5 Subgenres of Fantasy Fiction Explained

Hello Writer Bees!

One of my favorite genres to write and read is fantasy. And the fantasy stories come in a variety of different flavors. Today, I’m breaking down 5 subgenres of fantasy fiction. Grab your wizard hats and let’s dive in, shall we?

Fairy Tales

In my opinion, fairy tales were the cornerstone of fantasy. Folktales full of pixies and mermaids, trickery and wonder. Characters are fanciful as the world around them, from the lost royal to the walking-talking cat. We see you, Puss in Boots. Keep in mind, the general readers of fairy tales are children. That being said, the overall tone is usually kept light and entertaining. At the end of the tale, there is always a moral lesson to be learned. And they all lived happily ever after.

High Fantasy

Also known as epic fantasy, this subgenre lives up to the name. Dungeons and Dragons players and Lord of the Rings fans know this fantasy subgenre too well. With medieval fantasy vibes galore, there’s the ever-classic battle between good versus evil present in these stories. Often times, the plot centers around one hero, who starts off weak but overtime, grows into a mighty warrior. They’ll embark on their quests and explore the world, maybe meeting other races like elves and ogres. In Epic Fantasy, the cast of characters can get quite extensive, so keep character notes handy when writing.

Urban Fantasy

Forget the sparkly forests and towering castles of fairy tales, this fantasy subgenres takes magical elements and throws them into a modern cityscape. Full of grit and noir vibes, the story always takes place in a major city, with bustling streets. Typically, the main character is connected to both the real world and the magical world. And almost any mythical creature can call the city home. Maybe there’s a shapeshifter riding the subway, or a werewolf in the alleyway. Heck, I’d argue that superheroes fall under this fantasy subgenre too. Truly, the possibilities are endless.

Gothic Fantasy

Sometimes referred to as Dark Fantasy, this subgenre is the mix of supernatural and horror elements. Noted for its gloomy, brooding atmosphere, the setting evokes fear and anxiety in its readers. Building up suspense is crucial to constructing the spooky environment. In Gothic Fantasy, ghosts from the pasts haunt the characters, never giving them a night’s rest. This fantasy subgenre is more focused on supernatural elements, like specters, vampires and Frankenstein’s monster. If you’re looking for a good scare, Gothic Fantasy might be the subgenre for you.

Low Fantasy

Similar to urban fantasy, magical events invade on an otherwise ordinary world. In this fantasy subgenre, the supernatural does not exist or isn’t well known in society. When something magical does occur, it’s accepted as natural in the world, like it could happen any day. Disney films like Mary Poppins fit this bill perfectly. This fantasy subgenre proves you don’t need an epic dragon battle to have a good fantasy story. Sometimes all you need is a little sprinkle of whimsy in everyday life.


Interested in learning more about subgenres in fiction? Check out these posts!

What are some of your favorite and least favorite subgenres of fantasy? Talk to me in the comments.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Sunny Day Towing Company (Self Care 100 Word Story)

“Did you call for a tow?” A woman in dungaree overalls asked, stepping out the truck. Stitched named tag read ‘Sunny’.

Crying, he sat on the curb and nodded, clothes drenched from the rain.

Her eyes assessed the damage. “Yeah, that’s not looking good.”

“You’re telling me,” He choked a teary laugh. “Can’t seem to get myself out of this ditch,” No broken-down vehicle in sight, only a grey raincloud floating over his head. “Life’s been rough lately, y’know?”

Smiling, she attached the truck’s hook to the edge of the cloud. Thunder rumbled.

“Don’t get overwhelmed, I’m here to help.”          


Hello Writer Bees,

I’ve had a tough week for me. Changes at work have left me stressed. Had at least two breakdowns. It’s been difficult to write blog posts and my WIP when I’m in this bad head space. When hard things in life pile on like that, it can be overwhelming. I try to be a positive light and post content for you guys, but in this moment, my mental health is struggling.

