What is Urban Fantasy Cover Art

What is Urban Fantasy?

350 KB Header for the Writing Gag

What is Urban Fantasy?

The Assumption

Truth is, my thoughts on what is Urban Fantasy could have no place in the literary world and I’ve just been explaining my genre incorrectly and unabashedly since 2019. 

I think of Urban Fantasy’s definition as monsters in the city – err, well, monsters on earth, in a county town, city, or suburb. It’s when you take the setting and make it magical that it becomes strict fantasy. 

Okay, now let me do some research to see if I’m close . . . 

Kate typing really fast to see what Urban Fantasy Is

The Results 

Well I was half right, which also means I was half wrong, but let’s be positive here, why don’t we?

Urban Fantasy: Fantasy in a densely populated city on earth 

Contemporary fantasy: Fantasy in the present time on earth

Epic Fantasy: Fantasy in an invented or parallel world

(Definitions provided by A Dance With Books)

I think it’s important to note that my favorite books have APPARENTLY been a contemporary fantasy . . . which means a lot of the books I’ve written have been contemporary fantasy and not urban fantasy . . . which means I should start having an identity crisis in three . . . two . . . 

The Importance of Knowing Your Genre 

But putting aside my mental health for a minute, it's good to get this cleared up. You know, sometimes I get so excited that writing is what I make it. The rules, the story, and the magic systems are all mine to build and mess up— but writing does have some hard and fast rules.

Now, I’m not saying genre definitions are the hardest and fastest, but we, as people striving after publication, actually have to be mindful of this. 

At the very least we need to be concerned with what the agent we’re pitching to thinks. This is also something I’m not very good at, but with each failure, I’m getting closer and closer to reaching above my mediocre status. Right Mom and Dad? I'm growing right? You're reading this... right?!?

Kate asking her parents what Urban Fantasy Is?

Agent’s Advice 

However, just having gone to a conference this November, I did learn a little about naming your genre. For a lot of agents, it’s up to the author to tell them who this book is going to sell to. So if you have a pretty strict Urban fantasy novel, but a lot of it takes place in a small town, then you’re going to have to decide what it is.

Do I find this terrifying? Absolutely. I’ve learned that wrongly naming your book genre is an automatic toss out… BUT maybe just don’t name a women’s fiction book about baking as a crime thriller and you’ll be fine. Well, unless they bake a human into the pie… which sounds rad, I’d read it.  


But let’s look at some Urban fantasy:

Jim Butcher’s The Dresden Files

Patricia Brigg’s The Mercy Thompson Series 

Cassandra Clare’s City of Bones

Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere

Most of these books shaped me in some way. Maybe I wasn’t too impressed with the writing, but the story? The idea that monsters could really live in cities? The fact that Jace could be my boyfriend when I was in high school? The wonder that I could meet Harry Dresden on a trip to Chicago? Ah. Good memories. 

And it was apparently contemporary fantasy that sparked my interest in writing from the start. I’m looking at you Twilight. And before you go rolling your eyes and whine about me liking Twilight...

I’m sorry have YOU ever written a worldwide best-selling saga? Have you even sold millions of copies of your FIRST series, launched an entire generation to name their children after your books, get tattoos, or dump glitter all over their bodies? Have you had five movies made out of your books? Yeah . . . me neither, so let’s try not to judge too harshly. 

A girl saying that Urban Fantasy isn't good writing

BuT itS NoT GoOD WrITinG KaTe

Yeah, neither is my stuff, but that’s never stopped me from enjoying it. 

Confession about Urban Fantasy

Now that I know what the real definition of what urban fantasy is, I think I might like contemporary fantasy better. At least when it comes to writing. Oh, Lord…

Wow, maybe I am going to have an identity crisis. 

I just love monsters, man. Lycans, vampires, Frankenstein’s monster, the mummy, witches, and my own made-up creatures . . . I love it. And getting those things out into non-city areas? Bogs? Country towns? Little cabins?

Ooo Baby. . . maybe I should just write about that. Of course, I’ve got a lot of series planned for the future. 

Kate plotting her Urban Fantasy novels for the next century

Five-Year Book Plan

Next year, I’m releasing a self-published series that’s contemporary fantasy . . . apparently. Then I have plans for a YA zombie novel . . . Contemporary fantasy. Then my big kahuna urban fantasy novel that I have to add 25k words to because it was in fact a little kahuna. 

All in all, I’ve got about five years' worth of books planned. 

And I’m excited y’all. I’m so excited to write them and share them with you. 

And now that I have my genre sorted . . . well the sky’s the limit!

Aight, peace out and stay saucy you fiends!

XOXO, Kate. 

Similar Posts


      1. To be honest, I once read an article by Jim Butcher I thought was a little better. So, it’ll take at least ten dollars for me to say yours is the best ever. Twenty-five, if you want to make sure I never find a better one by anyone else.

        Love, Dad

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *