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Book and Film Discussions > What's the Difference: Dark Fantasy vs. Urban Fantasy?

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message 1: by Alex (last edited Jul 18, 2016 11:57PM) (new)

Alex (asato) I checked out the bestsellers lists for examples:

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-K...

https://www.amazon.com/Best-Sellers-K...

and wikipedia for definitions:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dark_fa...
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Urban_f...

there seems to be quite a bit of cross-over in the amazon categories, but it seems that dark fantasy is a little broader than urban. regardless of the abstract categorizations, a pragmatic and, perhaps, more recent trend to consider is the fact that amazon lumped urban and paranormal (romance?) together.

the reason i ask is b/c just this morning i had an idea to write a short story revolving around an Asian-American female programmer or geneticist in biotech who becomes involved w/an occult mobile app--maybe called "Red Knitter"--and was wondering which sub-genre to shoehorn it into. i was thinking of horror too. i was thinking of romance or paranormal romance, but after talking to my romance novelist-friend, i'm dissuaded from that course of action. (tbh, i was influenced by the authorearnings.com presentation to the RWA.)

of course, it's probably too soon to say, but i'm just brainstorming.

seems like something fun to talk about too.


message 2: by Neil (new)

Neil Carstairs | 53 comments I've not long joined this Goodreads Group to try and get a handle on Urban Fantasy to see if any of my work fits into that category. From the pointers I've been given UF seems to cover a very wide range from novels set in Regency England to contemporary and near-future settings but all seem to have some kind of paranormal theme.


message 3: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 405 comments I would like to know what the main difference between paranormal and fantasy is. everything seems to overlap and is there really any benefit to defining a work that specifically?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Fantasy deals with magical or mythical figures such as elves, fairies, dragons, wizards, mages etc and are usually (not always) set in the distant past. The existence of these creatures is usually known to society, with or without frequent interaction. Paranormal deals with supernatural figures such as vampires, demons, wraiths, shapesgifters, angels etc and are usually (not always) found in urban settings both past and futuristic. These creatures usually need to stay hidden from a society that is largely unaware of their existence. Yes, there is some overlap. It's not a bad thing that the categories are so specifically labeled. Anything that funnels readers directly to your writing style increases the chances of you growing a niche fan base. Besides, readers look for their next read from many overlapping genres.


message 5: by Alex (last edited Jul 19, 2016 10:04AM) (new)

Alex (asato) Tara wrote: "Fantasy deals with magical or mythical figures such as elves, fairies, dragons, wizards, mages etc and are usually (not always) set in the distant past... Paranormal deals with supernatural figures such as vampires, demons, wraiths, shapesgifters, angels etc and are usually (not always) found in urban settings both past and futuristic. These creatures usually need to stay hidden..."

ah. that is a useful distinction.

so, how about dark vs. urban? is urban lighter in tone?


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments Urban just speaks to location. Dark speaks to the degree of graphic depiction and/or disturbing motifs. For example dark fantasy is the parallel to da k urban fantasy. Game of Thrones is dark fantasy, as are the Drizzst books. Something like Twilight is paranormal romance.


message 7: by Segilola (new)

Segilola Salami (segilolasalami) | 405 comments thanks for the distinction oh you wise oracle Tara


Tara Woods Turner | 2063 comments *bows*


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