I need some self care, to re-shift my focus and attitude. And from that need for self care came this little 100 word story. Feel like I poured my sad feelings into this piece. Now I’m a little lighter, dusting those heavy emotions off my chest and heart. From a challenging time came a simple sweet story. Writing isn’t just art, it’s an outlet. And I’m pretty lucky writing is my outlet and safe space.

And shoutout to Mister Jabberwocky for letting me ugly cry all week. He really is the sweetest, most supportive partner. Again, I’ve pretty lucky.

If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out for help and talk to someone.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky          

Query Letter’s 270+ Best Writing Contests (Repost)

Hello Writer Bees!

Hope you all are staying creative and enjoying the warm weather. Still stuck in the editing trenches here, so I’ve yet to frolic in the sunshine.

This post will be quick, but trust me, it’s a goodie.

The lovely folks at QueryLetter.com reached out to me with some exciting information. Recently, they published a blog post titled ‘The 270+ Best Writing Contests‘. In this extensive list, they’ve highlighted over 270 of the top writing contests around. And the best part? There are contests in a variety of genres and word counts. From poetry to flash fiction to non-fiction, all writers are welcomed. No matter what you write, you’ll for sure find something up your alley.

I highly recommend checking out this list. Even as I’m writing this, I’m looking through all the different contests and am tempted to try it out. Inspiration is already bubbling in my head. Challenge yourself and try participating in one of these contests. There’s no harm in taking a chance and throwing your hat in the ring. You never know.


Have you ever participated in a writing contest before? Are you interesting in signing up for one of contests listed? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you.

Write with heart.

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Writing my 1st Whodunit Draft in a College Writing Workshop

Hello Writer Bees!

As some of you may know, my current WIP is a 1920’s murder mystery. But what inspired my first mystery story? When and how was “draft zero” born? Here is the story of how I started writing detective fiction.

A flashback to my college days. Because I was interested in mystery genre, I decided to take a detective fiction course. Super fun elective class. We read all the greats, like Doyle, Poe, Christie, and Spillane.  That same semester, I was also taking a fiction writing class, as one of my degree requirements.  

Here’s how fiction writing workshop worked. My professor charged us to write 2 short stories – any subject, any genre – 10 to 15 pages in length. Each session was dedicated to one student’s creative piece. Together, we’d discuss and critique each other’s work, offering constructive feedback. Picture your peers and fellow writers reading and judging your story, dissecting it in front of you. Needless to say, critique day was a daunting, nerve wracking and incredibly rewarding experience.

My first go around at workshop, I wrote The Tale of a Boy and a Mermaid, which I have posted here on this blog. Next turn up at bat, I wanted to write something out of my wheelhouse, something different.

Inspired by the mysteries I was reading at the time, I decided to try my hand at writing a whodunit. I thought, maybe this critique was the perfect opportunity to test drive this vague idea for a detective character I had. And mind you, none of my peers were writing any close to a murder mystery. As always, I was the oddball out.

With Jabberwock mode engaged, I furiously wrote a murder mystery, finishing the morning of my class. College deadlines, am I right? The story centered around the detective and his aid, Mister G.W. Barnaby and Oscar Fitzgerald, solving a case. Set in a 1920s Broadway theatre, an actress is shot with an assumed prop gun that had real bullets instead of fake ones. A bit cliché, I know. But I enjoyed writing a mystery, crafting suspects and leaving clues. Really did fall in love with the genre. Titling it ‘Murder at the Primdove Theatre’, I submitted the story to be judged by my classmates, biting my nails the whole time.

Surprisingly, they seemed to like the story. Peers pointed out their favorite lines and gushed over how fitting character names were to the time period. And that “Wow, what a plot twist!” moment from readers is priceless. However, I did receive some notes, like the pacing being too fast and not much setting description. Even with the notes of criticism, I was still proud of my little whodunit.

