Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Differentiating Between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance

Carol and I are writing a joint list of books(I love Google documents!) and since a bunch of my books are paranormal and fasntasy, I decided to list them down in separate categories. paranormal and urban fantasy but hmmm how do you define which genre a book is? Of course, let's check online! I found this great article written by Keri Arthur about the difference between paranormal romance and urban fantasy, which pretty much explains deeper of what my idea of each category is. Good to know I wasn't so far out of it. Anyway, decided to share the description of the great keri Arthur, See the link for the complete article. Also got my description from this article.

Paranormal Romance:

Usually written in the 3rd person. Main characters are Hero and Heroine and they MUST have a happily ever after together. This couple is exclusive. Love shall overcome is the theme. Each book in the series has a new hero/heroine pair, and these characters often show up as secondary characters in the other books in the series.

Like regular romance, paranormal romance covers the whole genre spectrum. They can be humorous, historical, futuristics, contemporary, mystery, fantasy, urban fantasy, scifi, gothic, erotica—basically, if the romance is front and center, then it’s labeled a paranormal romance, regardless of the genre.

Examples: JR Ward’s Black Dagger Brotherhood, Nalini Singh’s Psy/Changelings series, Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series, Marjorie M. Liu’s Dirk & Steele series, Meljean Brooks’ Guardian series, Lori Handeland’s Nightcreature series , Lara Adrian’s Midnight Breeds series, Sherrilyn Kenyon’s Dark Hunter series, Alexis Morgan’s Paladins of Darkness series

Urban Fantasy:

Usually written in the first person. Theme is horror, not love. A single protagonist often narrates the entire series. (Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld is a notable exception). The protagonist is often a cynical, fiercely independent, tough chick with commitment and trust issues. lol. (Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden is a notable exception.) There may be a love interest, but it is subtle and may build over the course of the series. Or maybe the more the merrier, a la Anita Blake.

Urban fantasy is fantasy that is set in a modern, urban environment (for example, Melbourne, New York, or even some made up city) and it can contain any and all paranormal or fantasy elements (such as vampires, weres, shifters, demons, succubus, magi etc). But in urban fantasy, romance and romantic entanglements are not the main plot element, though they are often present as a sub-plot.

Dark urban fantasy contains the same elements as urban fantasy, but usually has serious leanings towards horror elements. Dark and bloody events can and do happen in these novels, and a happy ended is not a necessity.

Examples: Laurell K Hamilton’s Antia Blake series, Ilona Andrews’ Kate Daniels’s series, Patricia Briggs’ Mercy Thompson series, Kelly Armstrong’s Women of the Otherworld series, Kim Harrison’s Rachel Morgan series, Jim Butcher’s Harry Dresden series, Marjorie M. Liu’s Maxine Kiss series, Keri Arthur’s Riley Jensen series, Karen Chance’s Cassandra Palmer series, Jeanine Frost’s Night Huntress series

Now on to continue my list!


sumthinblue said...

Very enlightening!

Am not a fan of this genre so now I know the difference :D

D. Shawne said...

hehe yes it is quite informative to have that distinction cleared out

Know Thyself said...

The problem is sometimes dont authors mix and match or gradually change their style? I mean Anita Blake seemed so tamed the first couple of books...then BAM hooterville!

D. Shawne said...

yup that is possible. Anita Blake is still urban fantasy although more erotic urban fantasy now I guess. Styles do change and authors change genres ie JR Ward started her brotherhood series as paranormal romance and now is calling it urban fantasy. I guess differentiating it give you an idea what to expect from the book or series or where the author is planning to take you with it

Anonymous said...

Thanks! That really clears up quite a bit. I stumbled onto Patricia Brigg's Mercy Thompson Series and realized that I wanted to read more of that kind of book, only I didn't really know what that kind of book was. Now I have a better idea of what to look for.

D. Shawne said...

If you like Patricia Briggs, you should read Ilona Andrews! I love her too!

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S. A. Soule, Creativity Coach said...

great post! I would love permission to repost this on my writing blog, and give you ful credit, of course with a link to your blog.

Let me know if you want do a guest post. :-D

Happy reading,
Fiction Writing tools

D. Shawne said...

@WriterSherry you can refer to the original post if you like