Time for another book recipe! This time I’ll be looking at urban fantasy, so load up on eyeliner and edgy leather jackets. It’s about to get edgy.
- One feisty yet clueless female protagonist
- One of the hot kind of supernatural creatures
- A different (but still hot) supernatural creature
- A token best friend
- A cape-wearing villain
- The Object of Power
- One skyscraper-ey backdrop
- Background spooky magic
- A constant cycle of full moons
- Put your feisty female protagonist and her token best friend against your suitably urban backdrop. There, you’ve done your setting.
- You’ve stumbled across a mythical thingy! Hopefully this won’t be important later.
- Symbolic dreams!
- Suddenly there’s a lot more hot and brooding men about making vague allusions to The Prophecy. Huh. Tinder got weird.
- But no! It’s the plot. Our feisty main character is the proud owner of the Object of Power, and all the supernatural hotties want to get their hands on it.
- Have your first brush with death. It’s OK though – you’re immediately rescued by a shirtless vampire or something.
- Have sexual tension with one of the leads, then angst.
- Time for the main character to finally learn what’s been going on! Sit them down and ’splain them a thing. Make sure this covers The Prophecy, the weird supernatural world they’ve stumbled into, and setup for the conflict in the final third of the book.
- Wonder at all the magical stuff the main character can see. Maybe she’s pals with a dragon now! Maybe she’s made out with a wizard! Maybe she’s been to a market staffed entirely by snake-headed women! Pick a thing to illustrate this world’s weirdness and roll with it.
- Have sexual tension with a different lead. Think about the other lead, then angst.
- Here’s our first mention of our cape-wearing villain! Make sure to drive home to the reader that they are a bad, bad egg.
- Turns out the main character has powers now. Time for a training montage!
- Time for another brush with death. Don’t worry, the main character is still fine.
- More sexual tension! We didn’t include all these shirtless werewolves for nothing.
- Learn some more about The Prophecy, or The Ancient War, or The Object of Power. Make sure to pay attention. We’re heading into the last quarter of the book, so there’s a 90% chance that any piece of new information will resolve the final conflict.
- Remember that best friend from step one? THEY’VE BEEN KIDNAPPED OH NO
- The villain demands the main character hand over The Object of Power or they’ll kill their best friend. This is a real and tangible threat because even though the best friend hasn’t been mentioned since step one, WE TOTALLY CARE ABOUT THEM YOU GUYS
- Go to meet the villain with The Object of Power. Be polite and let him monologue for a bit before you hand it over.
- Use your newfound powers to save your friend, get The Object of Power and save the day! Bonus points if you can get rescued by a shirtless hottie as well.
- Set up the next book in the series. And the next. And the next, because this will go on for ever.
THE END. Serve with plenty of moody eyeliner.
- Make sure you pick the hot kind of supernatural creature for your romantic leads – the angstier the better. Vampires, werewolves, fallen angels and demons are all solid choices, but trolls, ghouls and zombies are best left in the background.
- Always include a love triangle.
- In this one you’ve got the option for your main character to be secretly half-fairy or whatever. If you go down this road you’ve got three things to remember:
- This can’t have a bad effect on their appearance – pointy ears or an unusual eye colour is the most unique thing you can go for.
- The main character must be utterly and completely clueless about her heritage at all times.
- The reveal must be the Most Dramatic Thing
- Don’t forget about your main character’s piece of significant jewellery! It’s almost always magical, but she’ll have had it all her life so she’s probably used to the glowing.
- Don’t bother researching into actual supernatural lore. Just make it up! It’ll be fine.
- Never, ever let your main character work out that supernatural creatures are real before someone else explains it to her, even if it’s super obvious. She can’t already believe in vampires or whatever, everyone knows they aren’t real.
- Your supernatural races should all look like human hotties, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to easily tell them apart by sight! Here’s a handy guide to get you started:
- Vampires: wear black
- Werewolves: beefy
- Angels: blond
- Fallen angels: blond, but also pale and sad
- Demons: have piercings
- Always have one ‘bad boy’ love interest who wears a leather jacket.
And here’s one I prepared earlier…
“I don’t understand! Just tell me what’s going on!”
Byron doesn’t stop. Hand clenched around my arm, he drags me away from the goo-spattered alleyway, his jaw clenched. “You could have got yourself killed! What were you thinking?”
I try and tug my arm out of his grip but I can’t – he’s crazy strong. He leads me into another alleyway, far away from the sticky black goop we left behind. We’re round the back of a nightclub in the bad part of town, sirens blaring and a nearly-full moon blotted out by flickering streetlights and grimy concrete towers. He drags me behind a dumpster – no-one can see us from the street now – and it occurs to me that this may have been a bad idea.
Still, I want answers.
