Thursday, March 31, 2011

Urban Fantasy- Vampires, Werewolves and Witches oh no!

I was given this idea by @jtdabbagian. It seems like an obvious choice, for me to write about Urban Fantasy, yet that's probably why I've avoided it. Most people when you mention UF think vampires. That is one of the more common themes in the genre, and yet, how many times can you re-invent the wheel? I love vampire books, really I do, but there can only be so many original takes on a single idea. The same goes for werewolves and witches as in my opinion they are the next two most common supernaturals used within the genre.

My point is, we are creative, artistic writers, full of wild imaginings. So let's be creative. Use our imagination a little. Why not dive into Australian mythology and dig up a few creatures? Or how about India and the multi faceted mythology that is still very much in play there? Why not create your own set of monsters and mythology? I mean, that's the point of writing any kind of fantasy right? That we can do anything we want as long as we follow our own rules.

What I'm getting at is that little known facts, tidbits of information and inspiration can be spun into full scale stories and worlds. As as writers of fantasy, that is what we're building whether it be in the real world or a world that is completely from our imaginations. We shouldn't need to keep on beating a dead horse, or in this case, a dead vampire. And with that, I've completed my rant. But feel free to continue it on in the comments section.


Shannon said...

Sorry for the mushed writing. I can't make my blog do anything else at the moment. Must be a setting button I pushed by accident!

jfjenkinswrites said...

I agree! My Urban Fantasy story I wrote, I took on different creatures and mythologies and ideas. It was a lot of fun to step outside of the box like that. Highly recommend it. :)

Anassa said...

I definitely agree! I'd love to see more multiculturalism, and more variety in general. Not that I don't like me a good vampire novel, on occasion. I'd also like to see more stories that don't follow an action-murder-mystery storyline. There are other sorts of crimes, after all.

Do you know about #ufchat on Saturdays? You'd fit right in.

L.Scribe Harris said...

I'm not much of a reader of supernatural fiction, but I do think the common tropes we see are valuable. We've got these established mythologies to work with, and they can be so fascinating that everyone wants to play in that sandbox. The real issue rises from the lack of originality then applied to the story and characters. We need more variation of theme in this regard.

Dealing with tropes is always difficult, because some people will not like unique twists, and some people will require them.

I tend to agree with you, in that the best part of fantasy is creating something unique and new, but lots of people are comfortable with the mythologies and tropes already in place. There's a market for it (obviously), so why not? I may not like vampires much, but that's less the vampire and more the stories that revolve around them.

On the other hand, I never get sick of dragons. ;)

Lauren (@Markmaster on Twitter)

rosehips said...

On the suggestion you made to mine Indian "mythology"--here's the thing. Many Hindus have worshipped the deities and believed in the demons, etc., of this cosmology for thousands of years (which I realize you alluded to in your post). My concern is that by using it in fiction, I may disrespect the faith of those people. Did you ever watch Xena? She eventually starts traveling the world, and there's a series of episodes in India. And as I recall, a lot of Hindus objected to the episodes.

That said, I wouldn't have the same scruples about using a Celtic, Egyptian, or Sumerian mythology in my fiction, and I know there are people who have revived those as religions, too. I guess I see what they are doing differently, as "neo" faith. These cosmologies ceased to have devout followers for thousands of years--the are as fair game to authors as they are to neopagans, imo. However, others may disagree! :)

C.D. Reimer said...

You don't have to look to the other side of the world to find something new to use for a Urban Fantasy story. Too often people - including writers - miss the mythical stories that are available locally.

I live in California, which has/had numerous Native American tribes. Seems like each one had their own mythical stories. One them has the California condor as being a mythical creature that cuts off the head of people to drink their blood. I'm working that into a short story where three recyclers are plundering a windmill farm when they run into these blood-drinking California condors.

Shannon said...

Thanks to everyone for comments and ideas-

jfjenkinswrites- I agree with stepping outside the box, its great fun and there are so many things you can do!

Anassa- thanks for the heads up on #ufchat, I think that would be cool to join in.

Lauren- Very good points and thanks again for the help with HTML, as you can see I did figure it out though why google did this to me in the first place escapes me!

Rosehips- A line of thought I hadn't considered and I thank you for bringing it up. Always important to be aware sensativities when it comes to religion and mythology (unless you are trying to provoke!)

C.D Reimer- Agreed! You don't have to go far at all to find an idea to draw into your writing. We have some great stories/myths that revolve around our area and I look forward to when I can use them. Can't wait to see your short about nasty condors, please let me know when you've got it out there for reading, it sounds very cool. :)