1. Miku
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    Miku Member

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    Urban Fantasy Occupations

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by Miku, Feb 19, 2013.

    For all the urban fantasy readers/writers, what kind of underused occupations think fit in with a paranormal story. In most of the UF series I read, the protagonist is a police officer, private investigator/detective, assassin, or mechanic. For my own protagonist, I am making her a barmaid/waitress but the bar is also a front for the paranormal community. She also works as a curse breaker of sorts. She is a werewolf, and thus cannot use magic, but she can sense it and has been exposed to the magic of the world in the past and knows how to identify, analyze, and break spells. Or at least, this is an occupation I am toying with. She's a 19-year-old, African American werewolf so I am trying to think of a realistic occupation for her. I doubt a 19 year old would make a great policewoman, assassin, or private detective. And I don't know enough about mechanics or machinery to realistically portray a day in the life of someone with that occupation.
    But for the other characters I am having more trouble. So I want to ask everyone here what occupations are the most common in UF, and which ones you think might be interesting to explore.
     
  2. jwideman
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    jwideman Senior Member

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    Why not college student? A 19 year old waitress can be working her way through college and, unless she wants to stay a waitress, should be.
     
  3. BitPoet
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    Don't look for what's most common, or you'll end up with cliché characters that have been done before a thousand times and lack a true purpose. Look for conflict, see which occupations can carry constant conflict with your main character. A fellow barmaid who doesn't show up for work every other day and has your MC fill in for her, but gets away with it because she knows something about the boss. A shady magical investigator who seems to have an own agenda against weres. An elitist upperclass woman owning an art gallery who is using it as a front to run an illegal blood bank for vamps. Sounds cliché though? Doesn't matter, if it fits your story and drives your conflicts you're good. Just make sure to ask what your story needs and go from there instead of taking fancy pieces and trying to beat them into form to fit into your work.

    Oh, and try to avoid college. A main character in a UF doesn't need most of their day filled with school and homework, unless you want to write a college story that is. You'll be so busy inventing excuses for your MC to be where the action is instead of where she is supposed to be that you'll have a hard time letting the story flow. The waitress job is brilliant in that she can have to work when the story needs her to. She's already in the changing room at the bar when you realize that she needs to see the decent guy she met earlier being shot at the graveyard? Well, have her insufferable colleague send her home and make her spot the guy's motorbike when she drives by the cemetary. You need her out of her home when it gets blown up? Have her colleague dial in sick on short notice an hour before.
     
  4. creative_nothings
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    creative_nothings Member

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    Well, if the story is set in modern times, I'm seeing a barista at a dark themed internet cafe popular among the type of characters and story I think you are going for (sort of goth, back alley witchcraft kinda thing). This would also help with your paranormal activity front because anything can be found via the web and the young generation today is VERY internet savvy. It also seems a more likely place for a 19 year old to be working, at least here in the states. Too cliche? :rolleyes:
     
  5. lettuce head
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    lettuce head Active Member

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    This is my first post. I have a friend who works for the Children's Services department of our county. She decides if a child stays in a home or not. At times she has reason to do low level investigations. Maybe that could work. Maybe she runs into a family whose kids have special powers and the parents cannot control them. She has to decide what to do.
     
  6. Quille
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    Quille Senior Member

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    I was thinking that while she might be too young to be a policeman or PI or involved in any of the professions, she might have a skill. But even then she'd would have needed a mentor who could get her an apprenticeship. For some reason welding popped into my mind, but I discovered that 'you can learn to be a welder in just 3 years'.

    How about working for a company that sends out Security Guards? That could involve her in various situations, from office tower lobbies, to concerts, or onsite night watch. She'd also receive some basic self-defense training in that role, I think.

    A lot would depend on how much time she needs to spend away from work. If she has to pay rent and buy groceries, she'd probably need a full-time job. Living at home or sharing an apartment might solve that.
     
  7. GhostWolfe
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    GhostWolfe Member

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    Expanding on that, she could be a bouncer for a bar/club. One of my favourite haunts had a female bouncer on their staff, she moved interstate when they opened a new venue.
     
  8. CrimsonReaper
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    CrimsonReaper Active Member

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    Skeptic/ghost hunter
    Have the MC be part of a team that debunks hauntings and the like. Then she gets a (modest) paycheck AND a reason to visit graveyards and other places that might have real ghosts/goblins. Then you get the added drama of her trying to deal with the supernatural without revealing it to her skeptical colleagues.

    Librarian
    Strange how the kids at the local college keep checking out that one book about rituals that summon demons from Hell...Maybe someone should check that out...

    Real Estate Agent/Inspector
    MC has to check out a new buy for her employer. Whoops. Seems its haunted or is used as a nest for rogue vampires. Cue drama.

    Bridge Inspector
    Damn trolls...
     
  9. AVCortez
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    AVCortez Active Member

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    Research people who work at night. Casino workers, bakers (up before dawn), train driver could be interesting.
     
  10. mattbsmith
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    I would like to read ...

    I would be interested in reading an UF story about a collector/reposessions agent who works for a central underworld. She could be a freelance character working for the bureau to whom the demons must apply for their possessions permits. Demons who don't pay their tithe on time get "repossessed". Or something like that. Your character could then have a common job like a barmaid as a cover.

    Learning enough to portray the life of a barista could be relatively easy. Write your story while you sit at Starbucks and eavesdrop on conversation that happens between customers and staff and between staff and themselves. You should get a good idea of how a 'day in the life' could be written.
     

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