Wednesday, February 6, 2019
February is Fantasy Month: Week 1// Genres
Hello, everyone, welcome to February and in case you didn't know, February is Fantasy month! Which of course, I'm super excited about because I love fantasy. So every Wednesday this month (I'm thinking Wednesday will be my set day for posting on this blog since it seems to be the day I get off the most, but I suppose we shall see in this trial run if it works out), I'm going to talk about fantasy themes. Today I'm going to be discussing the different genres counted in fantasy!
There is much more to fantasy than meets the eye, it's such a vast genre and it has so many subgenres that I can't even keep track of them. Because of this, I'm only going to list the genres that I know/am familiar with/ actually count as fantasy.
The thing about genres is that, at least in my extremely humble opinion, it's all about the setting. Sure each of these subgenres come with their long lists of tropes, but tropes can be mixed up and even abandoned and these stories can still be counted in that genre as long as it has the right setting/aesthetic/feel.
So now, without any further ado I'll move onto the genres/subgenres/ whatever you want to call it...
Not my favorite genre under that fantasy umbrella, but still a fun one! This genre basically counts as a book that has all of the extraordinary magical elements, but still takes place in the modern setting of a bustling metropolis. I don't have any Urban Fantasy stories that I've written yet. But I'm sure that won't last considering that it's my goal to write in all of the fantasy genres.
This genre is probably the reason that I don't care too much for Urban Fantasy. With Magical Realism we are able to have magic and the modern world entwined. But, it doesn't have to be in a city. It could take place in an elite boarding school in Britain, or in a small Midwestern town. The possibilities are endless. I would say that one of my favorite movies of all time The Mummy (the one from 1999 with Brendan Fraiser, I never saw the new one with Tom Cruise) is magical realism because the magical elements are blended into the real world. And that's a historical story! Like I said, the possibilities really are endless.
As a writer, I would say that I have the most experience with Portal Fantasy (though as a reader, that title would have to go to High Fantasy). The classification I use for this genre is that it features any characters from one world being able to travel to a world completely different than their own.
Not to be confused with other dimensions, portal fantasy is not about parallel worlds, but actually different worlds. Think Narnia. Imagine being able to actually travel to Middle Earth. Both are realms existing outside of our own, and Portal Fantasy bridges the gap between our two worlds.
My Amar books would fall under this genre, as would my faerie story Of Gold and Iron, and my WIP Here is There though that one does straddle the line between Portal Fantasy and parallel worlds, but I think at the end of the day it is really more Portal Fantasy than anything.
Some people might call this "Kingdom Fantasy" but I think that High Fantasy is bigger than that. Kingdom Fantasy is really just a sub-sub-genre that falls under the High Fantasy classification.
After listing all of the fantasies that are tied into the real world, High Fantasy is basically where the fantasy world is all there is. There is no earth to tie in with. These worlds have extreme world building, often including a magical and political system and even a religion. High Fantasy books can be inspired off of the different cultures of the world, but they are still, in the end, their own worlds.
It doesn't matter what setting you use, like it would for Kingdom Fantasy where it would be knights and castles and dragons and usually a European themed culture. High Fantasy can be any world, whether it is inspired by Russia, or Japan, or Germany.
In fact, the only High Fantasy book that I've written at this moment is League of Thieves. And that takes place in a Middle Eastern themed world.
And now we get into the murky waters of Dark Fantasy. I don't really know if there is a defining feature of Dark Fantasy, if there is, I've never come across it. This subgenre deals with the darker, more frightening themes of fantasy. There isn't really a key dividing factor between High Fantasy and Dark Fantasy. Nothing says how dark a High Fantasy book has to be before it is grouped under this subgenre. It really depends on the reader/writer of the story.
For instance, I count my Winter Cursed series as a dark fantasy. Not because it is super gruesome or evil or anything. But more because of once again, the setting. Dark forests, snowy dead trees, shadowy corridors.Characters are cursed, the magic isn't always good in fact even when used for good it sometimes has disastrous consequences. My characters are more morally grey, making it harder to distinguish a good and a bad. My hero is a dark lord, for goodness's sake.
And my villainess... well, one of the books in that series is actually from her perspective.
Like I said, when we get into dark fantasy, we are treading murky waters.
Retellings/Fairy Tales/Faeries/Myths/Legends and Lore
These aren't always fantasy and that is mainly because, as I mentioned previously I feel like genres are more defined by their setting than anything and the thing that makes these types of stories so unique is the change in setting. However, since there are so many stories like this that are counted as fantasy out there, I fell like it would be remiss to not to at least mention them.
In my personal experience these genres are often combined with another genre to get the setting. Winter Cursed is a retelling of the tale of Snow White, it's also a dark fantasy. My faerie story Of Gold and Iron is a faerie story, but it also counts as a portal fantasy.
There are, even, some stories that can be a combination of the things that I listed above. I hope to someday write a retelling of the legend of King Arthur only with faeries.
This is a thing. No, I am not pulling your leg. Science Fantasy is actually a genre. Actually the beloved (at least by me), Star Wars is considered a space fantasy (please don't tell my childhood, it would be scandalized).
From my understanding, Space Fantasy is basically stories that take place in outer space, but have major fantasy elements and cliches. So the story of Princess Leia, and a cocky smuggler, and a naive farm boy fighting against an evil empire is counted as a type of fantasy... even though it takes place in a galaxy far, far away...
So these are the genres that I can think of, what do you guys think? Have I missed anything? Which is your favorite of these genres to read or to write?
Haha, you thought I was done talking, but I still have a few more things to say.
You can find the schedule for the rest of the blog tour. You can find some of the other participants in the blog tour here, here, and here.
Also... there's a prize which is super awesome because well... dragons. So be sure to comment guys to increase your chances of winning this awesome crystallized dragon fire... *cough* um, I mean letter opener.
Stay tuned next week where I'm planning on talking about characters. AND as it will be my birthday, I will also be hosting the cover reveal for A Winter Dark and Deadly. So be sure not to miss it.
Also, since we were just discussing all of the genres (and A Winter Dark and Deadly for that matter) I just wanted to take a moment to state that I am looking for beta readers for two of my stories. A Winter Dark and Deadly an Of Gold and Iron. Dark fantasy and faeries. You take your pick. You can sign up here!
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