The Urban Fantasy Protagonist

Guest blog post for WattPad: "the world's most popular eBook community." 

The Urban Fantasy genre kicks ass. Imaginary cities, flawed heroines and mythical creatures merged with modern, historical or futuristic societies. Team that with distinctive writing style, original storylines supported by straightforward plots, and you have a bubbling cesspool of literary madness from which genre masterpieces are summoned forth by the authors.

The romantic elements are intense, entangled. You’re exposed to that ‘all or nothing’ kind of love that has your fingers sporting paper cuts the next day since you flipped the page so fast, or arm cramps if you have an eReader. And oh the conflict. Every page there’s an issue to work out, or puzzle to solve. There’s no dead space. Everything you read is intrinsically linked to something coming around the corner.

If you were to have a peek on my bookcase at home you would laugh at the how biased my tastes are. I have a few thrillers, a sprinkling of chick lit, a smattering of high fantasy then boom. Urban fantasy novels are flaunting themselves all over the place. The same thing goes for my virtual shelves.

There’s much to consider when talking about the genre, but I’m going to focus on the characters, specifically, the lead protagonist.

In Urban Fantasy this character will have more layers than angel food cake, and is often plagued with such neuroses you thank the powers that be you’re actually rather well adjusted. Like you and me the character is not perfect. They’re grumpy, stubborn and bloody selfish, but at the same time does, or says things that cut so close to home you can't help but love them for it. You shake your head at their mistakes, but understand why and how they made them. You relate to this shady character on a level you never could to one of altruistic splendor, simply because they’re the shadows of who you might be playing out on a page.

My novel, The Demon Girl, follows a fairy-girl called Rae Wilder running helter-skelter around the broken and busted up city that used to be London. She ends up bonded to a maddeningly clingy fairy who wants nothing more than for her to be treated like a princess. But what she wants is to get up close and personal with a vampire. A want she can't undertand as she thinks he's ugly and fundementally a bad person. The main focus of the book may seem to be this twisted love affair, but what actually draws people in is Rae’s self-discovery, and her journey toward accepting who and what she is. As the story unravels it becomes clear to Rae, it's not what anybody else wants to do, but what she wants that counts the most. Even when her needs and actions cause pain to others. It seems selfish, but how many decisions do you make in a day to benefit yourself? I’m guessing the vast majority, so why would that be any different for a fictional character?

Most Urban Fantasy protagonists are strung out, down trodden, deadbeats bordering on sociopathic. But, they manage to have a certain spark that sucks you in, and has you praying they’ll pull themselves together. Books in this genre for the young adult readership tend to lean on the safe side when it comes to the protagonist suffering under the issues we face in the world. Namely drugs, sex, alcohol, psychological and physiological damage, sexuality and abuse. Adult Urban Fantasy is raw in its exposure of these topics. It would be grand to see edgier stories coming forward and pushing the boundaries of young adult urban novels.

Authors who write adult Urban Fantasy let loose all preconceptions of what a protagonist should be, and give it to you straight up. It makes the paranormal that bit more exciting, because the characters are plausible. The imminent danger of the messed up situations they get themselves into allows the reader to feel more. A technique called “stream of consciousness” (often mistaken for bad grammar) is something I use heavily in my own writing (fast leaps in syntax that follows actual human thought, which in reality is fast and fragmented), and a lot of the Urban Fantasies I prefer feature this technique heavily, as it helps me to crawl into the mind of the lead character and enjoy the story more.

With these stronger, more down-to-earth characters we’ll see less formulaic stories (you know the ones I’m talking about, those stories you know the ending, and each major event by page ten), as the characters will take on a life of their own and force the writer to do new, exciting things with their narrative.

In my totally biased opinion, the best fantasies are the ones with protagonists grounded in reality that has been twisted into something new. These are the fantasies that draw you in and stay with you once the last page has turned.

My handle on WattPad is Miss_Fletcher.


  1. Anonymous24.11.10

    This book is absolutely fantastic!
    Became engrossed in the book and couldn't put it down!
    Loved it, one of the best books I have ever read! Hopefully it is made into a movie :)
    Really appealed to my inner hippie ;)
    It really appealed to me!

  2. Thank you so much, Anonymous person, lol.

    I hope you get in touch on Facebook or Goodreads, or one of the many other places I frequent, so I know who you are.

