Paranormal Fiction vs. Urban Fantasy

I was chatting with some writer friends and we were talking about our various works in progress and the differences between Paranormal Fiction and Urban Fantasy as a genre type.  None of us could really agree on what qualifies fit our stories.  We all have elements of each.  For example, my novel, ‘The Calling’ is set in a modern urban area with elements of the supernatural, which is the definition of Urban Fantasy. However, ‘The Calling’ also revolves around the paranormal, which is the definition of Paranormal Fiction. So, where does that leave ‘The Calling’?

I wasn’t sure.

Digging into both genres, which are a sub-genre of Fiction, the question I posed to my writers group became how picky does the author, publisher, or agent want to be? For me, either genre works fine.  If I had to pull hairs, I’d probably go with Urban Fantasy because novels that are similar to mine are in that category and it sounds cooler. But is this choice mine to make?

As our conversation continued and with the novel still in the editing phase does the genre really matter? Yes, it does.  When you’re trying to query the novel to agents and publishers you have to tell them the genre your book is in.  And from everything I read and learned from other people you should limit your choice to one genre. So, back to my writers group I went.  After speaking with them ad nauseam the group consensus was that my novel should go into Urban Fantasy.

Great, ‘The Calling’ is a modern day Urban Fantasy.

Yay!  Problem solved.

Or is it?

Because in the back of my mind I always pictured ‘The Calling’ as a Paranormal Fiction story with dark elements to it. That was how I wrote the story, at least I thought I did. I suppose as I move the book along the process, people much smarter than me will pat me on top of my head and tell me that ‘The Calling’ is actually a ‘Ghost Story’ and I was foolish for thinking it was anything else.

Oh, didn’t I mention there are bits of a Ghost Story to ‘The Calling’, yep, there are.