Author Topic: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves  (Read 16755 times)

Offline LizW65

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #60 on: May 08, 2013, 04:41:04 PM »
Okay, so taking into consideration all the peeves thus far aired, what can we come up with for a story? Let's start with the protagonist: (s)he must be the normal, well-adjusted product of a happily uneventful childhood, with lots of family and friends, a good-paying job, and a stable, long-term romantic/sexual relationship with someone who isn't a brooding but sexy vampire/werecreature/faerie/witch/wizard/whatever. (S)he most definitely is not the Chosen One nor is (s)he mentioned in any kind of cryptically worded prophecy. Any supernatural powers (s)he may have are not derived from sex. The paranormal threat/antagonist should be from a mostly unexplored mythology or a newly created one. And it has to be written in third person. What have I missed?
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Offline Galvatron

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #61 on: May 08, 2013, 05:12:15 PM »
well I would certainly be intreseted in reading a book like that, and if I was to come across one in my weekly trip to the book store it would come home with me simply because its new and fresh.


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Offline the neurovore of Zur-En-Aargh

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #62 on: May 08, 2013, 05:12:38 PM »
I keep hearing people say that this is original, but I could never see it myself. Sure, I've never heard of any other fictional vampires who sparkle

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Offline the neurovore of Zur-En-Aargh

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #63 on: May 08, 2013, 05:23:08 PM »
Okay, so taking into consideration all the peeves thus far aired, what can we come up with for a story? Let's start with the protagonist: (s)he must be the normal, well-adjusted product of a happily uneventful childhood, with lots of family and friends, a good-paying job, and a stable, long-term romantic/sexual relationship with someone who isn't a brooding but sexy vampire/werecreature/faerie/witch/wizard/whatever. (S)he most definitely is not the Chosen One nor is (s)he mentioned in any kind of cryptically worded prophecy. Any supernatural powers (s)he may have are not derived from sex. The paranormal threat/antagonist should be from a mostly unexplored mythology or a newly created one. And it has to be written in third person. What have I missed?

Interesting.  You've ruled out a lot of the cheap-and-easy overdone ways of generating significant conflicts in UF; the next question I'd ask would be, what sort of significance can our protagonist have in, or to beings from, the underlying mythology without falling into Chosen One trope ?  What gets those beings interested in the protagonist's life ?  To my mind, it would have to be either a more subtle sort of mythological significance, or just some sort of random chance - I can totally buy story setups where one random coincidence drags the protagonist into contact with the rest of the story and everything else is consequence of that, but not really more than one.

(I am kicking around a UF notion myself, but it's not going to fit here because a couple of things in it are commenting on the tropes we are trying to explicitly avoid in this case; the protagonist isn't close to her birth family, and does not have many friends basically because she has some of the kinds of surety and stubbornness that many UF protagonists have but exists in a world where rather than this being admirable and heroic it is obnoxious and offputting to people, and while it gets her into trouble, it's very much not the means by which she gets out of it.  Also she has no romantic life because she's essentially asexual and considers the whole idea vaguely icky and something that makes people behave stupidly.)
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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #64 on: May 08, 2013, 05:29:54 PM »
Okay, so taking into consideration all the peeves thus far aired, what can we come up with for a story? Let's start with the protagonist: (s)he must be the normal, well-adjusted product of a happily uneventful childhood, with lots of family and friends, a good-paying job, and a stable, long-term romantic/sexual relationship with someone who isn't a brooding but sexy vampire/werecreature/faerie/witch/wizard/whatever. (S)he most definitely is not the Chosen One nor is (s)he mentioned in any kind of cryptically worded prophecy. Any supernatural powers (s)he may have are not derived from sex. The paranormal threat/antagonist should be from a mostly unexplored mythology or a newly created one. And it has to be written in third person. What have I missed?

I'll take a 3rd-person Case of The Toxic Spell Dump any time you feel like writing one...or a Khaavren romance ftm.

Offline Spot

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #65 on: May 08, 2013, 06:05:06 PM »
I keep hearing people say that this is original, but I could never see it myself. Sure, I've never heard of any other fictional vampires who sparkle (although I'm sure if I went digging hard enough I would probably find something similar somewhere--nothing new under the sun etc), but it didn't seem to make THAT big of a difference to me. I mean, the rest of the 99% of traits are still borrowed from someone else or mythical sources or wherever. JB's vampires feeding on lust felt more original to me than the sparkly-sparkle.
OH I wasn't saying that those books were original, but that was the best example of a bad book I could give that overused someone else's ideas, and had one idea that maybe original. :)

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Offline Snowleopard

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #66 on: May 08, 2013, 06:25:03 PM »
I'll take a 3rd-person Case of The Toxic Spell Dump any time you feel like writing one...or a Khaavren romance ftm.

I love the Case of The Toxic Spell Dump - that's a fun read.

Offline the neurovore of Zur-En-Aargh

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #67 on: May 08, 2013, 06:55:36 PM »
I'll take a 3rd-person Case of The Toxic Spell Dump any time you feel like writing one...or a Khaavren romance ftm.

