I. UF Terms & Definitions
II. The Different Punks
III. Twelve Stages of the Hero's Journey____________________________________________
I. Terms & Defs
A subgenre within women's fiction which addresses issues of modern women often humorously and lightheartedly. Although sometimes it includes romantic elements, women's fiction (including chick lit) is generally not considered a direct subcategory of the romance novel genre, because in chick lit the heroine's relationship with her family or friends may be just as important as her romantic relationships.
Also known as modern fantasy or indigenous fantasy, is a sub-genre of fantasy, set in the present day. It is perhaps most popular for its sub-genre, urban fantasy. These terms are used to describe stories set in the putative real world (often referred to as consensus reality) in contemporary times, in which magic and magical creatures exist, either living in the interstices of our world or leaking over from alternate worlds.
It thus has much in common with, and sometimes overlaps with secret history; a work of fantasy in which the magic could not remain secret or does not have any known relationship to known history would not fit into this subgenre. Occasionally certain contemporary fantasy novels will make reference to pop culture.
Also called horror fantasy or Gothic fantasy) is a fantasy subgenre that combines elements of fantasy with those of horror. Another definition of the genre is a type of horror story in which humanity is threatened by forces beyond human understanding.
A term used to describe a variety of works within differing sub-genres of fantasy fiction. The word "low" refers to the level of prominence of traditional fantasy elements within the work, and is not any sort of remark on the work's quality. Within the fantasy genre, low fantasy is often contrasted with high fantasy, which typically takes place, partly or entirely, in a completely fictional setting and places an emphasis upon fantasy elements such as magic, monsters, and non-real literary devices. Low Fantasy works typically place relatively less emphasis on such fantasy elements and often take place within real-world environments, as opposed to entirely fictional settings.
High Fantasy or Epic Fantasy
A subgenre of fantasy that is set in invented or parallel worlds. High fantasy, along with sword and sorcery, has become one of the two genres most commonly associated with the general term fantasy.
Literature that is rooted in, inspired by, or that in some way draws from the tropes, themes and symbolism of myth, folklore, and fairy tales. Mythic fiction overlaps with urban fantasy and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but mythic fiction also includes contemporary works in non-urban settings. Mythic fiction refers to works of contemporary literature that often cross the divide between literary and fantasy fiction.
Paranormal Romance (PNR)
A literary subgenre of the romance novel. A type of speculative fiction, paranormal romance focuses on romance and included elements beyond the range of scientific explanation, blending together themes from the genres of traditional fantasy, science fiction, or horror.
The main plot of a romance novel must revolve around the two people as they develop romantic love for each other and work to build a relationship together. Both the conflict and the climax of the novel should be directly related to that core theme of developing a romantic relationship, although the novel can also contain subplots that do not specifically relate to the main characters' romantic love. Furthermore, a romance novel must have an "emotionally satisfying and optimistic ending."
A sub-genre of science fiction, alternate history, and speculative fiction that involves an era or world where steam power is still widely used—usually the 19th century and often Victorian era Britain. Works of steampunk often feature anachronistic technology or futuristic innovations as Victorians may have envisioned them; in other words, based on a Victorian perspective on fashion, culture, architectural style, art, etc. This technology may include such fictional machines as those found in the works of H. G. Wells and Jules Verne or real technologies like the computer but developed earlier in an alternate history.
While most of the original steampunk works had a historical setting, later works would often place steampunk elements in a fantasy world with little relation to any specific historical era. Historical steampunk tends to be more "science fictional": presenting an alternate history; real locales and persons from history with different technology. Fantasy-world steampunk, such as on the other hand, presents steampunk in a completely imaginary fantasy realm, often populated by legendary creatures coexisting with steam-era or anachronistic technologies.
Also known as Street lit, is a literary genre set, as the name implies, in a city landscape; however, the genre is as much defined by the race and culture of its characters as the urban setting. The tone for urban fiction is usually dark, focusing on the underside. Profanity, sex, and violence are usually explicit, with the writer not shying away from or watering-down the material. In this respect, urban fiction shares some common threads with dystopian or survivalist fiction.
A subset of contemporary fantasy, consisting of magical novels and stories set in contemporary, real-world, urban settings-as opposed to 'traditional' fantasy set in wholly imaginary landscapes. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods. The prerequisite is that they must be primarily set in a city.