After I graduated, I set my sights on my next big goal; Becoming a published author before I turn 30 years old. Since I couldn’t get these sleuths out of my head, I gave them another case to crack, the Case of the Drowned Mermaid. Some elements from the workshop story carried over into my WIP, like the relationship between suspects. So, I always consider my first try at a whodunit as my ‘draft zero’, the little seed that started it all.

Moral of the story: If there is a time to take a risk with your craft, a writing workshop is the place to do it. Seriously, it’s a good place to experiment, to create freely, and to receive some honest feedback. Don’t be afraid to write outside your comfort zone. You’d be surprised what the outcome will be.

In my case, it was my current mystery WIP.


Hope you found my life story interesting. Do you have a story behind your first draft? Have you ever been involved with a writing workshop or class? Lemme know in the comments.

Stay safe and stay creative. Happy sleuthing!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

Born a Bloodhound (Detective Mystery Flash Fiction)

Hello Super Sleuths,

This work on fiction is based on last week’s post, the 5 archetypes of fictional detectives. Enjoy!


In every lifetime, I’d been born a bloodhound.

The city was a graveyard, grey and cold and deadly silent. It was near midnight. On a lonely street corner by the museum, I stood there in the pouring rain. Fedora and trench coat drenched. Smoke rose from the sewer grate.

She stood beside me, a viper in heels. Eyelashes sharp like butcher knives.

“Finn, darling,” Her hands slip inside my coat, warm as a shot of ice cold whiskey. She whispered into my ear. “Let’s forget about this little museum jewel heist. The robbers are probably long gone by now,” The minx kissed me, full and feverish. Lips were red like a stop sign. “Couldn’t we just run off together instead? It’d be so easy.” Easy, she says. Easy like a bullet to the head.

I lit a cigarette and eyed the moon. “A dame like you is going to be in a world of trouble someday.” She snickered, her fingers inched towards the gun holstered on my hip. I snatched her wrist. “Quit playing games and fess up already. I know about your little scheme. Now, you want to tell me where that million-dollar diamond is? Or do I have to search you myself?”

Eyebrow raised, she offered a wide wolfish grin, full of teeth and poison. “Please do, inspector.”
———————————————————————————————————–

Every incarnation, there is a trail I’m bound to follow.

That sunny summer morning on Cherry Blossom Lane, I sat cozy in my armchair. On the coffee table, there’s a tray of tea and oatmeal cookies. The rain would arrive later, my bones could sense it. 

“Miss Finnegan, are you feeling alright?” The aid, Gloria, handed me a porcelain teacup embellished with golden roses. Accepting the cup, I nodded with a smile. Looking out the window once more, I watched the new neighbors shuffle cardboard boxes. Lady Whiskerdown, my faithful companion, leapt into my lap.

“Dear? Did you hear about Mister Massey next door?” I asked.

She hummed. “They said it was a robbery gone wrong, yes? Poor thing.”

“His son moved in so quickly after his father’s death, don’t you think?” I pondered. As soon as the yellow police tape was removed, the son was quick to move into the lovely estate. How odd. Lady Whiskerdown thought it odd too.

“Miss Finnegan, you are being nosey again,”  The nurse teased, wagging her finger. As Gloria left the room to fetch my afternoon pills, I gripped my walker, hoisting myself up. “Where are you off to now?”

I may be retired, but an old dog like me can sense trouble when it’s around. Like the rain, my bones could sense it. I gave her a sweet, harmless smile. “Only saying hello to the new neighbors. Where’s the harm in that?”


Every breath dedicated to unraveling the most tangled of life’s mysteries.

After hours, school gave me the heebie-jeebies. Once bustling with classmates, the hallways were eerily empty. Flashlights in hand, my pals and I the snuck around. With the janitor’s permission, of course. He wasn’t thrilled about the recent hauntings and kidnappings either. Our sneakers squeaked against the linoleum tiles. A heavy mini backpack strapped to my back, full of everything a good detective needs to catch a ghost. Fishing net included. Scrunchie on my wrist, in case of emergency.