I’ve got this old necklace I’ve had since I was a baby. It’s nothing special – just a perfectly spherical blood-red gem on a chain as thin as cobwebs. I’ve always worn it. But ten minutes ago it started glowing, and then the guy that my best friend Mary was dancing with grew a lizard head, and then I chased him out into the alleyway and he exploded into this amorphous blob of goop when I touched him. If Byron hadn’t been there I would’ve been covered in the stuff, but he just waved this knife around and the goop-blob kind of dissolved.
Byron runs a hand through his dark, floppy hair. His cheekbones glisten in the moonlight. “Echo Bellereve,” he mutters, “why is it that every time we meet I have to perform an exorcism?”
“It’s not my fault that – exorcism?”
“Yes! What did you think I was doing?”
His face is white with anger – but now I think about it he’s always been kind of pale. Maybe it’s just because he’s always dressed in black. I swear I’ve never seen him without his leather jacket. I don’t know what he’s going to do when it starts getting to summer – but now I think about that, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him in the daytime either. Huh. Weird.
“Do those pointy ears of yours actually work, Echo? Have you been listening to a word I’ve said? You don’t –”
I pull my auburn curls around my face, covering my ears. OK, so they are kind of pointy, but he doesn’t have to be a jerk about it. “Don’t make fun of my ears!”
“So you heard that, did you? Well, listen up. You don’t belong here. Go back to your safe little world and don’t bother me any more. You don’t know what you’re dealing with.”
God, he’s practically growling at me. I hate that he still looks good doing it. He’s got to have some flaws – but no. Perfect cheekbones, dark eyes, a jaw like granite. I guess his teeth are kind of pointy but I don’t think that really counts.
I glare at him. “I’m not leaving my friend behind! Now, are you going to tell me what happened back there, or –”
“You don’t know? You don’t – Echo, you could have died! It’s a miracle you weren’t –”
He stops. His pale face gets paler.
“You’re bleeding,” he says.
OK, his teeth really are pointy. Also, I can’t believe I didn’t notice this before but his eyes are kind of red. And glowing. Is he wearing contacts?
I touch my cheek and my fingertips come away bloody. “Oh yeah. But look, what was…”
He’s suddenly much, much closer now. Every eyelash stands out sharp against his cheeks. His eyes are really red now – like, properly vermillion, not just garnet – and suddenly I’m annoyed. He’s just doing this to scare me and he’s not even answering any of my questions.
“Stop being a jerk,” I snap, and shove him away. He doesn’t move. I’ve basically just slapped him in the chest and now I feel like an idiot. I did at least get to touch his pecs though, so there’s that.
He doesn’t say anything. Just stares, and now his canine teeth are like, super-sharp.
“I said, take your damn contacts out and stop being a –”
Someone slams into him.
I shriek. Byron goes flying into the wall. He hisses, eyes still glowing, and then someone – a huge someone, built like a goddamn mountain – slaps him right across the face.
“Echo!” says a familiar voice. “Are you hurt?”
It’s Rex Volkov, from school. Rex Volkov, who’s six and a half feet tall and so broad-shouldered he has to turn sideways to fit through the classroom doors. He comes running over to me, mahogany eyes wide with concern.
“Oh, Jesus,” he says, and there’s a certain amount of hissing and frantic scrabbling from Byron, “you’re bleeding. Did he bite you?”
I frown. “Um, no. Why would he do that?”
Rex stares at me. “Are you serious?”
Byron springs up again. His eyes are glowing red, his canine teeth are sharp and pointed, and he’s hissing at Rex. Rex doesn’t even turn around. He just punches Byron in the side of the head and he goes crashing down.
“He’s a vampire,” Rex says.
“Oh, very funny, Rex. There’s no such thing as vampires.”
“Jesus wept.” More hissing. “Look at him! Look at his teeth! His eyes started glowing at the sight of blood!”
“They’re just contacts! And…and prosthetic teeth, probably. You can get those, right?”
“Prosthetic…never mind. Look, you need to get out of here. He’s going to try and eat you now he’s scented blood. There’s a church a couple of streets away. If you run, I can hold him off long enough for you to –”
Byron scrabbles at his leg. Rex picks him up and throws him into the dumpster.
“Real mature, Rex. Real mature. Next you’ll be telling me you’re a werewolf!”
Rex goes very quiet.
“And that I’m a half-fairy, half-angel mythical being who’s like, princess of everything!”
Rex starts shuffling his feet.
“Yeah. I didn’t think so either. Now you’ve had your little joke, so why don’t you let Byron out of the dumpster and get him to tell me what’s going –”
Byron bursts out of the dumpster. His eyes are blazing red, his teeth have turned to fangs, and two large, leathery bat wings are poking through his jacket. Hissing, he rounds on me. Rex shoves me out of the way, rips off his shirt – and damn, by the way – and then promptly turns into a wolf.
And that’s when I passed out.
My full book-cookbook can be found here. Let me know what you’d like me to look at next – and as always, take this recipe with a pinch of salt.