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Thursday, September 15, 2011

What's Urban Fantasy

            Why can’t blog ideas be like tap water? Your normal blogging day comes along and – pop – there’s a topic to write about. Either there are multiple ideas competing for your attention. Or you sit there with a big, fat NOTHING.

            Today I decided to put off returning to my Author In Training topics and continue working with the blog-hop stuff. Getting to know my fellow Urban Fantasy campaigners just seems more important at the moment. Earlier in the week I put out a challenge for those in the General Fiction category to tell us 10 Things About Themselves. This challenge will be a little bit different.

            For those of you in the Urban Fantasy group with me, or any of the groups if you want to participate, post a blog entry explaining the genre, why you’re drawn to it, and give us readers a description of the kind of work you do and how it fits in with the genre.

            If you want to see an example, follow this link to Miss Cole’s blog.


            Often, I have a hard time putting what I write into a category. (No, it doesn’t have anything to do with my believing that my stories belong in a category of excellence all by themselves.) It wouldn’t surprise me that Urban Fantasy isn’t my category at all. If that turns out to be the case, correct me and then enjoy the posts by all the people in my UF group that got it right.

            Urban Fantasy occurs in what initially may appear to be the mundane world. Fantastic elements transform what we are familiar with in our day-to-day lives into something much more.

            More what?

            That’s up to the author and is one of the big attractions for me to this genre. Something more could be magic; either commonplace or introduced as a new element. Something more could be fantastic creatures that belong in another setting altogether living among us. Something more could be an alternate history.

            The explanations of the genre that I’ve read indicate that it takes place in an urban environment. From there it seems to me that the distinction blurs. It might involve the arrival of aliens – isn’t that Science Fiction? It might involve mythological or paranormal creatures – isn’t that Fantasy or Horror? It might take place in the future or have a historical setting – once again, isn’t that Science Fiction or traditional Fantasy?

            It seems that the great qualifier for this genre is: “This could be us!”

            Stories in Urban Fantasy are anchored to reality. There’s a strong connection between that work of fiction and the world the readers live in. No wonder it’s such a strong category to work with. The heroes are us. Or, at least, they could be.

             For me, angels and devils make the mundane world more interesting. It’s not all I write about, but I find that a large number of my stories deal with the epic struggle between good and evil. And stuck in the middle are all of us. That is what excites me enough to write.

            My first novel dealt with a man, in hell, who enters a race to win a second chance at life. Enough of the story takes place in an urban setting that I would place it in the Urban Fantasy genre. At its heart “Hellathon” is a story about redemption. Fortunately, I put in a ton of fighting and killing and that should keep my reputation as an action writer untarnished.

            The current WIP covers the events leading up to the Second Coming. While no fantastic elements are present in the first book, the series will introduce a divine element to the events and eventually the appearance of angels.

            In May, I won the First Chapter contest at the 2011 LDStoryMakers conference, in the Science Fiction category. I need to finish it. Which means my next novel will be Sci-Fi, but going over a list of writing projects I can predict that I’ll be returning to Urban Fantasy and writing about angels and devils in some fashion. (Unless people convince me that I’m too darn funny not to be turning my talents to writing humor.)

            That’s it. Now the challenge; write about Urban Fantasy. If you do, please post a comment here that includes a link to your blog so the rest of us can check it out. Come on, you can do it. I’m not even sure I know anything about this genre and I wrote about it; just imagine what you can do with the subject.

1 comment:

  1. I know what you mean about blog ideas!! I've been having a tough time coming up with them myself lately... :-S

    I think you're on the right track when it comes to urban fantasy, though I'd say anything involving aliens is more sci-fi. And that first novel of yours sounds really cool!! I totally want to read Hellathon when it's published! :-)