Thursday, February 28, 2013

A random observation

Today I found myself wondering why characters in urban/contemporary fantasy have never read anything in that genre.  For example, you'd think in anything involving magic that the characters, if they start out the book as normal people, would make references to Harry Potter at the very least.

Then there's all the other urban fantasy out there.  If these books are supposed to be set in our world, why is it that there are no references to pop culture?  I'm not that into pop culture myself, but not all our characters would be like me.

In my most recent editing run-through of my upper MG fantasy The Man in the Crystal Prison, I have added some of these references.  In the book, I have the age-old character finding out he has special abilities (of course, by the start of the book, he's already known for two years that there's something different about him).  Then he is taken to a different world and trained in his abilities.  How could you use that plot without the character making a reference to Harry Potter at some point?

In my case, it would make little sense.  My main character is an avid reader of science fiction, fantasy, and mystery novels.  There's no doubt that he's read some contemporary fantasy.  I know there are mixed views on including such references in your book, but it doesn't make sense not to include them.  At least that's what I think.  I'll see what thoughts others have.


  1. Personally, I would have my main characters act as genre savvy people, and that would include the villains too.

  2. You make a valid point, but I think the reason they're not included is because it places an immediate date-stamp on the book and removes some of the potential for timelessness. For the same reason, it's not all that advisable to include contemporary slang, or popular music artists of the moment. Especially for YA and MG, it's sometimes shocking how little the tweens/teens know about things that we, as adults, are familiar with. 10-15 years from now when Harry Potter's been ousted by the next latest greatest, any new readers will wonder why the MC hasn't been reading *their* favorite books.