What Do Fantasy Characters Do For A Living?
Why do we need to create an occupation for our characters? Well, our characters will need something to do on a daily basis while they wait for the epic events of their story to unfold. What does your main protagonist do all day? Do they work as a clerk in a shop, go to school, apprentice, or are they independently wealthy? Depending on your story genre, the answer to their occupation may be a different answer entirely. Maybe your protagonist is a dragon trainer!
The storyline will determine your characters’ occupations according to what you need to happen. For example, in order for your story to flow well, characters may need to be in a particular place at a certain time for a spectacular fight scene. Who will be involved in the scene? If you have a wonderful protagonist who’s going to be fighting, how do they fight and why? Are they saving a fair-haired maiden from the clutches of an evil villain or are they catching her as she falls off a cliff?
One scenario may lend better to the protagonist being a knight and in another story, the protagonist may be a wizard who projects a beam to catch her mid-air. On the other hand, if you’re a romantic at heart, your protagonist may be a handsome prince who just happened to be riding by and catches her in his arms as she falls (swoon).
According to the occupation you choose for your characters, they’ll need the ability to carry out their work. Writing in their abilities somewhere helps to keep the characters believable. For instance, a young scholar may not have the physical strength to wield a five-foot sword, or the understanding of human anatomy to know where to land a fatal blow. Show their skills at work instead of telling the reader about them. I’ve learned that action draws the reader into the scene.
10 Fantasy Occupations and Abilities
WIZARD – Magic, Focus, Research
PIRATE – Sailing, Leading, Navigating, Thieving
KNIGHT – Swordsmanship, Strategizing, Loyalty
GLADIATOR – Physical Strength, Combat Skills, Fearlessness
BLACKSMITH – Forging, Metallurgy, Craftsmanship
RANGER – Travelling, Stealth, Archery
CLERIC – Teaching, Learning, Wordcraft
BARD – Musician, Singing, Entertaining
VAMPIRE HUNTER – Night-Shift Worker, Precision, Analysis
SHEPHERD – Animal Farming, Patience, Protecting
In her book, ‘Worlds Unseen’, Rachel Starr Thomson writes a compelling story about an orphaned girl, a dying council member and a gypsy. Her characters come together from different occupations to battle the unseen forces of evil.
What occupations fit well with the story you’re writing? What will your main protagonist do? Do they enjoy their work? What unexpected twists will drive them to do something extraordinary? Do they long for an awesome adventure? You’re exactly the right person to give them one!
Want more fantasy occupations to choose from?
Til next time, know you are loved by the One who created you in His image.