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Coraline, Alice, and other magical places

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New Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 1
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I've got a question about OOTB stories that deal with a magical place. I guess that makes them a "Thing Bottle," but maybe they're a different genre entirely?

Take Coraline. It has to be an OOTB -- the film's tagline is literally "Be careful what you wish for." But her "bottle" is the Other World, and she goes back and forth. Which sub-genre is that? Or is "leaving Other World" the same as "taking off the Mask" or "the weight-loss potion wears off"?

I'm working on a story about a normal young woman who finds a job working at a hotel for supernatural creatures. It's somewhat like Coraline, and also Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, but it doesn't really feel like an OOTB to me. But I can't figure out what else it might be.

Any ideas? 

Active Member
Joined: 4 years ago
Posts: 8

Might be Storybook Superhero. It's the subgenre for when you're probably borrowing from the already established stories of these supernatural creatures. The magical place sounds like it might be a unique background, but separate from whatever will cause the characters actual transformation.

Joined: 10 years ago
Posts: 20

I always tell writers to look at their story within the three elements that are necessary in each genre. For example, if it's out of the bottle, the hero usually has a "wish" or desire for a different life (though sometimes, someone else has the wish, like in Liar, Liar, and it's a curse for them!), there is the "spell" which changes their life into an upside-down version of their world as they know it, and they learn a "lesson" from it. In the example of Coraline, she is wishing for a new life, and she finds the upside-down world (the spell), and ultimately learns a "lesson" to appreciate her family. Coco is the same way.

In your story, which sounds great, ask how the hero changes. What is the theme, and what does the hero learn? Often, the best way to determine the genre is to look at what the hero learns during the Dark Night of the Soul. Good luck!


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