29 April 2012

A World Without Demons

Paranormal Urban Fantasy

I recently had someone tell me they didn’t think they’d be interested in The Succubus Gift because they were tired of books about demons. So am I, along with a number of other things. There aren’t any demons, vampires, shape shifters or other paranormal creatures in my books. Such topics have been worked almost to death.

The large publishing houses classify books into genres so they know which editor to send them to. It’s a mailroom thing. A book that crosses genres, or an entirely new concept, doesn’t have a mail slot.

As a result, we’re flooded with variations on a theme, and almost nothing new hits the bookstores.

I’ve read several discussions recently where people were trying to figure out what was Paranormal and what was Urban Fantasy. Then there’s always the problem of what is Urban Fantasy and other Fantasy. Or the difference between Science Fiction and Fantasy. The general consensus is Paranormal is vampires, shape shifters, zombies, demons, angels, etc. Fantasy is magic, witches, fae, etc.

So what is a book about telepathy? If it takes place in an urban setting, then it’s probably Urban Paranormal Fantasy. If you do a search on that phrase on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, you’ll turn up a bunch of books by Indie and small press authors. There will be some from the big houses, but those will include vampires, shape shifters, etc.

What I’m trying to get at is most of the innovative or original ideas aren’t making it through the genre filters at the large traditional publishers. What a shame.

About the Author

Comments (2)

  • jqtrotter


    29 April 2012 at 19:47 | #

    Figuring out which genre a book goes under is annoying. But when it comes to traditional publishing methods, as long as you get the genre generally right (say, you think it's Fantasy) then you approach a Fantasy lit agent. But that lit agent realizes that it's not just Fantasy but Urban Fantasy then the lit agent will tell you and get it to the appropriate editor.

    I don't think authors (the good ones) ever write saying I need it to fit into X genre. I think they just write and then decide what the closest appropriate genre is. That's why when you're going traditional a lit agent is a must. They'll be able to guide the author into what the right genre is for the work.

    It takes the traditional method a while to change, but if there really is an original, brilliant idea then it can change things. Paranormal Romance is a category that was created by such ideas. It's "new" as far as the traditional method is concerned. Though, I hear editors are looking for a breather from it.

    The only part that I don't really agree with is: "There aren’t any demons, vampires, shape shifters or other paranormal creatures in my books. Such topics have been worked almost to death."

    Personally, I think that vampires are overdone but I'd never say they're near death. I'd never want that, either. If something really original with the topic I'd give it a shot. If it's well written, if I enjoy it, then I'll read it (but that hasn't happened in a while). But people say things like you did a lot.

    I just don't get it. Paranormal creatures ARE what made Paranormal Romance a category. Most are tied into a lot of fantasies, too.

    That's like saying in regards to a mystery, that I'm sick of murderers and cops catching them. In a romance, that I'm sick of boy meets girl, boy falls for girl, girl doesn't feel the same way... until she does. In a fantasy, that I'm sick of magic. In a thriller, I'm sick of danger. In a horror, I never want to see another ghost again.

    A lot of things are used over and over again in one category but those categories get away with it. Why can't the same be true with PNR?

    There's a saying where there are only 12 plots in the world that are used over and over again. As long as each time someone uses plot 2 in an original fashion then no one even notices. So, really, even if I get a bit sick of something (vampires) I'd never want them to disappear and I'd never think that they're near death.

    Because I know someday someone will come along and give life and originality back to them.




    29 April 2012 at 20:01 | #

    It's true, and I don't think vampire books will go away. As in any genre, there are good, original works, and those that are just poor reworks of what others have done.

    In any fiction, character and plot, in addition to the author's skill at telling the story, are what separates good books from trash. That's what makes Twilight such a success.


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