Acronyms & Terms in Urban Fantasy

Acronyms Edit

Acronym Stands For Definition / Description
UF Urban Fantasy UF and PNR Differences
PNR Paranormal Romance UF and PNR Differences
YA Young Adult Reading age category: ages 12–18. — Note: some are more suited to the younger portion og this group and smoe to the older portion, depending on content. 
NA New Adult Reading age category: ages 18–28
HEA Happily Ever After The goal to which all romance novel protagonists aspire—see below
TSTL Too Stupid To Live When the hero or heroine takes actions that are obvious and sure to lead them and all around them into certain mortal danger. 
SciFy Science Fiction Some UF employs SciFy elements
DNF Did Not Finish Reserved for novels that were too terrible, offensive, or simply boring
TBR To Be Read one’s enormous, ever-growing shelf-space-devouring pile of books that one is planning to read
PoV Point of View refers to the narrative perspecive(s) of certain character(s) that a story is told from. Example, told from Cruan's PoV. Could be used for either first or third person narrative forms. 
MG Middle Grade Reading age category for pre-teens: ages 8–12

Terms and PhrasesEdit

Alpha Male:

  • A dominant, aggressive, hyper-masculine hero. Often used in novels where “taming the beast” is a prominent relationship theme, where the 200-pound Navy SEAL can bring terrorists to justice and open difficult jam jars, but his fiery slip of a librarian love interest can bring him to his knees with a single quip.

Beta Male:

  • The term for the submissive, quieter, easygoing hero type—a.k.a. “The Nice Guy.” These heroes tend to be more intellectual and cunning then their Alpha Male counterparts, relying on wit and humour rather than physical heroism. They typically follow on the heels of an Evil Ex storyline to demonstrate that Nice Guys really don’t always finish last.

Chick Lit:

  • Paranormal chick lit features attractive, hip, career-driven female protagonists, typically in their twenties and thirties, with some type of supernatural trait. The heroine, who generally lives in an urban area, is frequently obsessed with her appearance and loves to shop (especially for shoes). As a rule, the plot follows the heroine's love life and her struggles for professional success (often in the publishing, advertising, or fashion industry). The tone is breezy and irreverent. ~ More:  Fang-tastic

Deus ex machina

  • The term has evolved to mean a plot device whereby a seemingly unsolvable problem is suddenly and abruptly resolved by the contrived and unexpected intervention of some new event, character, ability or object. ~ Wikipedia

Gamma Males:

  • A newer hero term, reserved for heroes who are a mix of Beta and Alpha male types. The more common examples are the shy Beta who morphs into an aggressive, take-change Alpha when the heroine is threatened, or a highly-stressed Alpha who hides a softer, Beta side.


  • An acronym for Happily Ever After—the goal to which all romance novel protagonists aspire and usually get. It's almost a rule imposed by romance readers that there must be an HEA or they practically riot... at least online, they do.
  • Not in Urban Fantasy, except perhaps, maybe, and never a given, at the end of a series. In Urban Fantasy, Romance always takes a back seat to the plot. Any romances occur usually over several books and build slowly. There are sometimes more than one romance over the course of a long-running series—and always relegated to sidde-story-in-the-background status. This is the primary difference, among may differences, between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance. 

Mary Sue / Gary Stu:

  • A critical term reserved for badly-written protagonists who are too perfect—they are simply good at everything, everyone except the Bad Guys loves them, and they have no discernable character flaws. Mary Sues are generally disliked because, since they have no problems of their own, the conflicts they confront tend to be contrived. As well, with no flaws or quirks, many of them are simply not interesting.

New Adult:

  • New Adult (NA) is a developing genre of fiction with protagonists in the 18–25 age bracket—a sort of an 'older YA'. Some common examples of issues include: first jobs, starting college, wedding engagements and marriage, starting new families, friendships post-high school, military enlistment, financial independence, living away from home for the first time, empowerment, loss of innocence, fear of failure, and many others. ~ More: Wikipedia

Sequel Baiting:

  • The superfluous presence or participation of secondary characters in series romances that is meant to advertise or generate interest in their upcoming novels rather than serve the story at hand.


  • Acronym for To Be Read, referring to one’s enormous, ever-growing shelf-space-devouring pile of books that one is planning to read. Saying, “this book’s on my TBR” means you have and will read it. Eventually. At some point.


  • Acronym for Too Stupid To Live, which refers to the unfortunate sort of hero or heroine who repeatedly makes irrational, inexplicable and just plain dangerous decisions that invariably land them in trouble—a technique often used by substandard writers to create conflict or a romantic rescue situation.


  • Slang for a terrible book—as in, so bad you want to throw it against a wall. Not recommended for hardcovers.

See AlsoEdit

External LinksEdit

General Fantasy Definitions

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