Thursday, August 11, 2011

Urban Fantasy Writers Blog - A Review

Before I begin, here's a definition of urban fantasy from Wikipedia, for those of you not familiar with the genre. You probably have read a book in this genre at some point.

Urban fantasy is a sub-genre of fantasy defined by place; the fantastic narrative has an urban setting. Many urban fantasies are set in contemporary times and contain supernatural elements. However, the stories can take place in historical, modern, or futuristic periods.
I came across this blog, Urban Fantasy Writers that peaked my interest. The blog has some great features, but there are also some really annoying snafus. You cannot register as a user at this time, even though the option is offered on their page. Their forum link also does not work, which is disappointing. In fact, four out of the seven links on the top navigation bar are not functioning.

I found navigating their blog to be less then pleasurable; the organization of their links is confusing. You can only access all the Guest Post Series by clicking on a link at the top of the current article; it is not even offered in their sidebar of links and their Tools and Research sections, while helpful, are not as diverse as I would like to see.

The sidebar sections are also disjointed. There is a link to the Full List of Resources placed inconveniently at the bottom of the long author list, and then below it, a box with four image links to more resources not even mentioned in any of the other lists provided. If you weren't quick enough to infer that the full list includes the links from the Tools and and Research sections already offered, you might think this was something completely new. Why is this link even offered?

I am also puzzled as to why their List of Contributors is linked at the bottom of their sidebar; if I hadn't scrolled all the way down, I might have missed links to some well-written book reviews. They would be better placed in a general article section with the guest contributors at the top of the sidebar. There aren't even any titles given next to the contributor names, leaving readers in the dark about just what they are going to read.

Urban Fantasy Writers' blog organization is fuzzy to say the least. That said, they do have an impressive collection of links to popular author pages and their bookstore link on Amazon, has some good selections in it as well. I also found the most recent article by author, Denise Verrico, to be very informative; it discusses world building in the genre. I would probably read some of the reviews and other articles listed, if I hadn't been so annoyed with all the broken links and the lack of proper navigation.

Would I visit this blog again? Probably not. Their lack of attention to detail leaves me with a headache. The broken links and the discombobulated navigation are enough to drive me away. I do not recommend this blog, which is sad because it holds so much potential.

As always, happy writing and happy reading to all!

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