Why I owe a horrifying debt to Twilight.

I have a lot of difficulty with the Twlight series, as I’m sure anyone who writes stories about vampires and werewolves does. This is mainly because Stephanie Meyers, for all her success, took the step of turning vampires, one of the oldest types of monster in folklore history, into a bunch of whiny glitterbugs.

So – and I imagine this won’t make me popular – it’s mildly odd that when I sit down and look at the biggest influences on modern Urban Fantasy, the name that bubbles to the proverbial top of the pot is Ms Meyers herself. Just to clarify, before someone gets picky, I count paranormal romance as a part of the Urban Fantasy genre.

I’ve probably mentioned it before, but one of the more amusing descriptions of Urban Fantasy I’ve read was on reddit, where someone described the genre as “Sexy Vampire Hunters Hunting Sexy Vampires – With Sex!”

It’s hard not to credit Twilight as a series, as being the direct cause of that interpretation of the genre. It doesn’t help that I think the books are utterly terribly written.

But I have to admit, nothing has boosted the profile of the Urban Fantasy genre like the Twilight series. Seriously, I can’t remember a series that seemed to capture the imagination of the general populace the way Twilight did. Even Harry Potter, probably the most influential book series in recent fantasy was basically still considered ‘kids’ book.

On the other hand, though, the position I find myself in is writing against what people are looking for in the genre. I write action-adventure fantasy, and people are often looking for romance. There are romantic elements, of course, but they’re far from the focus of my stories.

In going down that route, though, we’re back to the old argument of “write to audience” or “Write to story”, and I truly cannot be bothered to do that at the moment. Needless to say, if I can manage to achieve a fraction of that level of success, I’ll be very happy. Currently I’m floating in  the waves of the Urban Fantasy boom, but hopefully, at some point, I’ll be able to surf the crest.


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