Author Lorelei Bell, welcomes you! Vampires are my addiction, I assume they are yours as well. Come and journey with me to the darker shadows, where the vampires lurk, watching us, waiting for us weak humans...

The journey awaits, come!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

On Blood & Vampires

As an author of urban fantasy, I have had to make decisions on what type of world in which my characters would live in: Open World, or Closed World. Basically in an Open World scenario humans know that vampires, werewolves, demons, witches etc., exists and they live right along side them. They usually have a government agency which keeps everything in check--so that there's no illegal killing or hunting of humans, that sort of thing.

Kim Harrison, Charlaine Harris, and Karen Chance have Open World scenarios in their series.

A Closed World is where very few people know, or suspect that vampires etc., exist, and, in fact, would find it very hard to believe. When Bram Stoker wrote Dracula, he went with a Closed World because the fiedn, Dracula, had to first be discovered and then "destoyed".

In my Sabrina Strong Series I chose a Closed World scenario because it worked better for my story to keep the majority of humans in the dark. One of the first things I learned when beginning to write is that the unknown is scarier than the known. Thus, only those who are within the vampire's circle (i.e. those who work for or are with the vampire), know they exist. This creates a vacuum in which the other mortals exist happily within their own troubles and have no idea something more powerful and dangerous lives right along side them on Earth. Can you imagine what would happen if someone said to you that vampires did exist--and eventually you found out this was true?

Besides, I didn't want to have to create some preternatural agency and play catch-up in my first book, doing a lot of explaining and back-story in the first 100 pages, like Karen Chance has to do in her Cassie Palmer series. I wanted to open up right at the beginning with Sabrina Strong coming face-to-face with a vampire or two (and a werewolf), and bring the reader along for the ride.


Other aspects of the story had to be considered as well, and the Closed World part my have played a part in how I chose to settle on the amount of blood a vampire needs per night.

The vampire's need for blood--his nourishment--his survival depends upon blood, and getting enough of it from a healthy human being. Thinking it over, I considered how a vampire would drink the same person's blood night after night, and what would happen if they did? They die. In some books the human is turned, or as in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, they automatically become vampires. But not in my books. The human doesn't need to die and the bite does not turn them. The proccess is a little different.

So, curious about blood and how much a person has in them, and at what point they expire when there is blood loss, I did my research. It only takes a human being to loose a few pints of blood (20%), where the blood pressure drops, and the pulse quickens. After 30%, the situation becomes serious. A person can go into shock--they will black out unless they are lying down. An average person has about 8-10 pints of blood in their body. It takes 3-4 weeks for the bone marrow to make the extra red cells to replace the loss, depending upon the amount of loss, too. It might be two  months for more than one pint lost.

So, let's say if the average vampire has to consume 2-3 pints of blood a day to remain health (this is one version that I found), they would need--and probably kill--one person a day per vampire. Times that by about three or four vampires, that's about 28 people in a week's time that may die. In a month, that's around 840 people dying from a mysterious loss of blood. Now think of it in terms of 30, 50, or 100 vampires! Eventually there would be very few living people for them to get a nice meal of blood from, unless they began drinking from animals, and then they too would die. See my logic? And if the bodies, or even the missing persons cases began piling up, someone somewhere is gonna say, "What the hell is going on here?"

This is why I decided that I didn't want people dying from lack of blood and went back to re-thinking the whole how-much-blood-does-a-bloodsucker-need-per-night question. Since I'm the writer, I get to say how much, and ignore everyone else, because we're talking fiction here.

So, in my books I have it as a Closed World, (general population doesn't not know vampires exist), I wanted it to have a more happy medium range like 1-2 pints of blood a day, and one pint is pretty much the limit a person can give without having some serous side affects, and probably die. I had the thought that killing humans for blood is not a very efficient way for a vampire to feed, especially when so many are congregated in one area. Even if they stole blood from blood banks, you'd still have to feed an awful lot of vampires on a daily bases, say if they numbered in the thousands in the United States alone.

Alright, so let's say you're a vampire lord, you've got a dozen or more minions below you, you are responsible for these minions, and since you made them, and need them around you to feel all powerful, you have to keep them happy. So, you have to come up with a way of not being discovered, because it would be beneficial to you and your minion's well-being. No one would know you exist, and you don't have to kill humans, yet have them happily making blood donations on a rotating bases. Makes a lot of sense to me. So I didn't want my vampires to be killing machines. It makes for good horror, but it also makes the vampires seem more bent on destroying the world--and humans upon which they feed--and that just didn't seem to make any sense to me. And I didn't want to use the now somewhat tired "synthetic" blood, because that would be like cheating.

Every writer has a different point of view on this, and their own vision on this aspect for their books. For my books I needed a more sophisticated vampire, the vampire who can rub elbows with local government officials, actors, singers etc, and not give away that they would like to bite them (or have sex with them, because sex is just as important to my vampires as the meal, and why not combine the two?) So, the every day human has no idea he may be on their dinner menu.
Taking this into account, and the recovery time for a human for their blood loss--even a pint--I felt that a vampire would be able to count on blood donors. Lots of donors. Where are you gonna get good donors for a vampire--or a whole community of them, you may well ask?

Simple. Pay them. Of course many humans like the sensuous side affect of a vampiric thrall and the bite, and might not even mind being a donor for free.

In my Sabrina Strong Series, Bjorn Tremayne, of Tremayne Inc., produces blood in a bottle. Real Red, Organic Red, to name a few. Depending upon whatever they want to pay, one is 100% human blood, and the others are a blend of animal and human bloods. (This is one of Tremayne's money-makers. Smart vampire, I say.) They will also have their personal donors, and call them "blood dolls", and the human donor can give blood on a rotation of every few weeks.

What keeps this sort of world in check? Who controls the vampires when they get out of line when they "hunt" humans--which is the case with rogue vampires? Tune in next week and I will examine this in detail.

Thanks for dropping by. Have a great weekend!


Anonymous said...

wow! that was really good.
You are so diligent and clever in your writing.
That's brilliant! I love your approach.
Thanks so much for this, Lorelei, this blog has gotten a lot better!

Lorelei said...

Well, thank you Carole. I'm so glad you've invited me over. I hope to see something from you soon?

Am reading your Vampire Retribution, and other tales you put up yesterday. I've got to get back into it soon!

Anonymous said...

i'm so glad you came!
you have so benefited the blog. i twould have become undead or worse!

i will. probably today????
or not. i'll try! xxx
thanks, Lorelei.