    Hopefully you will enjoy the sequel as much. :)

  3. Anonymous26.11.10

    Great read, can't wait for the next one. However, and I hope you dont take offense, but I noticed where you were trying to say now it was written know. Just a pointer for the next one, perhaps do a third read over for those last few edits. Looking forward to demon day!! Was still a fantastic read!!! :) thanks for a great book.

  4. Hello,

    Thanks for taking the time to comment. The errors are being taken care of for the Print Edition, and the Digital Edition will be re-released in the new year.

    A Demon Day will be released Summer, and you can learn more about it at

    Hope to hear from you again.


  5. Just finished your book last night. I looked forward to bedtime when I would read for half an hour before I closed my eyes.

    I will give you the good, the bad, and the personal.

    Good: Kept my attention, and you painted vivid pictures in my mind. Though you used unoriginal creatures (fairies, vampires) you did so in a unique way which I found interesting.

    Bad: Copyediting blah blah blah. I'm not going to be too picky on this except that I have always found it somewhat distracting.

    Personal: (Just what it says, this is only opinion)
    Not my favorite style of writing, but keeping that in mind, the fact that you kept my attention the whole time and made me come back for more is a testament to your other qualities.

    I'll be waiting patiently for the sequel, but not to patiently :)

  6. Hi Matt,

    Thanks for feeding back. Are you saying you were happy to sleep after you had read my book? Lol.

    I'm glad you enjoyed the books good bits, and pointed out its faults to me. The copy-editing issue is being fixed for the print edition and revised digital edition, and such errors won't happen in my future works.

    I'm happy I was able to keep you entertained for a while, and I hope the sequel meets your expectations.

    Hope to hear from you again.


  7. Lol, I'm always happy to sleep, don't take that personally. I did find myself going to bed a little early some nights to have more time to read. :) I know the copy edit issue has been beaten to death so I didn't spend much time on it. I have a friend who is an aspiring author and he has me proofread it for errors so I guess I'm used to it. Keep Writing!

  8. Siobhan4.12.10

    Thank you for writing a very good book, it engrossed me from day 1. I think your writing style is very imaginative and leaves doors open for spinoffs in other directions. If that's where you'll head, I can not wait until the next book comes out! Thank you and keep writing!

  9. AknoraD4.12.10

    I taught myself to read when I first understood the concept, about 3 or 4. I read voraciously, and my tastes are catholic. I have a MA in anthropology (I teach at a community college) and read fiction and nonfiction equally, current, historic and classic.

    I also write. Nonfiction prose academically, poetry, and prose. I have had poetry published in obscure magazines. My poetry is good, but it is not brilliant and I have stopped submissions. If I can't use poetry to take away the world it becomes as different sort of masturbation, if you know what I mean. My fiction suffers from my allowing the distractions of my life to prevent the dedication of creative writing every day.

    I constantly seek new authors. I delight at finding someone accomplished enough to create a reality that I can fall into, make friends with both the world and its people (I use the word in its anthropological sense.) I discovered Urban Fantasy with Hamilton's Anita Blake, and Anne Bishop's Jaenelle (although Anne is not really Urban Fantast, but Dark Fantasy. I was an instant addict. I found that some authors' others loved, I could not stand, but I have read and reread Jim Butcher, Patricia Briggs, Kelly Armstrong, Kim Harrison, Rob Thurman, Caitlin Kiernan (Dark Fantasy, but she belongs here), Lilith Saintcrow, Karen Chance and T. A Pratt to name the some of my favorites that are the most prolific. You know as well as I that I could go on for days. The best of them find ways to always bring magic to each story and avoid the trap of rewriting the same book with a new plot which only works for a few books, and the reader flags, and the writer fails.

    There are some exciting new authors joining their ranks. In my arrogant, but well-read, opinion Demon Girl places you among them. I await your stories with the customary impatience of a reader, and the understanding of the process of a writer. I downloaded Demon Girl free from B&N. Is there anyplace I can purchase you other eBooks? Authors have to eat too.

    Write on! Have the courage, humility, dedication, and need to create the process takes. I was once told by a writer who's opinion I respect, that a poem/story/book was never finished, simply abandoned to its own life. Know that there are critical, delighted, readers waiting for you to provide us new friends to live with, new places to explore, and distraction from our busy lives.

    Nora L. Denton B.S., M.A., M.o.M. (Mother of Many)
    Fairbanks, Alaska

  10. Many thanks Siobahn and AknoraD! These comments spur me on :)