Friday, May 20, 2016

Urban Fantasy 101.

Hello, aspiring writers!
    So you're looking to try your hand at creative fiction. Awesomeness! If you're looking to try out urban fantasy, let's get your feet wet. Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy that takes place in contemporary times with supernatural elements. But it can take place in the historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The characteristics of the genre are set in a city and may involve alien races, mythological creatures, co-existence between paranormal beings and humans, etc. Bewarned, true believers. These stories may be set in contemporary times but it's not necessary for this characteristic to be labeled urban fantasy as it takes place in the historic period or in the future, real or imagined. Another characteristic to point out is that characters of urban fantasy have A) self-esteem issues or B) tragic pasts.

    As you may know, there's urban fantasy for grown-ups and teens. The grown-up side of urban fantasy is aimed at an adult audience and is told in first-person narrative to third-person narrative, features mystic beings, and female protagonists who operate in the parameters of vigilantism or law enforcement. Seanan McGuire's October Daye novels follows the adventures of a changeling that's born to a human father and a faerie mother moonlighting as a private investigator and knight errant to San Francisco's faerie. The Dresden Files series by Jim Butcher explores a wizard working as an investigator and blends aspects of fantasy with noir themes. Last, but not least, the Mercy Thompson series by Patricia Briggs focuses on a shapeshifter working as a VW mechanic and the paranormals living in the Tri-Cities.
Death's Mistress by Karen Chance

     Now we're covering urban fantasy for teens. Teen urban fantasy explores protagonists that are accidentally drawn into the unknown. They find romance, gain allies, and develop or discover preternatural abilities of their own. An example of this subject is the House of Night series by P.C. and Kristen Cast that follows a school for future vampires. Another example is Alyson Noel's The Immortals series which tells the stories of a girl who gains special abilities after an accident and follows a mysterious new boy at school. In addition, love triangles play a prominent part in these and other UF stories.

*Author Jeanine Holmes pointed out the distinction between urban fantasy and paranormal romance in an online commentary saying:
The two share 90% of their genre DNA. However, the main differences are this: Urban fantasy focuses on an issue outside of a romantic relationship between two characters. Paranormal romance focuses on a romantic relationship between two characters and how outside forces affect that relationship. The best litmus test to determine if a story is urban fantasy or paranormal romance is to ask the following question: 'If the romance between Character A and Character B were removed, would the plot still stand as a viable storyline?' If the answer is 'yes,' chances are good it's urban fantasy. If the answer is 'no,' it's most likely paranormal romance.
And that's urban fantasy, friends. So...who's ready to write some UF action?

*Wikipedia-Urban fantasy  

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