Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why I Like Urban Fantasy

Imagine you're at the mall in the middle of the day. You're hungry. So, you head on over to the food court for some noodles.

What if...

While you're standing in line for a bite to eat, something is stalking you, and you don't even know it. Hidden in plain sight is a demon intent on taking your soul. He's attacking you this very minute. You just don't feel it. You can't see him because this demon exists in a spirit realm your eyes can not penetrate.

And the story begins. It's an urban fantasy with a spiritual twist because the setting is a modern day mall. It could be any mall. They are all basically the same. But spirits roam here. They're demons who hope to create a Hell on earth. You're the first target.

Of course, that's the basic premise to my Mall Demons Urban Fantasy story. I like the sub-genre because the setting is familiar to readers. It's the mall in my story. For Harry Potter, it was mostly modern-day England. And yet, there's more to the setting. There's a dual reality that categorizes such stories as fantasy - and because that reality (or those realities) includes a familiar cityscape, we have what is known as urban fantasy.

We're not talking Tolkien's Middle Earth here. Since I often take walks around the nearby mall in between classes, my setting in Mall Demons resembles a typical urban American mall. I can make quick references to the food court, for example. An image immediately pops into the reader's mind of the food courts he or she has frequented.

I've colored my fictional setting with the sensory memories of my readers by simply mentioning two words: "food court". That's what I find comforting about Urban Fantasy. The way I see it, I don't have to spend as much time with description - unless it's necessary to the plot. That might cause a problem if one of my readers has never been in a food court. But since I see my core audience as middle school/teens, I feel pretty safe assuming my readers won't draw a mental blank when I say "food court."

Of course, I could be wrong. What do you think?


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