Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal


This week I was cruising the twitterverse when I came across a curious tweet by @greyhausagency.

Here it is: greyhausagency So, do me a favor and define the diff. in your opinion between urban fantasy and paranormal! #urbanfantasy

Since my WIP is an urban fantasy, I decided to chime in.

This is what I said: katie_bowden @greyhausagency IMHO it’s the nature of the supernatural element: UrbanF=scenario/thing, Para=character/personality trait #urbanfantasy.

I said that because Paranormal seems to me to be primarily romance: girl and vampire kind of things. (Thank you TWILIGHT).

Since replying I delved a little deeper: In my reading online I’m seeing urban fantasy discussions that describe UF as an umbrella genre, capturing all stories that include fantasy elements in a real world setting. There seem to be lots of people who think UF and Paranormal Romance are the same thing. But if you ask me – and I use my own WIP as proof – Paranormal Romance is a sub-genre of UF.

My WIP is a middle grade urban fantasy novel – that means real romance is a no-no.

Anyway, I’d love your thoughts!

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5 thoughts on “Urban Fantasy vs. Paranormal

  1. I completely agree. Urban fantasy encompasses much more than ‘simply’ romance, or rather, it’s focus is on more than romance. Many urban fantasy seems to have a greater degree of sex and romance than traditional fantasy, and I think that is in part due to the cross marketing of paranormal and uf. But the sex and romance do not define the story (usually).

    Urban fantasy contains books like Harry Potter, the Dresden Files, and the works of Charles de Lint (who is often credited with creating urban fantasy). Certainly few of these have anything to do with Paranormal Romance.

    • Thanks for your comment – it’s a pretty wide genre, particularly when you factor in the different age groups/market segments. That’s a lot of freedom – perhaps that’s why l like it.

      • Agreed. It definitely dominates my book shelf right now, including everything from ‘kick butt heroines’ to ‘magical noir detectives’. And I’m pretty much hopeless… if a movie or TV show comes out that contains UF elements, I’m probably watching it… 🙂

  2. I’m a little late to this post, but I wanted to chime in anyway. After I finished the first draft for my current WIP, I felt pressure to designate one way or another. Since it doesn’t have girl and vampire or shifter etc romance as the central theme I decided that it was best to go with UF. Though after going through Google’s keywords and the hits they generate, I’m definitely making it clear on my site that my writing is paranormal in nature if not a romance.

    • Hey Stephany! I love that you checked out the Google! What did the keywords reveal? It’s probably a gold-mine of marketing info.

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