Author Topic: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves  (Read 16092 times)

Offline arianne

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Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« on: May 02, 2013, 11:08:12 AM »
Just wondering what everyone is tired of seeing in urban fantasy (both for adults and young adults)?

I'm pretty certain that the word "vampire" is going to come up, so I'm going to put it out there first. I think a lot of people are tired of vampires and vampire romances.

Surfing through the internet I find that many people are not fans of the "Oh, I'm so plain and boring, but yet everybody loves me and thinks I'm beautiful" heroine, or the "Gosh, I'm really good looking and the author spends five pages out of every ten showing just how gorgeous I am" hero.

But anyway, what are your pet peeve hate UF cliches, and have you ever been pleasantly surprised by someone who took something you thought was way cliche and made it fresh and interesting?
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2013, 12:17:09 PM »
The "Woe is Me, Immortality sucks moose wang because its so boring" trope made so popular by Anne Rice.  Especially in this day in Age, with the breakneck speed that society, science, and technology are all developing, there is no excuse for that kind of boredom beyond self-indulgence, apathy and laziness, methinks.

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Offline Shecky

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #2 on: May 02, 2013, 04:48:18 PM »
This is yet another thing that Jim put his own spin on and made okay again.
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #3 on: May 02, 2013, 05:58:02 PM »
This is yet another thing that Jim put his own spin on and made okay again.
How so?  I dont recall anybody that was noticeably whiny about it.  Some were less up with the times than others, but that was about it as far as I can recall.
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Offline Shecky

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2013, 06:15:23 PM »
Meant clichés in general. Most writers try to avoid them; Jim saddles them and rides them into the sunset.
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #5 on: May 02, 2013, 06:36:07 PM »
haha, ya, well said.  Anyone who can manage to turn a Lois Lane-esk damsel in Distress into a tragic Hero superchick is doing something right.   :)
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Offline LizW65

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #6 on: May 03, 2013, 01:32:12 AM »
Zombies. I just don't get 'em.

Vampires have become somewhat of a tired cliche through overuse, but I still enjoy a well-written vampire story that brings something new to the table.

And I'm probably in the minority here, but I'm getting a little tired of the "all myths are real" trope; just because a particular story involves, for example, angels and demons, doesn't mean that vampires, Bigfoot, ghosts, aliens and the Fae also have to exist in that particular fictional world.
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Offline Shecky

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #7 on: May 03, 2013, 01:43:28 AM »
Zombies. I just don't get 'em.

Have you read Mira Grant's "Newsflesh" series? For those not in the know, "Mira" is actually UF author Seanan McGuire, whose Toby Daye series is a peer of TDF, and the lady knows snark, epidemiology, the whole damn horror genre and how to spin a cliché back into something interesting. "Newsflesh" is easily one of my favorite series of the past decade.

And I'm probably in the minority here, but I'm getting a little tired of the "all myths are real" trope; just because a particular story involves, for example, angels and demons, doesn't mean that vampires, Bigfoot, ghosts, aliens and the Fae also have to exist in that particular fictional world.

I'm OCD enough that going the other direction, saying that one mythos obtains while others don't, bugs me; I can't see why just one could be true and no others. Plus, it takes a big pair (of cerebral lobes, duh) to take on all the world's mythology and at least make a nice dent in incorporating them. At the very least, it makes a wide-open, potentially HUGELY rich resource for the author when he doesn't just limit himself to one take on one mythos.
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Offline Wordmaker

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #8 on: May 03, 2013, 11:12:52 AM »
Personally I'd like to see more protagonists that don't have all that many supernatural powers. I love underdogs, and there's no better way to create an underdog than put a regular guy up against sorcerers and monsters. That's partly why my Locked Within series is less focused on magic and more on the hero rediscovering his past.

Also I think "sex for power" has been a bit overdone. The Anita Blake books are arguably the worst offender here. I'm not against sex in fiction, by any means, but it feels a little skeevey that so many heroes get power-ups from sex with supernatural beings.

Oh, of course: Powerful monsters stalking young girls, controlling their behaviour, and generally being emotionally abusive, and this being depicted as romantic and a good thing. That needs to stop.

Offline the neurovore of Zur-En-Aargh

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #9 on: May 03, 2013, 02:04:34 PM »
haha, ya, well said.  Anyone who can manage to turn a Lois Lane-esk damsel in Distress into a tragic Hero superchick is doing something right.   :)

That comparison mildly irritates me because it kind of misses out on some of the better stuff that's been done with Lois Lane as a character this past forty years, which is admittedly not a majority of the Superman comics in that span, but still; there's been a lot more to her than damsel in distress.
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Offline Quantus

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2013, 02:21:18 PM »
That comparison mildly irritates me because it kind of misses out on some of the better stuff that's been done with Lois Lane as a character this past forty years, which is admittedly not a majority of the Superman comics in that span, but still; there's been a lot more to her than damsel in distress.
Fair enough, Ill admit Im taking it mostly from that old Lois and Clark tv show.  But there a WOJ somewhere where he said he made her a vamp mostly to avoid her becoming a lois lane in the sense of an overconfident reporter that keeps getting herself into hot water and requiring the Hero to bail her out. 
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Offline Wordmaker

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2013, 02:23:52 PM »
Man, that old Lois and Clark show was so much better before Lois found out Clark was Superman. After that she really became a wuss.

Funnily enough, I think take Susan out of the series so early made it harder for me to really like her character. Of course, I'm a Harry/Murphy shipper, so from the get-go I was set against Susan  :P

Offline AesopsInvestigations

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #12 on: May 03, 2013, 05:26:37 PM »
Have you read Mira Grant's "Newsflesh" series? For those not in the know, "Mira" is actually UF author Seanan McGuire, whose Toby Daye series is a peer of TDF, and the lady knows snark, epidemiology, the whole damn horror genre and how to spin a cliché back into something interesting. "Newsflesh" is easily one of my favorite series of the past decade.

I'm OCD enough that going the other direction, saying that one mythos obtains while others don't, bugs me; I can't see why just one could be true and no others. Plus, it takes a big pair (of cerebral lobes, duh) to take on all the world's mythology and at least make a nice dent in incorporating them. At the very least, it makes a wide-open, potentially HUGELY rich resource for the author when he doesn't just limit himself to one take on one mythos.

As a TV show I think Supernatural is doing it right as to lumping most mythos into one universe. They've even toyed around with Fae as well.

Offline mithrandirthewhite

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #13 on: May 03, 2013, 08:06:15 PM »
For me, i'm not always a fan of the graphic sex scenes that seem to show up in a lot of UF, at least the series that I have come across.  It's reached the point that I find myself suddenly at the next chapter.  I do not mind fade to black style or something similar, but the graphic descriptions are a bit much at times.
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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #14 on: May 03, 2013, 08:59:26 PM »
Levels of sexual content were a concern of mine when I was writing Locked Within. I didn't want to get too graphic because, really, that's not what my story was about. I wanted the scenes to serve specific roles in portraying character development and revelation, so I kept them very vague.