it is. Part of it was that it was written for young women, who are for some reason treated as though their tastes are stupid and irrelevant. Part of it was the lack of plot. And part of it was the writing style. This is even to say nothing of the unhealthy relationships throughout the series.

To some people, the writing style was funny and relatable. To others, it was vapid and overly dramatic. Every reader is different.

What I’m getting at is that the creative liberties taken in Twilight aren’t the crux of the issues with the books. It’s not that the ideas in it are bad–it’s that they are badly done, in the opinion of many readers.

You could take twice as many creative liberties and end up with a fantastic story about vampires and werewolves. You could take only one and end up with something that makes your readers feel queasy because it’s so awful.

What you really, genuinely need to consider is the point of taking artistic license with each component. Why does [insert thing] need to be different for this particular story? What purpose does it serve?

Your vampires don’t have to be Dracula, but they don’t have to be the Cullens, either. Maybe they’re a little of both!

If you know exactly why you’re making those changes, then it’s okay to do them. They have to make sense in context of everything else you’re doing, such as the things I mentioned at the top of this response:

You have to account for writing style, which pre-existing concept you’re using, how you’re using it, the setting, the goal of including that concept, the end goal of the story, and any number of plot points.

Creativity is a GOOD thing–don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.

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