If we're expanding "urban fantasy" to include fantasy set in cities across a wider range than what's currently generally called genre UF, I'll certainly second the choice of a Khaavren romance; or indeed, Swordspoint, The Malacia Tapestry or Walter Jon Williams' Metropolitan and City on Fire. (Brilliant books, those last, which not enough people have read.  An entire planet covered by city in the Coruscant/Trantor mode, kept going by magic that works as a utility.  WJW calls them Totally Urban Fantasy.)
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Offline LizW65

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #68 on: May 08, 2013, 07:32:11 PM »
I'm presently doing the research for a story that I just realized pretty much fits all the criteria in my above post, though it may more accurately be called "magical realism" rather than UF. It features a single paranormal element in an otherwise conventional thriller, and the protagonist spends much of the story convinced that what he's experiencing is either a side effect of the medication he's on, or his subconscious trying to tell him something.
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Offline Galvatron

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #69 on: May 08, 2013, 08:31:25 PM »
I'm presently doing the research for a story that I just realized pretty much fits all the criteria in my above post, though it may more accurately be called "magical realism" rather than UF. It features a single paranormal element in an otherwise conventional thriller, and the protagonist spends much of the story convinced that what he's experiencing is either a side effect of the medication he's on, or his subconscious trying to tell him something.

Is it a made up world or does the story take place in our world.

Also, I see this often with horror
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Offline LizW65

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #70 on: May 08, 2013, 09:40:34 PM »
Is it a made up world or does the story take place in our world.

Also, I see this often with horror
It's our world.

You mentioned horror; another example is the "Modern Gothic", aka "Had I But Known" or "Girl Gets House" genre, of which I've been reading a lot lately, specifically the ones Elizabeth Peters wrote as Barbara Michaels in the late Sixties through the Nineties. (This genre seems to have pretty much disappeared, BTW.) Often an otherwise mundane setting will have a ghost or other paranormal feature, and the characters tend to take a very sceptical, rational viewpoint, as opposed to accepting magic as a possibility right off the bat.
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Offline Galvatron

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #71 on: May 08, 2013, 09:55:15 PM »
It's our world.

You mentioned horror; another example is the "Modern Gothic", aka "Had I But Known" or "Girl Gets House" genre, of which I've been reading a lot lately, specifically the ones Elizabeth Peters wrote as Barbara Michaels in the late Sixties through the Nineties. (This genre seems to have pretty much disappeared, BTW.) Often an otherwise mundane setting will have a ghost or other paranormal feature, and the characters tend to take a very sceptical, rational viewpoint, as opposed to accepting magic as a possibility right off the bat.

Ya I really like those stories, I think a big thing is that using just one supernatural element and having it be a rare occurance in the setting lets the world work the way it is.  I believe nuero mentioned a pet peeve about when magic is present but the world still works the same as it does in the real world despite hte pressence of magic or monsters and all that.  I agree and find that super annoying.

However, if there is say 1 or 2 monsters, well that might not change the world anymore than your average pyscho/serial killer does.  I mean one vampire could probably get by unoticed, now hiding an entire vampire civizaltion is bit different.

One thing I would like to see more is a mix of Horror with Urban fantasy.  I think the two lend nicely to each other.
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Offline Galvatron

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #72 on: May 08, 2013, 10:01:14 PM »
OH! cant believe I forgot this one

Having a main character that is in some form of law enforcement.  Its been done, some of the titans of UF did a good job with it, that doesnt mean I want to keep reading about it all the dang time.
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Offline LizW65

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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #73 on: May 08, 2013, 11:05:14 PM »
Quote
However, if there is say 1 or 2 monsters, well that might not change the world anymore than your average pyscho/serial killer does.  I mean one vampire could probably get by unoticed, now hiding an entire vampire civizaltion is bit different.
A good example of this is PN Elrod's Vampire Files series--12 books so far, and the only paranormal creatures are vampires, portrayed as extremely rare (even prolonged blood exchange with a vampire is no guarantee that you'll become one when you die.) Oh, and there's a ghost--a bartender who was killed in a mob shootout--but she does very little except play with the lights and leave an occasional scent of roses.
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Re: Your Pet Urban Fantasy Cliche Peeves
« Reply #74 on: May 09, 2013, 12:01:42 AM »
It's our world.

You mentioned horror; another example is the "Modern Gothic", aka "Had I But Known" or "Girl Gets House" genre, of which I've been reading a lot lately, specifically the ones Elizabeth Peters wrote as Barbara Michaels in the late Sixties through the Nineties. (This genre seems to have pretty much disappeared, BTW.) Often an otherwise mundane setting will have a ghost or other paranormal feature, and the characters tend to take a very sceptical, rational viewpoint, as opposed to accepting magic as a possibility right off the bat.

It is my impression, admittedly based on limited evidence, that that sort of thing very much peaked in the mid to late '70s.