Many urban fantasy novels geared toward adults are told via a first-person narrative, and often feature mythological beings, paranormal romance, and various female protagonists who are involved in law enforcement or vigilantism. The urban fantasy protagonist faces extraordinary circumstances as plots unfold in either open (where magic or paranormal events are commonly accepted to exist) or closed (where magical powers or creatures are concealed) worlds. A romantic subplot may or may not exist within the context of the story.
While several adult stories focus on professional heroes, many teen urban fantasy novels follow inexperienced protagonists who are unexpectedly drawn into paranormal struggles. Amidst these conflicts, characters often gain allies, find romance, and, in some cases, develop or discover supernatural abilities of their own.
The process of constructing an imaginary world through the developement of the entire background reality that the story takes place in; ie. The Rules of the world. There are two schools of thought for world-building, top-down and bottom-up, as well a combination of these two ("top-down-bottom-up"). Top-down and bottom-up design are two strategies used for information processing and knowledge ordering.
In the top-down (or macro-to-micro) approach, the designer first creates a general overview of the world, determining broad characteristics such as the inhabitants, technology-level, major geographic features, climate, global history, and other details of strategic importance. Once this is complete, the details of the world are developed by gradually focusing on smaller and smaller details, such as continents, civilizations, nations, cities, and towns.
A world constructed using this method is generally well-integrated and the individual components fit together in an appropriate manner. However it can require considerable work before enough detail is completed for the setting to be useful at a tactical level, such as for use in creating a story.
The second method is the bottom-up (or micro-to-macro) approach where the designer begins with a focus on one small part of the world, possibly with a few elements, not necessarily consistent, needed for fictional purposes. This location is given considerable detail, adding in important facts about the local geography, culture, social structure, government, politics, commerce, and history. Many of the prominent locals are described, and their interrelationships determined. The surrounding areas are then described in a lower level of detail, with the information growing more general and less detailed with increasing distance from the focus location. Later when the designer needs to use other parts of the world, the descriptions of these other locations are then enhanced.
II. The Different Punks
It all started with Cyberpunk, which comes from cybernetics and punk. Bruce Bethke wrote a short story with that title in 1983, and the term was coined. These stories feature high technology and broken-down societies, with marginalized main characters who tend to be hackers of some sort. Well-known examples are William Gibson's Neuromancer and the movie Blade Runner.
Then came Steampunk, which is currently a top trend. It features alternate historical settings, usually Victorian, where electricity was never invented. Anachronistic machinery and technology that we might recognize, such as computers and robots, run on steam power.
We also have Clockpunk, which uses clockwork power instead of steam. I have never read any stories in this genre but apparently they tend to be set in the Renaissance, using Leonardo da Vinci-style inventions.
Biopunk is a term I only heard of this year but should have had a handle on sooner, because apparently my Scarabaeus books fit the bill. This subgenre focuses on biotechnology, genetic engineering and the like, and the consequences of such things going Horribly Wrong.
Then we have Icepunk, which is a "steampunk on ice", coined by Kate Elliott- writer of Cold Magic.
A few have also coined M.K. Hobson's Western-Witch-Steampunk Fantasy (The Native Star), Witchpunk.
And now we have Bugpunk, thanks to Kameron Hurley and God's War. She uses this term in her tagline and, for all I know, invented it. The technology and fuel in God's War run on alien bug power.
III. 12 stages of the Hero's journey
1. Ordinary World- The hero's normal world before the story begins
2. Call to Adventure- The hero is presented with a problem, challenge or adventure
3. Refusal of the Call - The hero refuses the challenge or journey, usually because he's scared
4. Meeting with the Mentor- The hero meets a mentor to gain advice or training for the adventure
5. Crossing the First Threshold- The hero crosses leaves the ordinary world and goes into the special world
6. Tests, Allies, Enemies- The hero faces tests, meets allies, confronts enemies & learn the rules of the Special World.
7. Approach- The hero has hit setbacks during tests & may need to try a new idea
8. Ordeal- The biggest life or death crisis <---Typically where the rape of torture occurs.
9. Reward- The hero has survived death, overcomes his fear and now earns the reward
10. The Road Back- The hero must return to the Ordinary World.
11. Resurrection Hero- another test where the hero faces death – he has to use everything he's learned
12. Return with Elixir- The hero returns from the journey with the “elixir”, and uses it to help everyone in the Ordinary World