Christine Haggerty is my guest today on the Dragon Tempest blog tour. You can read an excerpt from her prize-winning story The End of Everything here. She very obligingly wrote a short article about one aspect of fantasy writing. Here is her take on urban fantasy as a subdivision of fantasy.
Placing Urban Fantasy
Last summer, I sat on my first panel at Salt Lake’s first FantasyCon. The topic, prompted by a last-minute mediator, was whether or not ‘urban’ fantasy was still fantasy, and if so, where ‘urban’ fantasy fit in the genre.
Before Amazon divided genres into little pieces, urban fantasy fit easily under the more general category of fantasy. It involves magic and creatures and typical fantasy genre tropes. By definition, urban fantasy most particularly uses the simplicity of a familiar modern setting rather than the grand world-building required in epic fantasy. Think City of Bones vs. Wheel of Time.
The greatest advantage of urban fantasy is that it functions as a sort of entry-level fantasy genre. I teach high school language arts and work with students at varying levels of reading interest and ability. If I hand a kid a hard copy of Sanderson’s Words of Radiance and ask him for a report, the kid figures he’s done his weightlifting for the day and never even cracks the book. There’s nothing familiar on which to build an understanding of the elements of fantasy. However, if I hand a kid a copy of Fablehaven, he has the familiar setting of this current time and place on which to build a beginner’s understanding of magic and magical creatures.
The advantages of urban fantasy are:
1. World-building is easier to construct for both the writer and the reader because most of the contextual elements are modern and familiar.
2. Magic has a physical basis in the real world, and the reader can see how the magic system affects familiar, everyday objects.
3. Magical creatures are set side by side with human characters who have the same world-references and history as the reader.
4. Readers with limited imaginations can more easily insert themselves into the story because the new elements are mixed with familiar elements.
Urban fantasy, epic fantasy—regardless of genre, we writers have one primary goal: entertain our readers.
Christine Nielson Haggerty grew up in rural Utah with three brothers, a sister, several chickens, a goat, and an outhouse. She always loved the escape of fantasy and the art of writing, and her passion for life is to craft stories of strength and survival.
As a former high school language arts teacher and a black belt in karate, Christine has found a niche in combining those skills to help authors write effective fight scenes.
An award-winning young adult author, she is now launching her dark fantasy fairytale novella series The Grimm Chronicles.
You can visit Christine’s blog here:
and catch up with her here:
Christine has several books available:
The Grimm Chronicles: Pretty Things
The Grimm Chronicles: One, Two, Blood on my Shoe
The Plague Legacy: Acquisitions
The Plague Legacy: Assets
which you can find by visiting her Amazon page.