Sunday, March 6, 2011


I'm seeing all sorts of lists of clichés and tropes that readers say they are tired of seeing in Urban Fantasy (though sales seem to indicate that readers are, in fact, not entirely tired of these genre staples). What I'm not seeing are wish lists.

I'm a big fan of the wish list. Mostly I park unachievable (the $75,000 a month rental house in Napa) or ridiculous (uranium) items on them and occasionally review them to make myself laugh. But, in addition, I also use them for their intended purpose: to declare my wantiest wants for all the world to see.

I give you: 
My Urban Fantasy Wish List
(Effective March 2011, subject to change at will or whim. Wish List not valid outside of United States, its territories or possessions. Void where prohibited.)

  • Male Leads
  • Main Characters whose days jobs are not investigative in nature
  • Animals that neither talk nor transform into 1) people 2) demons or 3) whatever the MC needs at that very moment to escape that very peril
  • Less Sex Addiction - Seriously, this is the only plausible explanation for characters to throw down and make the beast with two backs while beaten up and in an urgently dangerous situation
  • Pirates (The High Seas kind, not the Somali kind. Okay, maybe the Somali kind)
  • People falling through false doors into elaborate cave systems and having to find their ways out, possibly encountering Chester Copperpot as they do so (No, I have not watched The Goonies recently, why do you ask?)
  • EDIT: Adding automats, because they are teh awesome!
  • Nature vs. Man - Specifically the natural world revolting against human-cultivated magic or technology
  • Main Characters who do not compulsively bully their friends or treat their significant others with disdain
  • Ancient scourges so scourgerific that I'm compelled to keep all the lights on at night
  • Fallen Angels/Mythic Creatures whose primary purpose is not to get in the MC's leather pants
I think that's it for now. What's on your wish list?


  1. You hit the nail on the head with this one:

    "Main Characters whose days jobs are not investigative in nature"

    It just drives me batty that every MC in urban fantasy is a detective!

    Thank you for this wish list.

  2. I'm going to write about a boy with a pet ferret. He works in a book store. He's asexual because he is put off after his father, who is a proper pirate, constantly brought home wenches throughout his childhood.

    He gets kidnapped by Somali pirates but escapes before falling through false doors into an elaborate cave system (where strangely enough he meets Chester Copperpot).

    He escapes as a huge storm is brewing, nature angry at a warlock who is constantly attempting to change the weather for his own means, damning others crops to rot because of it.

    He has no friends so cant bully them.

    He tries to take on nature but in doing so an ancient scourge tries to kill him (hes a really scary guy) but a fallen angel attempts to save him just to get back into heaven again.

  3. Great list! Especially the last one. I'm all for sexy UF, but there's nothing wrong with Mythic Creatures having more complex goals than nookie.

  4. Diane - I'm not even complaining about how many are detectives of some sort. That makes sense for more complex mysteries, but I love the added challenge, danger and, often, humor, of an MC who has to make it up as s/he goes along.

    Katrina - This is a very sympathetic MC you've created. When is your release date, because I'm there! :)

    A.J. - I guess it's possible that immortality gets so boring that all anybody wants are transient thrills, but I'd love to see slightly more complicated motivation. Otherwise, it feels like the universe is perpetually stuck in rampaging hormone mode (also known as High School).

  5. Hahahaha, I just wrote that as a complete piss-take.. But now I'm tempted to actually write something similar :P

  6. Your wish list sounds great - except I love talking animals :) I'd add wit on a Buffy level, not on a 'maybe if I add a bit of snark it'll pass as funny' level.

  7. Ah, yes, the talking animals. But please note, Girl Friday, that I am not looking for fewer of those, just more of the other. "Average pets" I think they are called. Maybe a hermit crab that's assumed a baby food jar for a shell or something.

    If you add wit on a Buffy level, I will swoon. Seriously. :)

  8. "Nature vs. Man - Specifically the natural world revolting against human-cultivated magic or technology" - Yes! I find this theme extremely relevant/interesting and not nearly explored enough.

  9. You know what I wanna see? Jackalopes. How come now one uses those?

  10. Have you read THE DEVIL YOU KNOW by Mike Carey. It fits... at least two of those.

  11. I'm with you on the sex/getting into the pants. I love urban fantasy, I really do, but if I read about one more immortal super-being who can only save the world by making out with an "awkward" (pale with dormant Kung Fu powers) high school girl I am going to go looking for Chester Copperpot myself!

  12. Shawn - Ooh, I haven't! I hope it's pirates and automats.

    Carrie - :D It's looking like Chester might be getting a lot of company soon. You know, I was fairly awkward in high school, and I didn't even have so much as a hint of sudden-onset martial arts skills. *sigh*

  13. More accepted/integrated worlds. I like the mystery of paranormal beings hiding within the shadows of our society, but it'd be nice to see a few more stories where the two worlds are more symbiotic.

    Stable relationships. Love causes tension, which is great, but sometimes the loner/brooding MC just needs a steady SO. You know, to be happy for a change.

    Quality partners for the MC more akin to Doyle's Watson and less to the Basil Rathbone version.

    Sunlight. I'd love to see a few battles during the daytime because they are unique.

    Finally, non-sexy vampires. With all the vamp stories out there, I'd think there's enough room for few pudgy, blood-sucking couch potatoes. “Dude, lemme finish this level before we hunt innocent beings and drain them of their life-force.”

  14. Cobra - I've had the vast pleasure of reading some very nicely integrated worlds in the last year of so. I shall send a carrier pigeon in your direction posthaste with a list.

    Uhhh, maybe it's just my delicate feminine sensibilities, but I have no desire to see stinky couch-potatoes in my escapist fiction, befanged or not. Although, I could see a very funny, very short story (that ends tragically) arising from that line of dialogue. =D

  15. HILLARY! I didn't realize I wasn't followin' you! I might snag this idea, too, like UR and answer via blogpost. :)

  16. All together not all that familiar with urban fiction but the ways I figure it if the idea comes from a Neil Gaiman novel, take very liberal leaps from the source material.

    That is to say Neil Gaiman=Simpsons

    If you're going to use an automat, the man behind the wall has to be a character. Then again I'm obsessed with janitors and the like being all knowing.
    Came here by way of AW.

  17. bettie - I pined for you daily, mah dear. *waves*

    Welcome, Carson. Thanks for stopping by.