Urban fantasy, Dark Fantasy, or Dark Urban Fantasy? Yeah…

With the release of Into the Arms of Morpheus comes the requests to place it into a category, or ‘genre’, and to give it a maturity rating based on the content.  Let’s face it, it needs to be done.  Readers want to know what they are getting into, and parents need to be warned about exposing their children to explicit material.   I’ll be honest I had some trouble deciding on what genre to place Into the Arms of Morpheus in.

Morpheus is certainly not straight up paranormal romance.  Though I can’t deny that that genre inspired me to write the story itself.  I’ve always been into obsessive, all consuming love in stories.  I’m greedy for more heavy stuff. I don’t like light and fluffy g rated romance, and if the romance is contemporary I need it to be both ‘gritty’ and ‘steamy’.  I rather like ‘too cool for school’ type urban characters if they are done well, and yes we need ‘strong’ characters, but vulnerability (and more importantly, how us mere mortals deal with our vulnerability), is a trait I wanted to explore, in as weird and deep a way as possible.

There are characters from Greek mythology (Nyx, Morpheus, Death but they are lesser knowns and don’t have their own popular stories within traditional mythology).   It’s a fantasy without witchcraft or sorcerers.  Rather, it’s a ‘fantasy’ involving characters who either are obsessed with or heavily involved in ‘fantasizing’, which makes a lot of sense to me.

I looked up ‘dark fantasy’ on Smashwords and a whole heap of not entirely ‘main stream’ erotica popped up.  No doubt there is a theme of desire in my story, so the kids are better staying away from Into the Arms of Morpheus however at no point does it cross the line into erotica.

It certainly isn’t set in any Middle Earth type setting.  It’s mainly set in Manchester, England (where I went to university in the early 2000s).  It is no light love story so I decided in the end to call it Dark Urban Fantasy.   It might not fit exactly with other ‘Dark Urban Fantasy’ stories but, isn’t the whole point of a new story that it is supposed to be…well new?  Rather than – okay, this is your genre so stick with this formula and if you do the formula well then that’s just great maybe you will get noticed by people who love that genre.

Please, I hope no one thinks that this is a ‘my story is so cool, but nobody understands it probably because it’s so cool.’ type rant.  That is not what this is.  I mean it, i am bracing myself for uncomplimentary reviews, it won’t be everyone’s cup of tea.

What this is, is the reader me and the writer me getting together.  As a reader when I search for new reading material and I start downloading I find that I read two or three things at once, and a lot of the time I don’t finish what I start (a shame, and a character flaw on my part).  Okay, part if it involves attention span issues.  But the other part is that as a reader I’m seriously hungry for certain elements to work together in a story that haven’t worked together before.  So, I go to different sources and I wind up stretched too thin.  And, as a writer I wrote something using themes and character types I was interested in and wanted to explore.  I really struggled to to narrow it down to one specific genre.  Reader me and Writer me are not alone.

Another writer (BR Kingsolver) wrote a bit about how a lot of quality, original work gets overlooked as it simply doesn’t fit nicely through the ‘genre filter’ that publishing houses have.   I will post the link at the end of this.

Indie literature is great.  I love it, I embrace it and I am now part of it, but I don’t have enough hours in the day to scour the indie blogs for the types of stories I crave reading (believe me I try…but inevitably I do need to pay attention to my actual surroundings…dammit).  They are out there, I know they are.  But mostly readers get over exposed to the popular, traditionally published stuff.  Every now and again I read something really good, really interesting but I’m always left wanting more.  I’m never satisfied.  But that’s a good thing, I reckon.

My love of what others do, and my need to find something suitable to my tastes, have led me to write Into the Arms of Morpheus.  It’s unlikely I hit the nail on the head, so to speak, but if I have to call it Dark Urban Fantasy, then fine,  I will call it Dark Urban Fantasy.

I kind of want to call it ‘Obsession based story involving lesser known characters from Greek mythology with themes of unrequited love, lust and sexual frustration, heartbreak, extreme desire for control, some stalking, much needed ‘mortal’ interaction with immortal characters who are more satisfying than mortal characters…dark urban fantasy.’   But fine…I will just call it dark urban fantasy.  Fine.

Here is what BR Kingsolver had to say about it anyway:


By jmnauthor3000