There are no new stories to be told. We writers have likely heard some form of this on more than one occasion. On a basic level this is probably true. There are a limited number of story types that we all fall in. Because I’m fond of architecture, I’ll use it as an analogy. There are only so many foundation types upon which to build. The cityscape of books throughout history is a varied and marvelous site to behold. However, if we tear it all down to the ground, we’ll see vast, repeating pattern of sameness. The trick obviously, is what you build on that foundation.
I currently live in the neighborhood of urban fantasy. It is an often creepy and violent landscape full of broken down tenements, gothic mansions, and overgrown bungalows (among others). The foundation of my building is much like others in this part of town, set down in the concrete of law enforcement, ghosts, and vampires. What I’ve built is not a bright and cheery place. It’s overgrown with peeling paint and cracked window panes. Some rooms in the house are a jumbled mess, filled with broken furniture and blood stains on the floor, while others are stark though expensively furnished. There’s a basement, dank and dark, seeping with musty, unwanted odors, and locked storage spaces you’re pretty sure you don’t want to open. And then, there’s the attic, inaccessible by normal means, requiring a pulled down ladder, from which strange and alien sounds come in the night. Okay, you get the idea and I’m having too much fun with my analogy here. Though built upon the familiar, the architecture of your story can and should be uniquely yours.
My story has ghosts and vampires, tried and true story characters of the urban fantasy landscape. Done time and again over decades past. Some readers may roll their eyes at the thought of yet another building thrust up in this crowded space. My hope of course is that the tour through this place will make it feel like a unique journey, sometimes familiar, yet not like any place else you’ve been.
So, readers of the paranormal, what do you hope to find in this familiar part of town? What would you like to read that would take these stories full of paranormal creatures and people in a new direction? Or have you left the neighborhood entirely, looking for new places to live/read.