Genre tips

Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Urban Fantasy

The A to Z Challenge asks bloggers to post every day except Sundays during the month of April on a thematic topic. This year, my second year with A to Z, I’ll cover writing genres.

Today’s genre:

Urban Fantasy


Urban Fantasy: a subgenre of fantasy in which the narrative has an urban setting. 

Tipsa to z

  1. The setting may be futuristic or historical, real or imagined.
  2. Pick a familiar setting and write what people DON’T know about it.
  3. Include what readers already speculate about in your story.
  4. Make the setting vivid–almost like a character.
  5. Wrap your fantasy world around reality.
  6. Explain the unexplained so readers share in this insider knowledge.
  7. The classic urban fantasy setting is a dense, highly populated present-day metropolis.
  8. Beneath this urbanity that readers understand is the strange–the fantasy–that makes the story.
  9. Explain why this strange background doesn’t take over the real world that most people enjoy.
  10. There should also be a huge, possibly frightening unknown that gradually unfolds throughout the story, thanks to clever and persistent investigation.

Popular Books

  1. Alex Craft series by Kalayna Price
  2. Allie Bechstrom series by Devon Monk
  3. Angelfire series by Courtney Allison Moulton
  4. As You Wish by Jackson Pearce
  5. The Charlie Madigan series by Kelly Gay
  6. The Dreg City series by Kelly Meding
  7. Immortals series by Alyson Noël
  8. The Jaz Parks series by Jennifer Rardin
  9. Marla Mason series by T.A. Pratt
  10. Walker Papers series by C.E. Murphy 

Click for complete list of  2018 A to Z genres

More U Genres:

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Jacqui Murray is the author of the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy, the Rowe-Delamagente thrillers, and the upcoming Born in a Treacherous Time. She is also the author/editor of over a hundred books on integrating tech into education, adjunct professor of technology in education, webmaster for four blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer,  a columnist for TeachHUB, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. You can find her books at her publisher’s website, Structured Learning.

56 thoughts on “Today’s #AtoZChallenge: Genres–Urban Fantasy

  1. Pingback: #AtoZChallenge: Genres–sUbterranean Fiction | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: Celebrating 14 Women Who Used to Be Strangers - Profound Journey

  3. Excellent post dear Jacqui… I recognized the characteristics as you enumerated them. I like that cities and metropolis play such an important role in this genre, as it is our most familiar background these days. Very interesting post!. Love & best wishes 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  4. PS Cathy Kennedy, I loved your girl with an umbrella picture, but your blog has not been letting me comment for the last few days. It must be a WordPress thing. Sometimes, as on this site, it lets me, other times it refuses. WordPress hates me(it’s mutual), but sometimes misses the fact that it’s me and lets me through…

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Hi Jacqui! Hilary M-B mentioned you had written about urban fantasy on your A to Z, as I have, so here I am! Mine is not tips, just about favourite books in the genre by Australian children’s and YA writers. (I’m a teacher-librarian).

    I love urban fantasy. My favourite non-Australian author in this genre is Charles De Lint, a Canadian writer who manages to mix Celtic and Native American spirits into his tales of a town called Newford which is filled with artists, musicians – and fairies! Melissa Marr is another UF writer I admire. Her fairies who walk the streets of the city are scary and Celtic, Scottish rather than the usual Irish. On your list, I have only heard of Alyson Noel, but I haven’t read that series.

    Aussie Children’s Writers: U Is For Urban Fantasy

    Liked by 2 people

  6. Your Tip #4: I’m sure it comes from my theater background, but when teaching set design, I always tell my kids that the lighting, sound design, and set, are just as important characters. Probably the set the least, as a lot of that depends on artistic talents available. But Sound and Lighting? It’s part of the backstory, as far as I’m concerned. It all sets a tone; it can be discordant or it can fit in perfect unison.

    Tale Spinnig

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hi Jacqui – this is one of those genres … that’s just passed me by … you are finding a whole lot of genres for us … so interesting – cheers Hilary

    Liked by 2 people

  8. With some of these genres, like today’s, my first thought is that there’s an entire world out there that I know absolutely nothing about – not just books, but the people who write those books and the others who read them.
    I remember taking my niece to a Manga conference once and being flabbergasted by the thousands of fans (some in costume), and the wide array of classes available on very specific aspects of Manga. I was an outsider, completely oblivious to the rules and practices of a culture I hadn’t even known existed.
    Thanks for the peek into this one, Jacqui.

    Liked by 3 people

    • A Manga conference! That would have been fascinating. I too have no idea about Manga except for this big-eyed faces. That sort of joy I suspect you felt for the passion of the Manga attendees–that’s my excitement in discovering these genres. Who knew writers would spend time on these sorts of topics–and enough that it became a genre? Love it.


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