History SoYouWantTo / WriteAnUrbanFantasy

18th Feb '16 8:56:13 PM Mhazard
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* Remember that [[OurMonstersAreDifferent Your Monsters Can Be Different]]. Then again, it's extremely difficult to reinvent the [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]] or the [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf]] or some other classic monster, and inventing your own creatures can lack the archetypal significance of something more familiar, like, say, a [[OurZombiesAreDifferent zombie]]. The best approach is probably to look at what you need the monster to do, and add or take away weaknesses, strengths and other traits that we associate with those monsters to make them your own, based around where you want the plot to go. If you want your vampire to be a devout Christian, there's nothing stopping you from discarding the rule about them hating crucifixes. If you're writing a romance story and your werewolf has a silver wedding ring, you could drop the stuff as their KryptoniteFactor. If your protagonists are trying to escape a horde of evil [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent goblins]] and their regular meeting place is a coffee house, maybe the goblins could be [[WeaksauceWeakness allergic to coffee]]?

to:

* Remember that [[OurMonstersAreDifferent Your Monsters Can Be Different]]. Then again, it's extremely difficult to reinvent the [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampire]] or the [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolf]] or some other classic monster, and inventing your own creatures can lack the archetypal significance of something more familiar, like, say, a [[OurZombiesAreDifferent zombie]]. The best approach is probably to look at what you need the monster to do, and add or take away weaknesses, strengths and other traits that we associate with those monsters to make them your own, based around where you want the plot to go. If you want your vampire to be a devout Christian, there's nothing stopping you from discarding the rule about them hating crucifixes. If you're writing a romance story and your werewolf has a silver wedding ring, you could drop the stuff as their KryptoniteFactor. If your protagonists are trying to escape a horde of evil [[OurGoblinsAreDifferent goblins]] and their regular meeting place is a coffee house, maybe the goblins could be [[WeaksauceWeakness allergic to coffee]]?
coffee]]? Another option is to [[StarfishAliens defy the standards]] and create a [[EldritchAbomination creature beyond comprehension, laws and physics]], if we understand the nature of the creatures, we do not fear them, but if we don't, the long-lasting sheer horrors can be invoked by how ''wrong'' they are.
19th Jan '16 9:55:11 AM Dravencour
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* Are the supernatural elements of the story being kept behind a {{Masquerade}} or is it common knowledge? If there is a Masquerade, why is the magic being treated this way? Is it because TheWorldIsNotReady or just that those who have encountered monsters, witches or fairies just don't think that the authorities would believe them? If there's no {{Masquerade}}, how does magic affect the world? What is the divide between the {{Muggles}} and the WitchSpecies?

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* Are the supernatural elements of the story being kept behind a {{Masquerade}} or is it common knowledge? knowledge?
**
If there is a Masquerade, why is the magic supernatural being treated this way? Is it because TheWorldIsNotReady or just that those who have encountered monsters, witches or fairies just don't think that the authorities would believe them? them?
**
If there's no {{Masquerade}}, how does magic affect the world? What is the divide between the {{Muggles}} and the WitchSpecies?
19th Jan '16 9:23:55 AM Dravencour
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** If magic or the supernatural cannot be defeated by non-magical means, or can only be defeated with magic, you need to explain why your wizards or other beings haven't taken over the setting.



* If magic trumps mundane and Magic Must Defeat Magic, you need to explain why the wizards or other supernatural beings haven't taken over yet.


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* If magic trumps mundane and Magic Must Defeat Magic, you need to explain why the wizards or other supernatural beings haven't taken over yet.

19th Jan '16 9:20:54 AM Dravencour
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* If magic trumps mundane and MagicMustDefeatMagic, you need to explain why the wizards or other supernatural beings haven't taken over yet.


to:

* If magic trumps mundane and MagicMustDefeatMagic, Magic Must Defeat Magic, you need to explain why the wizards or other supernatural beings haven't taken over yet.

