There And Draft Again

A Fellowship of Fantasy Writers

Under the Umbrella August 24, 2013

Filed under: Reading,Writing — thereanddraftagain @ 1:58 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

So we all like fantasy. That much is obvious. But here’s the thing, folks: even if we enjoy reading and writing fantastical stories, there’s more to the fantasy genre than just spells and unicorns. And although we share a common love of fantasy, our specific interests tend to fall into the sub-genres of fantasy that are lesser known than the umbrella term. If someone said, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Mortal Instruments and Shadow and Bone—would you know they belong in different sub genres of fantasy? For those of you that want some clarification, check out the descriptions below:

Urban: Set in an urban environment, the fantasy elements generally blend together with the location for the story somehow or another.

Epic: Adventures, travels and a wide scope of events comprise this category that is most widely associated with the genre.

Contemporary: This can sometimes blur with Urban, but more often than not, in this brand of fantasy, it takes place during a contemporary time period and the plot issues or character types are also branded with a time stamp.

Dark: This is a special sub-genre because it could crossover with the aforementioned categories but by adding elements of horror, it turns the tone of the story into the darker end of the spectrum.

There are such great options to explore in the fantasy genre that it can be discouraging to see people stereotype the novels as they long have been. Just like another great classic, the cookie, there are several ways to make it different, but the possibilities for unique variations are endless.

What subgenre do you write? And which do you read the most?

~ Rachel H

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5 Responses to “Under the Umbrella”

  1. We could really dissect these, couldn’t we?
    I am writing about the genre change between “A Wizard of Earthsea” and “Tombs of Atuan.” In your designation, both are Epic Fantasy. But “Wizard” is written in the language of an ancient myth–like a chronicle of old, or Homer in prose–while “Atuan” is not (despite the books sharing a setting and one character). I suspect that LeGuin talks about it in “The Language of the Night,” but I haven’t read it yet.
    But this is just to say that there are divisions within divisions, I think.

    • It’s the common cry of ‘well what exactly is it’ – which is one of the things I so enjoy about describing my own work of fantasy (or not). You’ve described the sub-genres well. I enjoy epic fantasy, but realise I’ve probably read more contemporary fantasy novels than any other lately, with a smattering of the mythical / folklore type.

  2. NIce. Up until today, I had this idea in my head that contemporary and urban fantasy were the same. So if a fantasy is set in a different world, but the characters speak modern English, that could be called contemporary?

  3. kathils Says:

    I’ve been leaning toward dark fantasy these days. What I’ve also heard termed ‘grimdark’. I love the nitty-gritty feel of it.


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