We found locker #66G. I pried open the metal locker with a screwdriver, its contents spilling out on the floor. Let’s see. A stack of overdue homework. A half-eaten cheeseburger. A bag of glow-in-the-dark powder. I gulped. “Guys,” I turned to my gang of cohorts: The mathlete with thick rimmed glasses, the blonde vixen in a cheerleader uniform, the skater with the tie dye shirt, the dog. “I think I found something.”

Above us, the lights flickered. A strained, moaning sound rang through the halls. Suddenly, a specter in white rags with a phantom mask appeared, floating and glowing a ghoulish green. Rattling chains looped around it’s arms.

“It-it-it’s the Grahamsville G-G-Ghost!”

“Yikes!”

“Finley, run!” My friend called out to me. The Grahamsville Ghost hovered towards us.  

Real ghost or not, I wasn’t looking to become the next missing victim. New plan: Run!


I tried experimenting with different tones here, different subgenres of mystery fiction. Sometimes, It’s good to write outside your comfort zone. In the first part, I was aiming for noir vibes, second part was more a cozy mystery and third part was based on Saturday morning cartoons. Let me know what you guys think in the comments. I’m open to feedback.

Happy sleuthing!

Write with heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

5 Archetypes of Fictional Detectives

Hello sleuths!

Welcome to May of Mystery, an entire month dedicated to detective fiction and mystery lovers alike.

At the heart of every mystery story is a detective ready to crack the case. In detective fiction, any character can become a sleuth. Detectives can come from any background, any walk of life, and have differing methods of deduction. Let’s investigate the various types of fictional detectives, shall we? Here are 5 classic archetypes of detectives in mystery fiction.

Amateur Sleuth

This is somewhat an general term for any mystery solver who has no connection with law enforcement. Nor do they get paid in assisting in an investigation. These types of fictional detectives can be adventure seekers, inquisitive reporters or simply nosy neighbors. Regardless of their reason for investigating, Amateur Sleuths are guided by their curiosity and desire for knowledge and justice. Because they may lack the skills a “proper detective”, their investigations tend to be a learning experience for them.

Hardboiled Detective

A staple in noir fiction, the hardboiled detective is one of the more notable archetypes. All a hardboiled detective needs is a trench coat, a gun and their acholic beverage of choice. With their tough exteriors, they have a cynical outlook on the world. Their morals are grey, there is no right or wrong. Protagonists are often depicted as Anti Heroes, or characters who act in self-interest and don’t have typical heroic qualities. An untraditional knight in shining armor, if you will. Perhaps that’s why they sometimes get tangled up with Femme Fatales. Famous fiction detectives such as Philip Marlowe and Sam Spade are noted as quintessential hardboiled detectives.

Private Investigator

Next up, the private investigator, another notable type of fictional detective. Usually self employed or cooperating alongside law enforcement, they follow their own rules and their own means of investigating and deduction. In some cases, private investigators have had previous experience working for law enforcement, and may still have connections. Most of the time, they are hired by clients who are in desperate need of their sleuthing skills. Genius great detective types, like Consulting Detective Sherlock Holmes would fit this archetype.

Little Old Lady

For a more cozy mystery, call on grandma to save the day. From years of wisdom and experience, they seem to have a knack for this mystery solving thing. Using their unassuming appearance to their advantage, they attract little attention and can work around the cops. Instead of having intense interrogations, suspects sometimes confide details on the case willingly. Constantly underestimated, who would think a sweet little old lady could crack the case? The iconic Miss Marple, created by Agatha Christie, is the perfect example of this type of fictional detective.

