Integrating Fantasy Elements Into Modern Society
As part of the OWS CyCon 2019 events, the Urban Fantasy authors have got together to give some insights into how they integrate fantasy elements into their societies.
If you’ve been following the tour post-by-post then you should already have seen the wonderful post from Lin Ryals. If not, click the button below to read it.
So How Do You Integrate Fantasy Into A Modern Setting?
For me it’s a very interesting thing to try and combine the modern world with elements that are more normally seen in other genres. Magic and fae-creatures are usually associated with Fantasy, while shapeshifters, vampires and monsters are more often associated with horror, so why bring them into the modern world in the first place?
Honestly? “Because I can” might seem like a flippant answer, but it really is the whole reason I do it.
I like to see what challenges modern society has for creatures and people that don’t fit into the mainstream human existence.
So, how do you go about bringing fantasy elements into a modern setting?
Firstly, What Constitutes A Fantasy Element?
Before looking at the specifics of incorporating fantasy elements, it’s very important to decide what elements you want to include. Any quick browse through the fantasy bookshelves of any bookstore or library will give you a vast list of things that are generally considered fantasy elements:
- Epic-scale Heroes
- Magical Artifacts
- Talking Swords
- Talking Animals
- Flying Horses
- and the list goes on…
And that’s just a small sample of the things that you’ll find in the pages of your fantasy section.
To me, fantasy elements are anything that wouldn’t fit in the regular world, so I would also consider:
- Mythical Creatures
- Portals To Other Worlds
- Super Powers
How To Decide What Elements To Add?
As you can see from above, the list of elements is potentially huge, so you’re going to want to set yourself some limits. Consider the following questions:
- How prevalent is magic? How does someone learn to use it? Or, more to the point, can only certain people learn to use it? What are the limitations of magic? Can it do anything the caster can imagine, or is it limited by how much power they can summon?
- What kind of magical creatures will your world support? Could they exist without the presence of magic? Example, without magic, could dragons fly? If not, how would that affect their ability to survive and hunt?
- What kind of history is there behind your fantasy elements? Has the world stopped believing in magic? Are the fantasy elements hidden behind a veil of secrecy? Or do wolf-shifters offer tracking services in the Yellow Pages?
- More to the point, what’s the history of your setting? Are there active crusades trying to wipe out fantasy creatures? Have there been in the past? Are certain elements in danger of disappearing from persecution, loss of habitat, hunting, neglect, or just dying out?
Bringing It Together
There are so many ways to assemble this jigsaw of pieces that it would be easy to be overwhelmed. And, depending on the needs of your story (or series of stories), you’re going to want to include less, or more, fantasy elements.
Here’s my #1 tip: Don’t add anything that doesn’t add to the story, or serve a purpose…
For “The Shadows Over Seattle” stories, Sandi and I sat down and read through her novel draft for “A Rose By Any Other Name”, and picked out the elements that worked for the story.
- Vampires exist, as do shapeshifters, wizards and fae
- Mortal society is largely unaware of the existence of magic, vampires, etc.
- Wolf-shifers form packs that are more akin to extended family than the common understanding of a wolf-pack (which is often characterized from captive wolf groups rather than wild packs)
- Vampires belong to one of several blood-lines, which use different sources of energy to feed. However, all vampires require mortal blood to heal wounds
- Spellcasting has few formal rules, but each Wizard requires a way to focus their power, and their power is limited by their training and understanding of the forces they are drawing on.
- Every magical creature is descended from the mating of Fae and Mortal ancestors, or from the EldarWyld (the Fae Realms)
- Curses are real… But require a really huge expenditure of power to last especially when cast on people
Want To Enter The World Of
"Shadows Over Seattle"?
Keep reading past the details about OWS CyCon, and what I’m doing, to find out how to get a copy of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” for free!
Or, if you’d like to see how another author adds Fantasy elements to their stories, continue the tour with Erin Casey.
Where To Find Me During OWS CyCon
- May 16th @9 pm EST I’m taking over the Fantasy & Sci-Fi Reader’s Lounge on Facebook to talk about CyCon. This is a fantastic group for readers of speculative fiction, and often hosts authors who love chatting with readers.
- You’ll be able to learn a little more about me, ask me questions, or just hang out and chat with me in my author booths in Urban Fantasy & Sci-Fi.
- I’ve entered Richard Parsons into the Urban Fantasy Character Battles tournament. If you’ve reader “Under A Hunter’s Moon” you’ll be more than familiar with this trouble-making shapeshifter, and I know he’d appreciate your votes in each round he reaches. Check out the ‘smack talk’ from the various characters taking part.
- Talking of “Under A Hunter’s Moon”, you’ll be seeing it in the Urban Fantasy Cover Wars event. Please vote for this cover each round if you think it deserves to win.
- I’m doing a bunch of recordings for Story Time, where we showcase the work of some of our amazing authors. Hear a part of their story read aloud, and find out where you can get your copies. Find works from Fantasy, Science Fiction, and more.
- Other than this tour, I’m also taking part in the Sci-Fi Top 5’s tour, where I highlight my top artificial intelligences.
- I’m also going to be participating in a number of live and recorded chats with fellow authors, some of which we’ll be taking readers questions during the shows. Topics will include ‘World Building’
- I also have a number of jigsaw puzzles people can try for a little fun.
- I’ll also be popping in and out of various groups and chats all over the event, because CyCon is such a wonderful way to discover new books for my reading list.
How About Grabbing A Copy Of
"Under A Hunter's Moon" For Free?
“Under A Hunter’s Moon” is the first of the short stories that make up the “Shadows Over Seattle: Prequels”.
You’ll meet Richard Parsons, one of my shapeshifters, and learn a little about their world, and what it’s like being a young wolf-shifter.
If you join “Timothy Bateson’s Indie World” you’ll get updates from my blog, new releases, and special offers that won’t be available through my blog.
But more importantly, you’ll get a downloadable copy of “Under A Hunter’s Moon” for FREE!