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Thread: Genre change to urban fantasy...

  1. #1
    By any other name... RedRose's Avatar
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    Genre change to urban fantasy...

    So, I think I'm writing an urban fantasy.

    I thought it was going to be a paranormal romance. Silly me.

    After doing some research on the genre, I wondered if most urban fantasy fiction is in 1st person or you can get away with close 3rd with alternating POVs, corresponding with chapter breaks and/or scene changes.

    I'd like to ask anyone who writes urban fantasy about the elements needed in their stories for it to be categorized as such. I was doing some studying and research into paranormal romance novels and carefully looking at the focus when I realised my paranormal romance is more of a sub-plot. My gut instinct told me something was wrong.

    The setting/town is a character in itself. My female protagonist is tough and fights off the hero to begin with and nearly kills him. She isn't going to jump into bed with him at the drop of a hat, he has to work like the devil on her. But, that romantic element is there, threading through the story.

    The high stakes are the end of their world, not the end of their romance. Although, the end of the romance comes a very close second.

    There is more focus on action, violence and fantasy and I don't think this one's going to end in a HEA, but a Happy-for-Now. Which is how it should be because the heroine isn't easy to convince. She is not a doormat.

    The romance doesn't propel the story, more the fantasy/paranormal/action elements move it forward. She is wary of him, carries weapons around to protect her and the black moment as such, is tied to parts of the romance, but more parts of the fantasy/world building. She will drop him like a hot coal if he abuses her trust, which he does and she risks their entire world.

    Any help or insider's info would be greatly appreciated. I'm just writing my character's story, and found out it's not what I thought it was. Dontcha just luv it.

    I'll peruse the threads on this board for more info. Thanks in advance.

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  2. #2
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    After reading your description of the book, it definitely sounds as if it's more UF than PNR. While many UF's have a romance element, if the focus isn't the building of the relationship between the h/h, then it isn't a romance.

    You're right that a lot of UF's are first person, but not all. I've seen more third person UF's popping up, so if third is the best perspective for your story use it.
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  3. #3
    Undercover, sort of... hillaryjacques's Avatar
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    Sounds like UF. I would say that most UF is first person, but there's some great third person out there. I just started Laura Bickle's Embers - third person and, so far, excellent.

    The POV should be what you're most comfortable telling your story in.

  4. #4
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Yep, sounds like UF, and I write third person.

    In fact, you can download the first five chapters of my new release on my website, if you want to get a free taste of third POV urban fantasy:

    http://www.staciakane.net/books/unholy-ghosts/

    (The download link is about 1/3 of the way down, just below the blurb and foreign release covers, and just above the excerpt on the page itself.)

    .
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  5. #5
    By any other name... RedRose's Avatar
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    Thanks for all your help.

    My WIP also has a slight humorous tone and I was wondering if this is allowed/frowned upon? Lots of action, too.

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  6. #6
    Undercover, sort of... hillaryjacques's Avatar
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    Action is a must. Humor is optional, but suggested.

  7. #7
    By any other name... RedRose's Avatar
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    Awesome. That's great news. lol.

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  8. #8
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    My first series (the Megan Chase books, from Juno/Pocket) had a humorous/light tone, with several very funny characters.

    There are no real rules about what the tone should be or what POV it needs to be written in or what kind of story it needs to be or what gender the MC needs to be.

    So write what you want!
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  9. #9
    It's a doggy dog world benbradley's Avatar
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    I'm not sure I understand these genres (don't think I've ever read either of these, but that's surely beside the point...).

    Specifically, what makes one novel labeled paranormal and another labeled fantasy? Seems to me they'd both be in fantasy.

    Oh, I HAVE read novels labeled fantasy, but I doubt even those are like this modern "urban fantasy" stuff.
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  10. #10
    Girl Detective Stacia Kane's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by benbradley View Post
    I'm not sure I understand these genres (don't think I've ever read either of these, but that's surely beside the point...).

    Specifically, what makes one novel labeled paranormal and another labeled fantasy? Seems to me they'd both be in fantasy.

    Oh, I HAVE read novels labeled fantasy, but I doubt even those are like this modern "urban fantasy" stuff.

    Paranormal romance is genre romance in a paranormal world or with paranormal elements. The story is about the romance, in that the entire plot revolves around it and all scenes/events contribute to the story of the characters falling in love, and ends with an HEA (Happily Ever After) in which the characters pledge eternal love and commitment.

    Urban fantasy is a novel set in a paranormal/fantasy world or with fantasy/paranormal elements, but the story is about whatever it's about: mystery, thriller, quest, suspense, adventure. The world generally contributes to or plays a part in the story; that is, IMO an urban fantasy story should not be able to take place in any world but the one in the book. There may be a romantic subplot or a love triangle, but it's usually not resolved at the end of the first book, and continues into the rest of the series (if it is a series; if it's a stand-alone, of course, the relationship is usually resolved).

    So in a paranormal romance the focus is on romance, and the plot comes from and feeds the romance story.

    In an urban fantasy the focus is on the MC or MCs solving whatever problem they're faced with, and the romantic elements come from the plot and feed the plot.

    Does that make sense?
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  11. #11
    Expert Procrastinator Kweei's Avatar
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    Stacia, I think you summed that up very nicely. I know I tend to fret over what I write and this helped me get a better idea of what genre I'm doing, despite the fact I read in it anyway. It's easy to sweat the details.
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  12. #12
    practical experience, FTW Silver-Midnight's Avatar
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    I have a question. I'm used to writing in another genre(romance/erotica), and I'm switching to urban fantasy with a touch of romance. However, I'm more worried about the tone that I'm writing in. I usually write in third person with a very humorous tone to it. Some of urban fantasy that I've read didn't have that type of tone to it though. Is that a real problem? I know that this was asked earlier in the thread, but in my circumstance, the characters' actions, statements, and thoughts can be funny. In some cases, I even think the actual prose has a humorous element to it.

  13. #13
    Mushroom Polenth's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silver-Midnight View Post
    I have a question. I'm used to writing in another genre(romance/erotica), and I'm switching to urban fantasy with a touch of romance. However, I'm more worried about the tone that I'm writing in. I usually write in third person with a very humorous tone to it. Some of urban fantasy that I've read didn't have that type of tone to it though. Is that a real problem? I know that this was asked earlier in the thread, but in my circumstance, the characters' actions, statements, and thoughts can be funny. In some cases, I even think the actual prose has a humorous element to it.
    The answer hasn't changed from the one earlier in the thread... humour is fine.
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  14. #14
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    For some examples of good, humorous UF, check out Kevin Hearne's Iron Druid series, or Molly Harper's Nice Girls series.
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  15. #15
    They will come from below... Tasmin21's Avatar
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    My series is also pretty humorous. Write it how you want, you'll find your audience.
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  16. #16
    practical experience, FTW Silver-Midnight's Avatar
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    Thanks.

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