Join me starting this Wednesday for my latest class over at Litreactor.com – Urban Fantasy 101!
- Pairing fantasy elements with modern settings and situations
- One of the hottest—and most fun—genres in fiction
Urban fantasy is one of the fastest growing speculative fiction categories to come along in the past decade or so. Strong characters, detailed world-building, and complex mythologies all combine to create a genre that focuses on the intrusion of the fantastic into the everyday world.
That’s what makes this genre so attractive to me as a writer (and to a lot of people, as readers). As author J.A. Pitts put it, “The world may appear to be one way, but underneath, in the bowels of our subconscious, or the side-ways between moments, the OTHER truly exists.” I love that!
The idea that there is something more out there, something extraordinary, which lurks in the shadows and hides behind the mundane, provides a literal playground for me to explore with my writing. Even better, the basic framework of the genre allows me to tell a wide variety of stories—from horror to romance to mystery to adventure—while still meeting the expectations of my readers.
Before you can write solidly entertaining urban fantasy, you have to understand it. And that’s what this class is all about.
— Joseph Nassise
WEEK 1: What is urban fantasy?
Week one will be devoted to understanding the key elements of the genre and what makes it different from other genres, such as paranormal romance and traditional fantasy. Students will examine their own work in progress for the inclusion of such elements and be able to correctly identify them without difficulty.
WEEK 2: Setting and worldbuilding
Week two will look at the importance of setting in an Urban Fantasy novel and discuss various series in which the setting is as important as the main character. Techniques for creating a believable world/setting will be covered in detail.
WEEK 3: Creating believable heroes and villains
Week three will see students introduced to some truly memorable Urban Fantasy heroes and villains, and will have them examine what it is about these characters that makes us love/hate them so much. Techniques for developing story conflict and character motivations will be introduced and students will examine their own projects to ensure that their characters meet these benchmarks.
WEEK 4: Structuring the urban fantasy story
Week four will focus on how developing the plot and structure of your Urban Fantasy novel for maximum effect—both from the perspective of an editor/agent, and from that of the reading audience. Successful books do not happen by accident and creating the proper structure for your tale is a critical component to achieve the results you want.
* Weekly assignments
There will be weekly assignment that will require students to demonstrate their understanding of that week’s lesson, and encourage them to comment on each other’s work. Joe will provide guidelines on what to look for in each assignment, so students aren’t flying blind in their critiques.
Goals Of This Class
- Examine several bestselling Urban Fantasy series
- Understand the key elements of an Urban Fantasy novel
- Learn world-building techniques designed to bring their setting to life
- Discover the importance of character conflict and motivations
- Create authentic, believable characters
- Examine the importance of proper story structure
- Learn skills and techniques to apply these lessons to their current writing project