Writing Definitions

This article was originally published in The Writer’s Everything, Issue #010.

Like any career or hobby, there’s a whole world built around writing that you may just be beginning to scratch the surface of. And let’s face it, we’re not born knowing how to respond if someone on Twitter asks if the MC in your WIP finds the McGuffin, or if it was just a red herring all along. 

Well that’s what the Writing Definitions guide is going to be for. Rather than spending countless hours trying to develop a feel for what  all these various terms mean, a few specific terms will be defined with each issue of The Writer’s Everything. I hope that as this magazine continues, these terms can come to be so familiar to you that they become second-nature.


Fantasy is a literary genre in which the story is set in a fictional universe, usually inspired by mythology and folklore, and often including supernatural or magical elements.

Epic/High Fantasy

High fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy in which the story takes place in an imaginary, secondary world, and the themes and plot are often of an epic and complex nature.

Hard Fantasy

Hard fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy that is not easily definable in a clear-cut way, but generally refers to stories that strive for realism, with clear, scientific explanations for their magic systems.

Historical Fantasy

Historical fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy in which the story either takes place in an alternative version of our world, or in a secondary world which closely mirrors our own historical culture and society.

Low Fantasy

Low fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy that takes place in our normal world, rather than a secondary world, where everything remains the same save the inclusion of magical elements.

Urban Fantasy

Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy in which the story involves the inclusion of supernatural elements in an urban society. It may be set in our normal world, or in a secondary world that closely mirrors our own.

The Writer’s Everything

This article, as well as many others, have been featured in previous issues of my writing journal, The Writer’s Everything, in which I, along with occasional guest contributors, provide essays, guides, encouragement, motivation, writing prompts, character bio development kits, and anything else that can help you turn your dream of becoming a writer into a reality.

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