19th Jan '16 9:20:01 AM Dravencour
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Added DiffLines:

* If magic trumps mundane and MagicMustDefeatMagic, you need to explain why the wizards or other supernatural beings haven't taken over yet.

4th Oct '15 7:34:13 PM nombretomado
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* ''Series/BeingHuman''

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* ''Series/BeingHuman''''Series/{{Being|Human UK}} [[Series/BeingHumanUS Human]]''
26th Apr '15 3:56:15 AM Kaioshin
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* Just how much magic are you working in, anyway? Don't make the mistake of thinking that a well thought out, believable setting can only be a FantasyKitchenSink. Increase the Urban and tone down the Fantasy, if you want: you can do great things by having just one or two supernatural elements (or several relatively low-powered ones) and then taking advantage of the ButterflyEffect. It's not about the size of your idea, it's what you do with it, and that book really explores the main conceit with a lot of depth. There's a story where the only supernatural part was that some characters could [[{{Telepathy}} read minds]], but it worked very well, and was one of the best explored worlds ever written.

to:

* Just how much magic are you working in, anyway? Don't make the mistake of thinking that a well thought out, believable setting can only be a FantasyKitchenSink. Increase the Urban and tone down the Fantasy, if you want: you can do great things by having just one or two supernatural elements (or several relatively low-powered ones) and then taking advantage of the ButterflyEffect. It's not about the size of your idea, it's what you do with it, and that your book really explores the main conceit with a lot of depth. There's a story where the only supernatural part was that some characters could [[{{Telepathy}} read minds]], but it worked very well, and was one of the best explored worlds ever written.
16th Dec '14 6:22:39 PM CyberTiger88
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* [[TheCity Cities]], obviously, it's there in the title. But is it a grim, grimy and Noir-esque or MarySuetopia? Is it a major urban centre like UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, UsefulNotes/{{Paris}} or UsefulNotes/{{London}}, [[AliensInCardiff or a smaller city or township]]?

to:

* [[TheCity Cities]], obviously, it's there in the title. But is it a grim, grimy and Noir-esque CityNoir or MarySuetopia? a QuirkyTown? Is it a major urban centre like UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, UsefulNotes/{{Paris}} or UsefulNotes/{{London}}, [[AliensInCardiff or a smaller city or township]]?
15th Dec '14 6:54:00 AM CyberTiger88
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*

to:

*



* Cities, obviously, it's there in the title. But is it a grim, grimy and Noir-esque or MarySuetopia? Is it a major urban centre like New York, Paris or London, or a smaller city or township?

to:

* Cities, [[TheCity Cities]], obviously, it's there in the title. But is it a grim, grimy and Noir-esque or MarySuetopia? Is it a major urban centre like New York, Paris UsefulNotes/NewYorkCity, UsefulNotes/{{Paris}} or London, UsefulNotes/{{London}}, [[AliensInCardiff or a smaller city or township?
township]]?
7th Nov '14 9:15:00 AM ChaoticNovelist
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* If you're giving your main characters any kind of supernatural powers, then you may find it interesting to explore how they may be CursedWithAwesome or BlessedWithSuck. Whilst this can present an interesting opportunity to explore how magical powers would work and what effects they would have on those possessing them in a "realistic" context, try to avoid making it an overly-convenient crutch for angst, and maintain a balance between the awesomeness of the abilities and the suckiness of the consequences of possessing them. Most fantasy is in many ways essentially WishFulfillment - the reader will approach your text often wishing that they could do the things that your characters can do, and if you have constructed a situation where your character possesses amazing and enviable skills and abilities with few negative drawbacks, and yet spends [[{{Wangst}} all their time whining about them]], this will risk irritating your reader. In a similar vein, {{Wangst}}y immortals (including vampires) are dime-a-dozen - just check out WhoWantsToLiveForever - and there's a bit of a 'been there, done that' feeling to them; try and focus on the positives as well, or at least make them stick out.

