Tuesday, October 21, 2008

My what big teeth...

One of the hallmarks of the vampire is his fangs. And of course most shifters have those canine/feline teeth. And then there are the odds and ends like my blue valley people that have fangs.

Fangs present a special problem for the romance writer. How do you deal with them during... intimate moments? Some writers ignore them, acting as though they aren't there except when it's convenient. It they're short dainty little fangs, that's probably all right.

But if the writer has described them as fangs like a lion--well then, it's going to be hard to ignore them. Another problem is the location of the fangs. Top? Bottom? Both? Anyone ever tried biting down with a set of fangs? You puncture your lips or anything else you're biting. And you have to have your mouth open wide to begin with--like you were going to take a bite out of an apple.

Many writers get around the fang problem by having them only appear under certain circumstances, such as when the vampire is ready to feed, or when the shifter is ready to mate or fight. That seems reasonable to me as long as the writer decides the rules at the beginning of their story--and then they stick to them.

But I have read stories that don't deal with the problem in a sane manner, and those stories leave me wondering how the heck the character worked it all out. Does the heroine spend her entire life with the hero poking holes in her lips when he kisses her? How do they manage other intimacies without major damage? Am I the only one with an inquiring mind?

Also, I wonder how many writers realize how much pressure is required to actually puncture skin. Skin is pretty tough. And while teeth are sharp, they're not exactly needle sharp. Unlike the puppy in the picture, human teeth are a little blunter. So imagine trying to bite an orange--with the peel on it. Our mouths are not exactly shaped for leverage.

Huh. Just wondering. What do you think? Anyone have a theory?



  1. I don't write my vamps like anyone else's so I adhere only to my own rules

  2. One would assume that fangs would be sharper than ordinary human teeth--puncturing skin is what they're for, after all.

    I'd like to see a story in which the fanged-one is limited to choosing mates who are pre-pierced. A goth chick with a couple lip piercings in the right place, and who won't mind an extra hole here or there.

    I can envision the scene now:

    "Sorry, dear! I didn't mean to bite you."
    "That's OK--I was thinking about getting my clit pierced anyway. You just saved me some money. Let me grab a bar to put in there so it doesn't close up."

  3. Love it, Elissa!

    The easiest way to work it is to make the fangs retractable. DOesn't make the most sense biologically, but I'll admit, my half-dragons have used that cop-out.

  4. Don't you remember, Anny? At RT I sat by the guy who was wearing fangs and watched him sip from a wine glass. I asked if he ever bit himself with those and he said, "Why would I do that? It would hurt?" Like it never accidentally happened to him. He also didn't spill his wine! Then he offered to bite me and show me how easy it was to draw blood.

    Hmm. Maybe I should have taken him up on the offer. OR just introduced you to him. *shiver*