View Full Version : Fantasy, but not epic fantasy?

08-06-2010, 03:46 PM
I'm currently agent-hunting, and what I've seen more than a few say is while they're interested in fantasy, they're not interested in epic fantasy.

This leaves me scratching my head a little about whether or not to send my query over. It's definitely not urban fantasy or steampunk or contemporary fantasy, which is what most of them seem to be actively looking for, but it's not exactly 'epic' either.

It is set in a secondary world, but with no magic, no quests, and a focus on relationships. There's not even a single fight. If you held a gun to my head, I'd guess call it a gothic fantasy of manners, but nobody is saying "hey! send me your gothic fantasy of manners!"

So, does "no epic fantasy" actually mean "no secondary world fantasy"? And what the hell do I call this MS, genre-wise?

08-06-2010, 03:56 PM
It seems to me that 'epic' is the sort that crosses a number of volumes. Think Wheel of Time and Song of Ice and Fire. Even big thick trilogies. Something epic in scale.

I'd say from your blurb above that your tale fits into a 'fantasy but no epic fantasy' remit just fine. It would, of course, also be fine for any agent who says they accept fantasy without any qualifications on what kind. Sounds a bit like Ellen Kushner's Swordspoint, actually, and her work in that world has done quite well. (I don't mean 'sounds like' in the 'same story' sense, but in the 'same flavour' sense.) I'd just call it 'fantasy' and leave it at that.

Good luck!

08-06-2010, 04:00 PM
Hah! You sure you're not writing historical? :D

It's not epic fantasy. As for what it actually is... I have no idea. Perhaps you should simply go with Fantasy of Manners. I don't know how sellable that is, though.

08-06-2010, 05:02 PM
Hah! You sure you're not writing historical? :D

I've wondered that myself! Can you write historicals about places that never existed? :D

I think I might just call it fantasy, no adjectives, and let the story speak for itself.

08-06-2010, 05:10 PM
Epic implies several things: That the stakes are world-redefining, that it is a grand conflict between Ultimate Good and Evil and there is usually some kind of grand battle as the climax. Several volumes are normal, but single-volumes aren't unheard of.

You have a Fantasy, plain and simple. No subgenre. It's Fantasy. Send it to anyone who lists Fantasy without going into subgenres and don't send it to those who only list subgenres.

Hope that helps--and good luck!