So, basically... I have this idea for a vampire tale.  A really dark, twisted one.  I mean, the story's not original, but if I can find someone who's really good at writing horror/drama/thriller movie scripts (I can't put pen to paper except to write the occasional song... and I really don't want it to be cheesey), it could be a cool idea... I should point out, as I did below, that what I'm looking for here is not the plot to the story.  This is just a side thing that'll (I hope) get answered in little snippets throughout the movie.  The point here isn't generating a plot, but giving them a scientific explanation.

Anyways, there are certain things about the vampire lore I want to keep, and certain things I want to throw away.

The first and foremost thing is to get rid of the whole supernatural stigma.  Religious symbols don't (a)(e)ffect(sp?) them and so on.  And neither does the sun.  They don't have the power to turn into other creatures.  They can't fly.  They can't disappear into thin air.  It also doesn't change their personality.  In other words, if Ghandi had been turned into a vampire, aside from needing to drink blood, he'd still be Ghandi.  A philanthropist-turned-vampire is still a philanthropist.  A serial-killer-turned-vampire is still a serial killer.  In this scenario, your doctor may be a vampire.

And they don't all drink human blood... and many don't even drink real blood, but buy synthetic blood that does just fine.

Also, they can eat regular food and drink regular drinks.  In other words, unless they need to drink blood, they're pretty much indistinguishable from your average Joe... with some exceptions.

I do want to keep the whole super strength/super speed thing.  Also, the whole immortal (or aging-really-slow) and the down-right impossible to kill (not even the stake through the heart or cutting of their head works) aspect would be nice to keep, too, if feasible scientifically (this is ultra important... I'll throw those last two out if there can't be a logical scientific explanation of them).

So what do y'all think?  A virus?  I'm thinking a virus that is actually somewhat contagious.  It can be spread through any kind of exchange of body fluids, with activation of the virus happening when the person is nearly dead (like, for example, you're the bartender, a vampire [though you don't know it] comes up and orders a drink... he doesn't finish it, and you're thirsty, so when no one's looking you shoot it back... later that night, you walk outside, get hit by a car, and next thing you know, you're a vampire).  That's why, here, if a vampire doesn't drain a victim completely, they'll turn.  Maybe there'll be a short side-note about someone (perhaps a scientist--turned-vampire) looking for a cure.

Any thoughts on how it could be explained naturally/scientifically?  I know movies have touched on it before, but never in any way that's been realistic (from my experience).  I want this to be realistic... you know... almost as if it could actually happen...

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Nathan, these are all promising embellishments on what has become, alas, a tiresome theme in contemporary fiction. But that's not necessarily a big problem. As a screenwriter and novelist myself, I have three thoughts.

First, it's really, really difficult to invent and develop a significant central story element for another writer to use. Inspiration simply doesn't translate. A writer's creative impulse and its product evolve on the page, as the plot emerges, not in the mind of somebody who's feeding ideas to the writer.

Second, it seems that you don't have a story here or even the beginning of one. You have an idea for a presumably villainous group in an unspecified world and setting. But to begin writing, you would need a hero (a protagonist), a situation for the protagonist to inhabit, and a setting (macro and micro).

Third, before you go any further with this idea, you will want to read the new novel (out just this month) by Justin Cronin, THE PASSAGE. The vampires in his highly touted new novel sound a lot like the vampires you're envisioning.

From an Amazon review:

You don't have to be a fan of vampire fiction to be enthralled by The Passage, Justin Cronin's blazing new novel. Cronin is a remarkable storyteller (just ask adoring fans of his award-winning Mary and O'Neil), whose gorgeous writing brings depth and vitality to this ambitious epic about a virus that nearly destroys the world, and a six-year-old girl who holds the key to bringing it back. The Passage takes readers on a journey from the early days of the virus to the aftermath of the destruction, where packs of hungry infected scour the razed, charred cities looking for food, and the survivors eke out a bleak, brutal existence shadowed by fear. Cronin doesn't shy away from identifying his "virals" as vampires. But, these are not sexy, angsty vampires (you won’t be seeing "Team Babcock" t-shirts any time soon), and they are not old-school, evil Nosferatus, either. These are a creation all Cronin's own--hairless, insectile, glow-in-the-dark mutations who are inextricably linked to their makers and the one girl who could destroy them all. A huge departure from Cronin's first two novels, The Passage is a grand mashup of literary and supernatural, a stunning beginning to a trilogy that is sure to dazzle readers of both genres.
Agreed! You need a story. The vampire virus can't be the story. It's really just a setting.

