Friday, August 15, 2008
What's With Urban Fantasy? Jim Butcher, Laurell K. Hamilton Feel Free To Respond
So I took one hundred and fifty pages of manuscript and butchered it to change the book into a contemporary urban fantasy. Prior to this the novel had more of a mystery novel feel, with characters developing casually, plot unfolding, tension building. However, a few friends convinced me to go the Urban Fantasy route. Bang. So I started the rewrite. However, after three chapters, I'm thinking: I need to go even more radical don't I? I need to shoot steroids into this work.
So let's talk about Urban Fantasy. Help me get a handle on the genre. Right now I am under the understanding that urban fantasy isn't just fantasy in an urban setting (I recently argued with my wife that Dracula could have been urban fantasy at one time). No, the genre seems to have certain conventions that I need to begin adopting instead of resisting.
1) The novel needs to be series of action sequences strung together by occasional bursts of plot [unfair?]
2) Like any good fantasy, the rules of reality and fantasy need to be consistent and logical.
3) The protagonist [at least most of the current popular ones] are flawed characters, often suffering from issues with self esteem. They also are often outsiders and deal with horrible relationship skills. Their choices of partners suck or are doomed to fail. Another thing about the heroes, they are often (in keeping with the best of Campbell) reluctant.
Butcher, Hamilton, any one else out there who writes Urban Fantasy, or who feel they know the genre well, what am I missing? Let's get a discussion going here. I need to get my head around this and right now, I think I know what I am doing but the voices keep telling me I don't. What about you, Mark Rainey? William Jones? Sidney Williams? Charles Gramlich? Calling all writers. Let's debate and discuss.
Posted by Stewart Sternberg at 12:14 PM