Urban fiction Writing Contests

beanMany authors don’t want to categorize their writing, but the best way to immediately turn on (or turn off) a new reader is to relate your book to something they already like.

The easiest way is to pick comparison authors in a genre and in today’s article, talks about the definition of urban fantasy along with some examples.

I had a hospital appointment back in early March which happened to fall on the same day as the launch of, my latest novel. I was rather nervous, as I had to go home and get ready for the launch straight after the appointment – unsurprisingly it was on my mind. When I mentioned it to my doctor, she lit up, excited (as most people are) to hear I was published. “What kind of book is it?” she asked. “Urban fantasy.” I replied.

She gave me a blank look.

“Is that like Lord of the Rings?” I shook my head. “No, but it is a kind of fantasy. It’s set in modern day Bath, but has evil faeries and mad sorcerers.” She beamed again. “Oh, I like the sound of that! I thought you meant it was something with elves in it.”

between2thornsVariants of this conversation happen every time I mention ‘urban fantasy’ to anyone who is

a) not a science fiction and fantasy (SFF) reader or

b) not an SFF writer or

c) not an SFF publisher.

It’s hit and miss with booksellers – some are very excited, others say “Oh, I don’t do *that* section of the shop” and move away like I’ve been writing pamphlets extolling the virtues of eating a live frog every morning. (I don’t, by the way.)

I’m a geek.

I’m a huge fan of SFF and I am immersed in that world. Just like everything that mankind has ever created, the moment you have groups of people producing, consuming and enthusing about something, it quickly becomes riddled with jargon and categorization that only means something to the group of people who produce, consume or enthuse about it.

That’s true of the term ‘urban fantasy’ but what makes it more tricky is that we still debate what that encompasses in our community. That’s true of all things though, isn’t it?

So what I would like to do is talk about how a few people have defined it, what I mean when I say “I write Urban Fantasy” and point you in the direction of a few places you can dive in and experience it for yourself.

The urban angle

Urban fantasy has been defined by the places in which the fantasy (magic and or strange creatures, usually) is set – i.e. the urban environment. It gives flexibility in terms of the time period; the city could be in the Victorian, Tudor, post-American civil war – whenever. As long as the fantasy is rooted in the city, it’s urban fantasy.

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