If you have a good story with compelling characters, it really doesn't matter what type of mythos you dress it up in.
The vampire virus can't be the story. It's really just a setting.

Well, no. It's a defining story situation--a condition that will help guide the plot. A story's setting has to do only with its place in the world (loosely speaking) and in time.
Well, you are correct. I guess what I mean to say is that many great themes are reproduced with novel settings or situations; old wine in a new bottle, if you will. Vampirism need not be allegory, I suppose. But often in some of my favorite stories, the plot driving situation is a bit like a setting to me, making social commentary while wearing a disguise.
Very true. They are certainly interrelated. And the implications of setting on the story's development are most compelling when they're subtle.
"First, it's really, really difficult to invent and develop a significant central story element for another writer to use. Inspiration simply doesn't translate. A writer's creative impulse and its product evolve on the page, as the plot emerges, not in the mind of somebody who's feeding ideas to the writer."

That's want I want a partner who can write rather than a "ghost writer". I want someone who can help me flesh out all the missing parts. I have the basic idea of my story, and even some scenes (see below), but I don't have any progression or anything like that. It's all rather jumbled. I'm thinking the two of us can work together to turn it into a compelling script/movie.
Unless you're planning to try to produce the film yourself (which would present a separate set of enormous challenges), I would suggest that the story take the form of a novel, rather than a feature-length screenplay.

Scripts are far harder to sell than novels, and, for a beginning writer, a quality script is far harder to write, too. Novels are much more commodious and variable in narrative approach and length, and if they have some potential appeal to one of hundreds of audiences that can make a novel profitable, a good editor will see that. The story structure and storytelling techniques of screenplays are much more restrictive--and, for that reason, demanding. And the audiences are much fewer and smaller.

A novel can be presented in any voice and and from any narrative perspective or distance, it can employ extensive exposition and dialogue along with many other devices, and it can be anywhere from 200 pages long to 1,000.

A screenplay, in contrast, is a trick. Like riding a mountain bike down a ski slope no-handed. It's storytelling using only dialogue and imagery. A script must rely on dialogue to reveal character and disclose backstory information (motivation, intention, ambition) while simultaneously moving the plot along. It uses no exposition except to introduce a character or to set a scene. And its length is fixed at 110 to 120 pages. Also, because these technical limitations are often regarded by beginning writers as simplifying (they aren't), many would-be writers imagine they can write a screenplay that will sell, and so the competition (the bulk of it clumsy and riddled with crippling problems) is suffocatingly thick.
I see what you're saying. Okay...

I'd still need to find a partner, though... someone who's really good at putting pen to paper, and I hope they'd put their creative influences into it, too, because, like I said, I'm stuck in areas and could use the creative help.
Right, Nathan, but that puts us back at the beginning. The hardest part about writing is the writing part. The "creative influences" lie largely in the writing itself, in the slow, sentence-by-sentence crafting of the story. Ideas--detailed concepts--are fairly easy for anyone with a good imagination to come up with. Getting the words right is hard.

Developing stimulating ideas for situation and conflict into a story is what a writer does. Ideas are necessary, of course, but they're rudimentary and rather formless. They're like a potter's mound of wet clay. The story--the work of the writer--is the delicate, lustrous, lavender glazed bowl that comes out of the kiln. If a potter takes your mound of clay and fashions it into a bowl, it won't be your clay anymore. You won't even recognize it.

The language and the specific vision that constitute an effective narrative belong to the writer. So, as a story slowly coalesces out of the writer's imagination onto the page, the original inspiring ideas themselves become transformed by the language that gives them shape and significance.
My problem is that I've tried my hand at writing stories before...

They are absolute crap. I'm worried that my writing skills just simply aren't good enough. I'm a musician, not a writer (besides the occasional song)... that's the problem.

The idea is in my head, and I want to... need to... get it out. I just don't feel like I have the ability to, is all.
Well, Nathan, I would say you've gotten the idea out pretty clearly by describing it here. That's no small thing.

But if your idea (your inspiring concept) is going to become an effective and entertaining narrative--the full story whose potential excites you--crafted in engaging prose, scene by scene, then you'll have to do it yourself. No one else can do it for you. That's how writing works.
Thanks for reminding me about this movie. I saw this trailer some time ago and was excited to see it, only to have it slip out of memory.


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