Talent and Skills Entry: Knife Throwing

As writers, we want to make our characters as unique and interesting as possible. One way to do this is to give your character a special skill or talent that sets him apart from other people. This might be something small, like having a green thumb or being good with animals, to a larger and more competitive talent like stock car racing or being an award-winning film producer. 

When choosing a talent or skill, think about the personality of your character, his range of experiences and who his role models might have been. Some talents might be genetically imparted while others are created through exposure (such as a character talented at fixing watches from growing up in his father’s watch shop) or grow out of interest (archery, wakeboarding, or magic). Don’t be afraid to be creative and make sure the skill or talent is something that works with the scope of the story. 

Description: Knife throwing is as described–forcefully sending a sharpened metal projectile into a target. Knife throwing is done for sport, entertainment and may even be used in hunting, although this requires considerable skill and accuracy. The size of the target, distance, angle of the throw and whether the target is stationary or moving are all factors in how difficult it is to connect. The size, condition, weight and balance of a knife are important, as is the technique used. People use different grips, but the throw will depend on weight placement–a handle heavy knife would be thrown by gripping the blade during the throw, and a blade-heavy knife the opposite. Balanced knives take greater skill to wield. Related skills: axe throwing, star or dart throwing

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: strong eyesight, upper body strength, dexterity, intuition

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: focus, determination, self-controlled, decisive, alertness, calm, disciplined, patience

Required Resources and Training:
A skill like knife throwing requires dedication and practice. A person can be self taught, but will learn quicker if mentored by someone with strong blade skills, able to analyze the thrower’s stance, grip, angle of throw and who can assess the thrower’s mental state for distractions that will affect performance.

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:

  • Circus performers and magicians
  • Thieves and assassins
  • Medieval society hunters
  • In fiction and film, men are most often given this skill, not women

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • Hunting when guns are not available or not ideal (too loud or expensive)
  • Protecting oneself from harm
  • Winning money or fame in contests and competitions for knife throwing
  • Being able to kill from a distance unseen
  • As a method to intimidate (throwing close enough to scare but not hurt)

Resources for Further Information:

A basic manual on knife-throwing

How to hold and throw knives

How to throw a knife like Bill the Butcher

 

You can brainstorm other possible Skills and Talents your characters might have by checking out our FULL LIST of this Thesaurus Collection. And for more descriptive help for Setting, Symbolism, Character Traits, Physical Attributes, Emotions, Weather and more, check out our Thesaurus Collections page.

About ANGELA ACKERMAN

Angela is an international speaker and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also enjoys dreaming up new tools and resources for One Stop For Writers, a library built to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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9 Responses to Talent and Skills Entry: Knife Throwing

  1. As for knife throwing, knife experts will tell you it’s not very feasible to kill someone by throwing a knife. These are also the kinds of things writers need to know.

  2. Marcia says:

    I must be daft. Do you guys have the talents & skills collected in one place?

    I love this entry. Knife throwing IMHO is a niche skill. It’s only to be *right* for a small number of characters, but for them, it’s perfect. So we owe it to those characters to do it properly and this entry will sure help.

  3. So cool that JM’s actually using this skill in his story. One of the reasons I’m excited about this thesaurus is because we tend to see the same skills/hobbies being used over and over. This is why I like the more obscure skills. I’m hoping that posting about them may spark an idea or inspire someone to branch out and try something new for their characters :).

  4. Angela says:

    Thanks so much, guys! We appreciate it. So glad this entry is helpful. Love that you gave this skill to your heroine, J.M.!

    Angela

  5. Rosi says:

    I sure enjoy reading these talent-and-skill entries. Thanks for posting this one. What a fun idea for a skill for a character. I’m going over to Top 10 blogs to vote now.

  6. J.M. Bray says:

    Thanks for this! I am a huge fan of The Emotion Thesaurus. When I was looking for a talent to give a heroine in Tearing the Shroud, knife throwing fit her for those exact character traits! It’s good to know my instincts were on track.

    Cheers!
    JM

  7. M E McMahon says:

    Love the knife throwing skills. A great weapon that can be used for male or female characters. Again, thanks for a well researched and informative piece.

    Oh, and heads up, I did nominate you! Good luck!

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