There are more genres of fiction than I care to talk about, so in this article I’ll only focus on a few of them. Paranormal fiction and fantasy are easy to confuse, but there is a simple way to tell them apart.
What is paranormal fiction? Let’s look at the definition of paranormal. Paranormal pertains to an event that has no scientific explanation. This includes things such as psychokinesis and extrasensory perception. It also includes other supernatural phenomena and creatures, such as vampires, werewolves, ghosts, faeries, etc. Wolves, though they are not always supernatural, are characters in many paranormal stories.
The definition of fantasy is ‘imagination, especially when extravagant and unrestrained’. Fantasy fiction also uses magic as well as supernatural occurrences that have no scientific explanation. And supernatural creatures can also be present. So what is the difference?
If you can take the ‘weird’ stuff out of the story – the supernatural occurrences and creatures – and the world you are left with is like the normal, everyday world you live in, then it is paranormal.
Deep Connections by Rebecca Graf is a good example of paranormal fiction. The story, full of suspense, obviously takes place in our world, but there are supernatural elements added to it. And, yes, wolves are part of the story.
Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien is a popular fantasy series. These books are full of hobbits, orks, wizards, and magic. None of it can be scientifically explained. But where does it take place? It clearly takes place on another world and in another reality.
If you take the ‘weird’ stuff out of the story – the supernatural occurrences and creatures, the magic - and the world you are left with is not like the normal, everyday world you live in, it is fantasy.
Then we have urban fantasy. This is where it gets a little confusing. Urban fantasy takes place in the modern world. It has to take place in a city. It contains paranormal elements, and it also contains magic. Now, I consider magic to be a paranormal element in itself, but not everyone does.
Since urban fantasy has to take place in a modern city, what happens if your paranormal story with magic takes place in the countryside? Would it then be considered to be country fiction? What do you think?