So, You Want to Write An Urban Fantasy

Hello friends and welcome to a fantasy-writer problem oriented edition of Just Another Struggling Writer. I’m just another struggling writer.

Well, everyone, it finally happened. After 22 months of diligent, tedious, downright miraculous pandemic-dodging (considering both my partner and I both worked in office throughout it all, and my kids were in on campus school), the old ‘rona got me. My partner started feeling ill last week, and my symptoms started Saturday. Thankfully we’re both vaccinated, so things haven’t been too terrible.

That being said since we last spoke, I have done a great deal of laying around the house with little else to do except, what else, do prep work on my upcoming novella series!

It’s actually going really well so far. I’ve already progressed to the notecard phase, which is the step right before I draw up my working outline. I’ve got my main characters, the over-arching plot for the entire series and ideas for several of the individual entries, and even a handful of scenes.

The thing I’m struggling with the most is the setting.

Now, one might think that because my roots are in epic fantasy, where stories are set in custom-built worlds with their own maps, their own races, their own language, their own culture, and everything in between, that an urban fantasy idea like Wonderland would be a snap!

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But, truth be told, the prospect of being confined by the rules of the Real World is kind of daunting to me. Even something as simple as choosing what urban area to set the story in is paralyzing. Should I choose a real world metro area? If so, it should probably be one I’m familiar with so that it feels authentic. But there aren’t too many of those and it would feel kind of weird to write about a place I’ve lived or where I’m currently living. But it feels equally weird to write about a large metro area in the US that doesn’t actually exist. Where would I put it? Is this then set in a post-modern US where this city just sprang up? That presents a whole new set of questions. And now I’m breathing rapidly into a paper bag, brb.


But the question of where isn’t even the most important one I need to answer. There’s also the how. As in: “how will magic work in this Wonderland series?”

I’m going to say something else that might surprise you: I haven’t really put a lot of thought into the magic of my previous fantasy projects either. 

I know, I’m like the worst fantasy writer ever.

This is partially because my fantasies tend to be low magic, character driven sagas. The arcane and mysterious exist in my worlds, but isn’t necessarily what is moving the stories along. Even when magic does play a crucial element, it tends to be on the softer side. It’s less defined and deliberately ambiguous. 

With the Wonderland series I’m taking the exact opposite approach. The story demands that the rules of magic be very clearly defined and even outright explained, which means for the first time I actually have to think about what those rules might be. 

I have some ideas, but I’m worried that it’s not hard enough. There aren’t enough rules. I’m not making it believable.

Someone remind me that I’m writing fantasy again. Oh, and also, if you would be so kind, through in some recs for urban fantasy stories so I can see what I’m up against. Cheers.


That’s all from me this week. I’ll keep plugging away at it, until I eventually get so frustrated that I just start drafting out of spite. Speaking of which, I am legitimately hoping to be drafting soon, maybe by mid-February. I can’t wait to be in the trenches with you lovely writers once more! 

Until next time friends. May your writing be plenty and your struggles be few.

Kerry Share

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Scribd subscribers, click here to find my romance novellas!

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