Kid Detective

Often designed for a younger audience in an adventure-centric plot, a kid detective is another type of detective found in mystery fiction. Though they may not need to be an actual child, this archetype includes sleuths who are minors. These young snoops must sneak passed the suspicious adults without getting in trouble with their parents. They rely on trickery and sneaking around to obtain evidence. Being juveniles, they face difficulty asking questions of adults and convincing police that a crime was committed. The cases they take on never involve violence or truly dangerous situations, their antagonists are harmless. Some would argue that Mystery Inc. from the Scooby Doo Franchise would fall under this category.


What are you favorite types of detective characters? And for all the mystery writers out there, which archetype would you categorize your sleuth under? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you guys.

Happy sleuthing!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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The Bechdel Test and It’s Impact on Fiction Writing

Hello Writer Bees,

In honor of Women’s History Month, I wanted to talk about one of my favorite female creators, Alison Bechdel. But more importantly, the important test she invented and how it impacted the writing world.

Who is Alison Bechdel?

Alison Bechdel is an American cartoonist best known for her 2006 graphic memoir, Fun Home. Originally, she was known for the long-running comic strip. In 2012, she released her second graphic memoir Are You My Mother? Two years later, she became a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Award. As a figure in the LGBTQ community, her journey with her sexuality and gender non-conformity is at the heart of her work.

While in college, I read Fun Home and absolutely fell in love with Bechdel’s candor regarding her life. Highly recommend the book, Fun Home is a memoir like no other. And right now, I’m listening to the Fun Home Musical’s soundtrack as I write this post. (Yes, there was a musical!)

What is the Bechdel Test?

Sometimes referred to as the Bechdel Rule, the Bechdel-Wallace Test or the Mo Movie Measure. In short, the Bechdel Test is a test that measures female representation in fiction. And it can be applied to all mediums of fiction: Books, movies and T.V. shows. Now let’s be clear, failing these criteria does not mean it’s a poor representation of fictional women. However, the test does show the active presence of women in fiction, how involved they are in a story. If you are curious about what movies have passed and failed the Bechdel Test, check out bechdeltest.com, a database where users classify if a film meets the Bechdel Test criteria. To pass the test, a piece of fiction should follow this simple list of rules.

Bechdel Test Rules

  • The movie has to have at least two women in it,
  • who talk to each other,
  • about something besides a man
  • Bonus: Two women must be named.

Why is the Bechdel Test important?

While these rules sound easy enough to accomplish, you’d be surprised how many works of fiction fail this test. Underneath these simple guidelines is a deeper meaning. The Bechdel Test draws attention to gender inequality in fiction. Representation matters, writer bees. Women need stop being written off as sideline characters that revolve around the male characters. Women can take on the lead role and have an active presence in a plot. In truth, the Bechdel test raises important questions to all creators. How integral are the female characters in the plot line? Are their story arcs fleshed out and full of depth?

As a lady writer myself, the Bechdel Tests makes me look at my own female characters differently. To be more mindful about how women in any creative work are depicted. Personally, I take this test as a challenge and a standard to strive for.


What are your thoughts on the Bechdel Test? Do you think your work would pass the test? Who are some of your favorite female characters in fiction? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from you!

Stay safe and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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3 Things to Always Include in a Successful Blog Post

Hello Writer Bees!

Before it’s out in the world, all of us bloggers give our content a quick once-over. It’s good to get in the habit of proofreading an article before it gets published. Not just grammatical errors, but to make sure the other elements that make a post stand out are present and accounted for. No matter what you blog about, make sure your posts have these three elements at publishing time.

Feature Image

A feature image is like a book cover. And sometimes, a potential viewer may judge a post by it’s title image. Consider a feature image as a visual hint to readers of what the article is about. Before publishing, make sure you have a solid image(s) attached to the article. No image may lead to less traction with readers. If you have a personal, diary like blog, snap a photo of the world around you, or a cute selfie. If you’re writing on a specific niche, try Search Engines and Pexel Free Photos for copyright-free images. Take it a step further with custom title cards. You don’t need a master of photoshop to create a cool feature image. Between you and me, some of my images were made on MS Paint. See above. They’re not great, but they get the job done and tell my readers this is part of a series.

