Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Urban Fantasy





















Urban Fantasy is a very hot writing trend/category at the present time. I have a dark urban fantasy series that I'm conducting research on right now.

My question to writers and readers alike, what would you like to see in urban fantasy that you haven't seen yet? What are you tired of seeing in UF? What elements would you like to see added or eliminated?

I'd like my lurkers to answer this as well. I'm not going to write something that caters to any ideals, but I am curious to see what everyone thinks in regards to this topic. :-)

26 comments:

writtenwyrdd said...

Urban Fantasy seems to be rather loosely defined, but it has to have an urban setting. And violence, and darkness, and it should border on horror. (Or is that the definition of dark fantasy?)

Anyhow, I think that the tough paranormal sleuthing female protag is getting overdone, as much as I love them. Perhaps a male lead character? Or a male alien? Or a robot?

What I really like is when the author manages to take the same-old, same-old and stand it on its head, make the tropes new, twisted, different.

You do that, I'll buy every book you write!

Robin said...

I love urban fantasy. I just finished "The Strain", which I found disappointing. It was basically an updated version of "Salem's Lot". Been there. Bored to be there again.

Good writing with clean prose goes a long way towards me like a book. I love an interesting story that carries me into a fantasy world and away from my mundane life. I like characters who are more human, and have flaws. They can't be too tough. Like Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica.

Lana Gramlich said...

I can't address the subject of this post, unfortunately (being predominantly into non-fiction & fractal geometry, in particular, at present,) but that's a lovely image you've included!

Charles Gramlich said...

Other than a couple of Laurell Hamiltons I haven't read any urban fantasy of the modern type. Just in regards to the Hamiltons, I'd have preferred more action and less lengthy sex scenes.

-Kelly Meding said...

As an avid reader of UF, I've seen quite a lot, and there are things I've seen too much of.

If I hear of a book that uses something other than the well-trodden vampires, werewolves, or fey, I'm on it fast. Ghosts, angels, ghouls, zombies, bean sidhes, Furies, non-wolf shifters, demons, Eastern-folklore, give me!

Not saying there aren't some amazing new books that have vamps, wolves and fey--there are--but it's a crowded market. And it has to be really good to set itself apart.

I still love the tough, ass-kicking heroines (I have one myself), but she needs to have some flaws and weak spots. There are also some amazing male protags out there, but a few more could't hurt.

Demon Hunter said...

Written,
I hope I can make you and a lot of folks buy every book I write. ;-)

Robin,
That's why I'm trying to make my character more vulnerable. I explain why she's tough, but still make her vulnerable. :-)

Lana,
Thanks. I have lots of fantasy pics. :-) I love putting those images on my desktop. :-)

Charles,
I don't write sex. I won't say I never will---if I do it will only be to advance the plot. That's it. Have you read AMERICAN GODS by Neil Gaiman? He's considered a UF writer. Hopefully you'll like mine. :-) I need to pick up yours---soon. ;-)

Kelly,
Me too. I still love those women. They're awesome! My series will include angels, demons, and another "race" of beings, with some other beings thrown in. So we'll see. ;-) I hope folks will enjoy my work. :-D

laughingwolf said...

done well... and [relatively] new... anything goes!

Paris said...

What I would like to see in UF are authors who will take things to the next level. It's fantasy you can create anything you want. Why does it only have to be vampires and werewolves. What preys on them? They can't always be at the top of the food chain with humans needing to be saved. I for one would love to see a vampire running for its life while something scarier is trying to munch on its pale scrawny butt.

I am soooooooo tired of the skinny chick with tatoos and some cool power they don't know how to use. Can we please have an Amazon, who has powers and is not afraid to use them? Why do authors limit their characters? Come on it's fiction and fantasy. It's not suppose to be real. Don't be afraid to go there.

Jackie said...

There's a lot I'd love to see. The question is, would we be able to publish it? ;)

Rick said...

Hey, Demon Hunter! The expert on urban fantasy is William Jones, Publisher of both Dark Wisdom and Elder Signs Press. Every time we get together, he's describes a new dimension to it, but the one consistent theme seems to be "raw-edged."

Stewart Sternberg said...

these are tough questions and worthy of a long response, but I will be brief..

I am tired of vampires in urban fantasy and worse, tired of creatures of darkness who are trivialized and taken for granted. I am sick of horror being written with tongue in cheek because the author thinks the audience will not be able to suspend disbelief. I am tired of urban fantasy being written at teens, not because the teens will necessarily read it, but because adult audiences shouldn't have to strain their intellectual muscles.

So what would I like to see in urban fantasy? I suppose you can look at what I have difficulty with and probably guess.

When urban fantasy tries to be dark, I want dark. When it wants to be whimsy, then let it be whimsy and let the path between the two not blur

Demon Hunter said...

Laughing Wolf,
And if it gets enough press. :-)

Paris,
LOL. That would be interesting to see a terrified vampire. :-)

Jackie,
I'd hope so. Publishing is always asking for originality, but they don't always go for it. :-/

Rick,
Well ask him to come over and offer his opinion as well. :-)

Stewart,
Great response. Thanks for the input. I want mine to be dark and I hope that's what I convey. :-)

-Kelly Meding said...

Paris - I love idea of there being something bigger that prey on those monsters traditionally at the top of the food chain. Hmm....

Stewart - I'm going to do a shameless plug here, but my debut novel is pretty dark. Violence and tragedy happens, and it isn't made light of. Might be up your alley. :)

Miladysa said...