* Explain where your [[OurMonstersAreDifferent monsters]] come from. Despite many Urban Fantasies being filled with [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires]], [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]], [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolves]], and more, almost no story makes an attempt to explain where these creatures come from. They just pop out fully formed like Athena from Zeus' head. And since Urban Fantasies are supposed to take place in the real world, you need to explain how your creatures fit into evolution and natural history. Not only does this make your creatures seem more realistic, but it provides excellent opportunity for plot growth. Are vampires souped up bats using magic to disguise themselves as human? [[TheVirus Are they just humans infected with a symbiotic microorganism?]] Or is the mortal theory of evolution flawed or just completely wrong? However, one explanation one should avoid is the one almost all Urban Fantasies resort to when pressured with a race's origins, namely that (in the case of werewolf stories, for example) a human/demon/wolf mated with a demon/wolf and voila, instant werewolf. This is a bad AssPull at best, unless you do some serious [[JustifiedTrope justification]].

!'''Potential Subversions'''

* Supernatural plot elements are often used as a [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic metaphor for something more mundane]]. The plot of the original ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'' novel can be seen as a metaphor for childbirth - isn't the idea of creating something evil a terrifying prospect? ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' was originally based upon the idea that HighSchool is hellish, by filling Sunnydale High with ''actual'' demons that themselves often represented fears such as peer pressure and relationships. Be creative, this is a very flexible way of enriching your story. But don't make it too {{Anvilicious}}, and keep in mind that GenreSavvy readers will recognize what you're doing.

* A lot of urban fantasy focuses on the TrueCompanions, such as ''Buffy'' and ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}''; ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' and ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' focus on families. The characterization is often a much-loved feature about this sort of show, as the {{Masquerade}} tends to force the few who are in the know about the world's magical secrets in together. Perhaps your story could explore working relationships that are magically influenced, such as a hospital or veterinary practice for magical beings, a secret post office for magical messages, a special branch of the army for those with PsychicPowers or a sanitarium for werewolves? Or perhaps you can subvert or invert this expectation... the group is [[TeethClenchedTeamwork not made up of True Companions]], or even [[EnemyMine enemies forced to work together to survive]].

to:

* If you're giving your main characters any kind of supernatural powers, then you may find it interesting to explore how they may be CursedWithAwesome or BlessedWithSuck. Whilst this can present an interesting opportunity to explore how magical powers would work and what effects they would have on those possessing them in a "realistic" context, try to avoid making it an overly-convenient crutch for angst, and maintain a balance between the awesomeness of the abilities and the suckiness of the consequences of possessing them. Most fantasy is in many ways essentially sometimes WishFulfillment - the reader many readers will approach your text often wishing that they could do the things that your characters can do, and if you have constructed a situation where your character possesses amazing and enviable skills and abilities with few negative drawbacks, and yet spends [[{{Wangst}} all their time whining about them]], this will risk irritating your reader. In a similar vein, {{Wangst}}y immortals (including vampires) are dime-a-dozen - just check out WhoWantsToLiveForever - and there's a bit of a 'been there, done that' feeling to them; [[LivingForeverIsAWesome try and focus on the positives as well, well]], or at least make them stick out.

* Explain where your [[OurMonstersAreDifferent monsters]] come from. Despite many Urban Fantasies being filled with [[OurVampiresAreDifferent vampires]], [[OurDragonsAreDifferent dragons]], [[OurWerewolvesAreDifferent werewolves]], and more, almost no story few stories makes an attempt to explain where these creatures come from. They just pop out fully formed like Athena from Zeus' head. And since Since Urban Fantasies are supposed to take place in the real world, you need to explain how your creatures fit into evolution and natural history. Not only does this make your creatures seem more realistic, but it provides excellent opportunity for plot growth. Are vampires souped up bats using magic to disguise themselves as human? [[TheVirus Are they just humans infected with a symbiotic microorganism?]] Or is the mortal theory of evolution flawed or just completely wrong? However, one explanation one should avoid is the one almost all Urban Fantasies resort to when pressured with a race's origins, namely that (in the case of werewolf stories, for example) a human/demon/wolf mated with a demon/wolf and voila, instant werewolf. This is a bad AssPull at best, unless If you want to do some InterspeciesRomance (wolf demon+human=instant werewolf) you need to do some serious [[JustifiedTrope justification]].

