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Paranormal vs Fantasy

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Ronni

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Will someone please help me? What differentiates fantasy from paranormal? Can you give me examples of each? I have an idea, but I'd like some hard cut answers. Thanks in advance! :)
#1 - February 05, 2010, 10:55 PM

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I always thought "fantasy" meant wizards, orcs, etc. and "paranormal" was ghosts, ESP, and that type of thing.
#2 - February 05, 2010, 11:15 PM

Ronni

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Right.  I think paranormal I think: ghosts, vampires, zombies, Twilight.
Fantasy: fairies, wizards, Harry Potter.

But so much is crossing over, I can barely tell what is what!  It's confusing me!
#3 - February 05, 2010, 11:25 PM

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Are you worried about how to categorize it for a query letter or something like that?
#4 - February 05, 2010, 11:30 PM

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This was discussed a couple months ago.  Check out this thread, I think you'll find it helpful. http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=40749.0
#5 - February 06, 2010, 09:54 AM
DEFY THE DARK - HarperTeen June 2013
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molga_muses

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I always thought paranormal meants ghosts and vampires fall into the same category as wizards and fairies. I tried the link, but it didn't work.
 :oncomputer
#6 - February 06, 2010, 10:09 AM

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It's on the Young Adult board.  Try this: http://www.verlakay.com/boards/index.php?topic=40749.0
#7 - February 06, 2010, 10:11 AM
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I think different people have different definitions. I see people who say they "don't take any fantasy," yet their lists are full of magical beings. To me, if it has magic or mythical beings, it's fantasy. But to some people, fantasy = ONLY swords, wizards, and dragons, with ghosts and werewolves/vampires/faeries/fallen angels being paranormal (in that definition, I think paranormal almost is the same as urban fantasy?)
#8 - February 06, 2010, 10:17 AM

Ronni

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Are you worried about how to categorize it for a query letter or something like that?

No.  I'm just curious.  I was making shelves for my books in goodreads. :)
#9 - February 06, 2010, 11:04 AM

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I think different people have different definitions. I see people who say they "don't take any fantasy," yet their lists are full of magical beings.

I take this to mean "No LOTR ripoffs, please."
#10 - February 07, 2010, 04:04 PM

veschwab

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See, I always think there are many, many subcategories. Near Witch has, well, WITCHES, but no one who's read it would call it paranormal bc it doesn't really have that vibe. It has also been called green fantasy, because it's set in a small village in a kind of timeless period. I think there's high fantasy, such as LOTR, where there's a new world (I often put something in this category if it needs/has a map) then urban, then regular or ambiguous fantasy, magical realism, etc. etc.
#11 - February 07, 2010, 08:34 PM

Paranormal is when your dead editor comes back in spirit form to ask for one last revision. Fantasy is when the advance check arrives two weeks after you sign the contract.  :moose


eab

#12 - February 08, 2010, 07:13 AM

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Paranormal is when your dead editor comes back in spirit form to ask for one last revision. Fantasy is when the advance check arrives two weeks after you sign the contract.  :moose

 :dr
#13 - February 08, 2010, 07:18 AM

ecb

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Green fantasy?  What in the heck is that?
#14 - February 08, 2010, 01:08 PM

veschwab

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ecb, I'd actually NEVER heard of it, and don't particularly like it. The agent handling the book used it as an opposite to urban fantasy, bc my book is very nature-centric, but I really don't think it's a very useful term :p I opt for dark fairy tale, bc many fairy tales are in that same kind of timeless world.
#15 - February 08, 2010, 01:18 PM

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To me, "paranormal" means our world, except that certain people have special powers (ESP, telekinesis, vampirism, etc.). "Fantasy" implies a different world, either a completely different world or our world with signficant differences. Fantasy, even if in a world like ours, usually involves objects, creatures, or settings you wouldn't encounter on the street; paranormal does not. "Twilight" is paranormal. "Harry Potter" is fantasy. of course, it's possible for a story to have elements of both.

If I were you, I'd be in a Barnes and Noble, reading back covers in the YA section, to see how publishers are using these terms.
#16 - February 08, 2010, 01:25 PM
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I was at the SCBWI con this past weekend where Hyperion ed Ari L. did a talk on teen fantasy.  She said right now Hyperion is doing a ton of fantasy and then she broke down "fantasy" into the 5 categories that made up this part of their list: High fantasy, dystopian, steampunk, urban, and PARANORMAL ROMANCE.  I'm sure all houses have different definitions, but this came from one.
#17 - February 08, 2010, 01:32 PM
BLACKOUT -- available now
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SISTERS DON'T TELL -- available now
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veschwab

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I was there, too! She's not my ed, but it is my house, and yeah, Hyperion does many different KINDS of fantasy.
#18 - February 08, 2010, 02:30 PM

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To me, "paranormal" means our world, except that certain people have special powers (ESP, telekinesis, vampirism, etc.). "Fantasy" implies a different world, either a completely different world or our world with signficant differences. Fantasy, even if in a world like ours, usually involves objects, creatures, or settings you wouldn't encounter on the street; paranormal does not. "Twilight" is paranormal. "Harry Potter" is fantasy. of course, it's possible for a story to have elements of both.

If I were you, I'd be in a Barnes and Noble, reading back covers in the YA section, to see how publishers are using these terms.

At least for me the best way to describe it is that fantasy is about magic.
#19 - February 08, 2010, 03:32 PM

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To me, fantasy and realistic are the two main types of fiction. Most other genres, such as historical or mystery, can be of either type. I find the Hyperion editor's categories helpful. I see paranormal as a category of fantasy.

I'd been wondering lately about the genre of a "near futuristic" novel. One set in the fairly near future, very definitely in our world, but with a few startling changes and technological leaps. By my above definition, this is fantasy. Yet it's not what most people will think of when they hear the term, so I hesitate to call it that. It's a little dystopian, but that's mostly because of course there's a pretty major conflict in this near future. It doesn't have nearly enough science to be sci-fi.

I'd be interested to hear any suggestions about what genre to call this.
#20 - February 08, 2010, 04:19 PM
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I'd been wondering lately about the genre of a "near futuristic" novel. One set in the fairly near future, very definitely in our world, but with a few startling changes and technological leaps. By my above definition, this is fantasy. Yet it's not what most people will think of when they hear the term, so I hesitate to call it that. It's a little dystopian, but that's mostly because of course there's a pretty major conflict in this near future. It doesn't have nearly enough science to be sci-fi.

I'd be interested to hear any suggestions about what genre to call this.

Sounds like science fiction/speculative fiction to me.
#21 - February 08, 2010, 05:51 PM

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What Wonky said--speculative fiction.
#22 - February 08, 2010, 06:05 PM
The Leland Sisters series: Courtship and Curses, Bewitching Season, Betraying Season (Holt BYR/Macmillan)
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Okay -- I'll have to ruminate on that one for a while -- speculative fiction. It's just not what I ever expected to write. Thanks!
#23 - February 09, 2010, 02:14 PM
Adventures of Jenna V. Series
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