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Guest Blog Post- Five Elements that Make Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy. A Beginner’s Guide

I am happy to welcome author, Killian Wolf as my guest blogger. Killian enjoys pirates, rum, and skulls as much as she loves writing about dark magick and sorcerers. She writes books about obtaining magical powers, and stepping into other dimensions.

If you’re wondering what the heck is an urban fantasy, or if you’re toying with the idea of writing one, check out this list to get a grasp of what you may want to include.

1. Let’s begin with the obvious- the name Urban Fantasy.

The Urban setting plus fantasy elements which are magic, and magical species.

The urban setting is usually a large industrial city- think NY, LA, Chicago, London. It doesn't always need to be a large city, but this is the common element- the busy rhythm of the city, the hustle and bustle city noises almost acts as a separate character on its own.

Could it be in a small suburban town? Yes. It can even be a fictional town meant to be in the real world- like Storybrooke from Once Upon A Time. Could it be on an island with its own rhythm and beats? Absolutely. But can you skip out on the magic? Nope.

Without the fantasy in Urban fantasy- your book will just be urban. This can include witches, other beings like werewolves, vampires, elves, fairies. Hell, it can even include time travel.

2. Flavor- You gotta give your characters some attitude, some sass, some witness. We’re talking about city folks, right? Either teenagers or new adults with an attitude. Real live human beings people can relate to- It wouldn’t make any sense if they sounded like Hazel from The Fault in Our Stars, or Jaimie from A Walk to Remember.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but it isn’t an urban fantasy character style. Can you 86 this step? Yeah, you can tone it down a bit. Don’t worry, you don’t have to be extremely witty with your writing- I’m not. But try and keep it down to earth. Think Sam and Dean from Supernatural, or the interactions between characters of the Umbrella Academy- they’re all jackasses to each other.

3. The strong female lead- Usually in a UF book, the main character will be female and set to take on tasks on her own. Sure, there are male secondary characters, and sure she might fall in love with one of them, but the female character is usually the one to ahem-save his ass. Now, this isn’t always the case, and I love a good different story (like in the T.V show Supernatural). There have been successful UF books with male character leads, but not as many. Write one if you dare- I’ll probably read and enjoy it.

Also, the protagonist is usually young (YA-young adult, or NA-college age, New adult).

4. The POV- Books in this genre are normally written in the first person point of view. This is because they are intensely character-driven, and we get to feel what they feel, see what they see, experience what they experience- you get the point. In Urban Fantasies, it is usually the protagonist investigating the mystery, so it’s best to keep the reader within the realm of sight of the main character. The reader knows only what the character knows.

5. The Steam- And I don’t mean steampunk- although this is an element you can include in your UF novel. No, I mean steaminess, sizzle, sex! Now, this does not mean that you need to write out sex scenes, or make it over the top. But, typically, there is a love interest of some sort and should include some lust, a bit of bare leg, a sexy dimple or two somewhere… Usually, the main character is involved with a witch or warlock, werewolf, or a reaper like in my books.


In The Guild Codex Series by Annette Marie, Tori moves to a busy city in book one Three Mages and a Margarita. She’s dirt broke and looking for a job. These books have attitude and flair which speak volumes about the city rudeness the character endures. She can’t hold down a job because of her temper- and well, she has to stick up for herself, doesn’t she? She can’t just bite her tongue and allow for customers to give her lip- because that would be far too PC, and lame.

She gets hired as a bartender and ends up throwing a margarita on a customer’s face- who turns out to be a powerful mage. Boom. Now we have the first introduction to a magical element. I won’t give spoilers, because this series is truly a must read, but now Tori gets involved with a magical guild hidden away in a big city. Each book in the series has a mystery involvement.

Next example is Sarra Cannon’s book Sacrifice Me. The main character Franki, low and behold, is also broke, and in the search for a job. She too walks into a magical bar, but here we have witches and vampires. The mystery in this story involves Franki being called there by a powerful villain to trap her due to her secret family history. Her savior is the bar owner- a handsome vampire.

See a pattern?

The third example I’m going to give is my own book- because why not?

In Escaping Demons, my main character Addison is…...also broke and looking for a job! But, she is studying to be a nurse and while she waits for a nursing program to open up, she wants a position having to do with her field to gain her more experience. A bartending gig in Miami is a want for a dime a dozen and she wants something a bit more secure.

Due to a mysterious phone call, she lands a job as a live-in nurse in the Florida Keys. So, from the hustle and bustle of the big city, she goes for a cozy job in the Keys… little does she know it won’t be so cozy as she ends up uncovering magical secrets about herself and her patient. The house receives frequent visits by a reaper- and thus a reaper romance begins.

In all three examples we have the urban setting with elements of magic, a strong female lead trying to uncover a mystery and save herself or the world, and they are all written in the first person point of view. Let’s not forget the relationships with magical beings- a mage, a vampire, and a reaper (walks into a bar?).

I can go on and on- maybe even write a book on what makes Urban Fantasy, Urban Fantasy. But these are just some of the elements.

If you’d like to find my book, it is available here:

You can also catch Killian on YouTube. Here is her latest video.


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