Tags

On WordPress, you can add tags to your post. These tags help readers find posts related to their interests. Think of it as casting a wide net. The more tags connected to your niche; the more readers you will catch the attention of. At least ten tag words would be enough, the more the merrier. By utilizing tags, your audience will grow and expand. Every time I post anything, I use every word associated with my umbrella topic; Creative writing. I use a plethora of writing related key words. That way, other writers and creatives can find my blog without too much digging. It may seem tedious, but trust me, it works. I’ve found plenty of amazing writers and bloggers to follow just by searching the ‘writing’ or ‘fiction’ tags.

Examples

Tags I Use: writer, write, writers, writing, creative writing, fiction writing, fiction, short story, story, amwriting, writing community, writing tips.

Tags for a recipe: cooking, chef, recipe, recipes, taco, Spanish, Mexican, one pot, vegan, spicy, few ingredients, party food.

Socials

Stay connected with your audience and with social media. When you schedule a post for publication, be sure to plan a post on social media coinciding with its release. Pairing social media with your blog will give you a better opportunity of more eyes seeing your content. You can find sites from awesome creators through platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram and Patreon. I’ll give you an example from my experience blogging. when I publish on WordPress, I also compose a Tweet. Setting them to publish at the same time, I get to spread the word about my content on multiple platforms at once. Easy, right?


I treat the above like a grocery shopping list. Anytime I’m about to publish, I ask myself “Okay. Image? Check. Tags? All there. Tweet? Ready to go.” Over the years, I’ve gotten in the habit of going over this checklist every time. When I first started blogging, I didn’t think any of this stuff was important. Now, I’ve learned these elements can be a total gamechanger when creating content. I thought I’d share these tips with you all, so we all can become better bloggers and creators.

What do you think is the most important element to a successful blog post? Talk to me in the comments.

Stay safe out there and stay creative.

Write with Heart,

Lady Jabberwocky

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Three Things I Learned About My Writing in 2021

Hello Writer Bees,

With the holidays and the new year fast approaching, I wanted to take a minute to reflect on 2021. More specifically, my writing journey and its ups and downs. Here are three things I’ve learned about myself as a writer this year.

Always Find Time to Write

When I started my 9 to 5 office job, I was grateful for the opportunity but also worried about not having time to write. Sometimes, it’s stressful for me to juggle a full-time job, a blog and a work of fiction. This year, I learned that there’s always time, I just need to look hard enough. Just because I can’t write until the wee hours anymore, like I used to, doesn’t mean I can’t get creative another time of day. Now, I write during my lunch break. And I write after hours and on weekends. Writing is important to me, therefore, I make sure I find those scraps of time.

Write Outside the Box

I’ve learned to be open to experimenting and taking chances with my writing. This year, I challenged myself to write outside my comfort zone and preferred genre. Even a mystery writer like myself can write outside the box and have fun with it. In doing so, I became more aware of my writing style and voice. Here on this blog, I’ve dabbled in other genres I don’t normally write in. And I wrote a few 100 words stories too. If you’re interested in reading, check out a few stories below!

Trust In My Writer Gut

During NaNoWriMo, I focused on editing my mystery WIP. Of course, with editing, comes making major and minor changes to the story. There were times I doubted myself. Am I fussing over nothing? Am I making unnecessary edits? This year, I learned to trust my gut. If my writer instinct is pulling the plot is a certain direction, or I need to change something, I should go for it. It’s my story to tell and I’m going to tell it the best I can. As a writer, I’m learning to be confident in my choices, even when others may disagree.


What have you learned about yourself and your writing this year? How have you grown as a writer? Talk to me in the comments. As always, I love to hear from the writing community.

Head’s up, I’ll be taking the next few weeks off for the holidays. See you all in 2022!

Stay safe, stay creative and happy holidays everyone!

Love,

Lady Jabberwocky

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