!'''Potential Subversions'''

justification]] to make it work. How about one of your characters is involved with FantasticScience and can explain how the supernatural-gene thing works?

!'''[[PlayingWithATrope Potential Ways to Play]]'''

* Supernatural plot elements are often used as a [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic metaphor for something more mundane]]. The plot of the original ''Literature/{{Frankenstein}}'' novel can be seen as a metaphor for childbirth - isn't the idea of creating something evil a terrifying prospect? ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' was originally based upon the idea that HighSchool is hellish, by filling Sunnydale High with ''actual'' ''real'' demons that themselves often represented fears such as peer pressure and relationships. Be creative, this is a very flexible way of enriching your story. But don't Don't make it too {{Anvilicious}}, and keep in mind that GenreSavvy readers will recognize what you're doing.

* A lot of urban fantasy focuses on the TrueCompanions, such as ''Buffy'' and ''ComicBook/{{Hellboy}}''; ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'' and ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' focus on families. The characterization is often a much-loved feature about this sort of show, as the {{Masquerade}} tends to force the few who are in the know about the world's magical secrets in together. Perhaps your story could explore working relationships that are magically influenced, such as a hospital or veterinary practice for magical beings, a secret post office for magical messages, a special branch of the army for those with PsychicPowers or a sanitarium for werewolves? Or perhaps you can subvert or invert play with this expectation... the group is [[TeethClenchedTeamwork not made up of True Companions]], or even [[EnemyMine enemies forced to work together to survive]].



* Start with a garden variety ChangelingFantasy. Then ''subvert'' it. The protagonist's real family/species may be not too nice, and instead the protagonist considers their MuggleFosterParents to be their "true" family, and treats their foster parents and siblings as anyone would their own family. Perhaps even taking it upon themselves to defend them from the various [[OurMonstersAreDifferent supernasties]], {{Mooks}}, and [[BigBad Big Bads]] that inhabit the universe. Bonus points if the protagonist has a [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Super Powered Evil Side persona]] that results from their [[EnemyWithin family or species' heritage]], or if the protagonist was whisked away from their biological parents because they are [[AntiAntiChrist the harbringer of doom]].

to:

* Start with a garden variety ChangelingFantasy. Then ''subvert'' ChangelingFantasy then subvert it. The protagonist's real family/species may be not too nice, and instead the protagonist considers their MuggleFosterParents to be their "true" family, and treats their foster parents and siblings as anyone would their own family. Perhaps even taking it upon themselves to defend them from the various [[OurMonstersAreDifferent supernasties]], {{Mooks}}, and [[BigBad Big Bads]] that inhabit the universe. Bonus points if the protagonist has a [[SuperPoweredEvilSide Super Powered Evil Side persona]] that results from their [[EnemyWithin family or species' heritage]], or if the protagonist was whisked away from their biological parents because they are [[AntiAntiChrist the harbringer of doom]].



* Later series of ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' seemed to suffer from PowerIncontinence and introduced [[CreatorsPet a character]] with the power of "[[GreenLanternRing projection]]" which basically meant "[[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands do anything]]". More and more magic was being thrown at the script without additional characterization and non-formula plot.

to:

* Later series of ''Series/{{Charmed}}'' seemed to suffer from PowerIncontinence and introduced [[CreatorsPet a character]] with the power of "[[GreenLanternRing "[[ImaginationBasedSuperpower projection]]" which basically meant "[[NewPowersAsThePlotDemands do anything]]". More and more magic was being thrown at the script without additional characterization and non-formula plot.
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