I agree with Stewart :)

I'm tired of the vampire being a good guy who got bitten and regrets having to suck blood. I loved it when Lestat turned the Talamasca character (can't remember his name at the moment).

I want the unexpected however unreal it may seem - if I wanted reality I would be reading non fiction.

Scare me but never repulse me - no gore - no minute detail - let me fill in those gaps for myself.

Finally add a little desire and passion but never OTT :)

Harry Markov: daydream said...

Make your love affair center on two characters that are from enemy teams and I will personally slaughter you [just kidding, just maim you *giggle*] Police, FBI, CIA and P.I. is also a major no-no with me.

I would like to see other mythologies involved apart from the vamp and lycan mythos [unless lycanthropy is represented by another species, then go ahead]. Magic is what I would like to see more and a more straight forward story [no mystery]. Oh yeah, more blood, more horror and more blood.

Christina said...

Writtenwyrdd: I love it! I want to read a story about a male alien or robot doing the Urban Fantasy scene, though I wonder if that would still be considered Urban Fantasy.

n.clark said...

i adore UF, but I'm tired of seeing watered-down monsters - especially vampires! Lets see a book where they do drink blood, do prey on humans, don't have a buttload of angst, and can't be cured by True Love.

I'd like to see some alternatives to the cop/private eye trope too, although I understand why it's used so much. Ooh, and how about some of the lesser-used fantasy creatures out there? Gargoyles, maybe? Unicorns?

I just finished Stacia Kane's Demon Inside and thought that was absolutely awesome. A heroine who wasn't a generic fiesty chick in leather, and a plot that was scary, sexy, and twisty. Fantastic!

Demon Hunter said...

Kelly,
Paris and Stewart have made me think before I begin my novel. :-)

Miladysa,
Great comment and insight. Thanks. :-)

Harry,
I have a very different mythos. :-)

Christina,
It could be depending on how it's handled. :-)

Naomi,
Great points! There are so many other ways to go. By the way, Stacia is awesome. :-)

Sassee B said...

This, I want to see this:

"i adore UF, but I'm tired of seeing watered-down monsters - especially vampires! Lets see a book where they do drink blood, do prey on humans, don't have a buttload of angst, and can't be cured by True Love."

^^ Angst is just way overdone right now amongst the monsters, no matter what flavor. If you put in the supernatural, make sure they aren't apologetic about their state. Embrace the darkness, people.

Also, while I do love strong heroines, a lot of them are ALL THE SAME. They're tough to the point where you can tell they're insecure and trying to make up for it. Some are bitchy just to be bitchy, which isn't being tough, it's just being a bitch. (While that can certainly be pulled off well, it gets a little old.) I also second whoever said the sleuths are being overdone. Bounty hunters, too.

What I want to see is a regular Joe Shmoe who won't develop their own mystical powers later. Let the hero be human. Let the monsters be monsters. THAT would definitely stand out in the market.

Sass, who reads way too much UF

Kmcelhinny said...

That is a great question. Sadly I wish I had an answer for you (my brain is still yet to start working today and it's 11 o'clock). But it seems as though *everyone* has some good input. :)

Great job for thinking outside the box though!

Jennifer said...

I guess I will put my two cents in. As a rule, I don't read urbanfantasy because of the lack of imagination. Same story lines over and over again. There are very few that I have read that didn't follow one of the "formulas". I also don't like the level of intellegence in the writing. Most of it is light reading that doesn't stimulate me mentally. It doesn't have to be Tolkien, but don't give me Dr. Seuss.
If the world were perfect, urban fantasy would not just dwell on who can kill the protangonist and sleep with him/her too. It would have complex plots and not just "I went to the mall to get a sweater. I could smell the fey a mile before I got there. I pulled out my fairy killer dust and watched as his body, rippling with muscles and lust, convulsed in dust. I need a man." lol

BreiaB said...

I love UF and I agree with the person who said I want to see the monster that scares the vamps. It would be awesome to have a bigger predator. That was an awesome pic btw.

Demon Hunter said...

Sassee,
I think you'll definitely like what I have planned. :-)

Kara,
Thanks for the compliment. Get that brain together.

Jennifer,
You are sooo wrong. LOL. Actually, there is plenty UF that doesn't have romance. Read Caitlin Kittredge's STREET MAGIC. A good bit don't follow the norm. And you'll read mine---or die. I know where you live. :-P```

Breia,
Thanks for commenting. I love reading everything. Hopefully you'll be reading mine soon. :-)

raine said...

I'm SO late getting into this...sigh...

As a rule, I'm loving most of the UF I've read.
But what would I like to see that I don't?
I don't see much of the hero being a hero. I love the strong heroines, but when the hero's relegated to barely second banana status, only useful for providing the occasional bit of sperm, he seems rather pointless. Can't she be strong with a strong hero?

And loving the strong heroines, yes. But I've gotten to the point where,if I see a lone woman on a cover carrying a sword/knife/stake, I won't even pick it up. Authors don't have much to say about their covers, but that's been a bit of overkill.

Demon Hunter said...

Raine,
You're not too late. Thanks for coming. :-)

Oh, and Jennifer, you must read Neil Gaiman and Charles DeLint. Simon Green, Stacia Kane, and Kat Richardson, etc. :-P```

Sassee B said...

"Sassee,
I think you'll definitely like what I have planned. :-)"

Looking forward to it! >:D