Thursday, September 3, 2020

Setting up Urban Fantasy

When writing, one of the reasons I've stayed with the "Secret History" versions of Urban Fantasy is because New York City is alien enough to most people that I don't have to make up stuff to be particularly strange.

Also, I'm a historian. I like inserting monsters into historical events. Vampires and the French revolution in particular became a matter of fun.

And being Catholic, I come with my own "magic system." Strictly speaking, according to doctrine, I'm writing thrillers. Not horror. Not fantasy. I haven't yet come up against anything so egregious that would make it out of the realm of possibility.

So I guess you can say I cheat. I stole someone else's magic system. But you call it metaphysics, and you can be surprised what can escape copyright.

The nice thing about the location is that it's distinctive. Everything has its own history. In Hell Spawn, I used Creedmore and Riker's Island, each with decades of history. I used local neighborhoods that have never been seen on TV, and unless you were native TO THAT AREA, you'd never have heard of it. Trust me, I know. I tell people where I live and no one can find it on a map. Even areas that are fictionalized in literature, no one can figure out -- because how many people looked up Big Egg and Little Egg from the Great Gatsby and discovered they were real places?

Welcome to New York City, where everything is alien to anyone who doesn't live there.

One of the reasons I don't use Manhattan is that most of Manhattan is for tourists. Those who work there don't want to stay there any longer than they have to. Those who live there are alien to me and my area.

Trust me, if you think you hate New York City, or Manhattan, ask the people out in the Hamptons what they think of "city people." They hate them more because they've MET them. Not even Revenge or Royal Pains (set in the Hamptons) really covered much of City versus Locals.

It's one of the reasons I try to keep Tommy out of the area as much as possible. Not to mention that, in real life, if anyone burned down Eastern Queens, or parts of Long Island, no one within the five boroughs would even notice. There would be no media coverage, except for Long Island News stations.

In short, I don't need to recreate the world. The world is strange enough as it is.

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