Talents and Skill Thesaurus: Foraging

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: widely searching an area to obtain provisions, namely food items. Foraging is an ancient skill utilized by most early people groups as a way of obtaining food in the wild. Since no single land plot can grow every desirable edible, people foraged abroad—in forests, oceans, rivers, and other locales for what they couldn’t grow themselves. While urban foraging is gaining traction as a hobby for those who want to be more self-sufficient, decrease their ecological footprint, or commune with nature, this skill is still utilized on a practical level by tribal groups and those living in rural areas. Foraged items include wild-growing mushrooms, herbs, berries, seeds, nuts, and plants of all kinds. Related skills: hunting, fishing, dumpster-diving

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: physical stamina, good eyesight (to distinguish edible sources from non-edible)

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: patience, intelligence, caution, respect, diligence, responsibility, intuitiveness, studiousness

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:

  • medicine men and women
  • medieval witches
  • forest-dwelling hermits
  • impoverished peoples
  • indigenous people groups
  • paranoid people living off the grid
  • environmentalists

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • surviving in a post-apocalyptic world where food is scarce
  • surviving a natural or man-made catastrophe
  • living in a rural community that is cut off from others and completely independent
  • living in a culture where self-sufficiency is valued
  • surviving a purposeful or accidental poisoning of one’s commercial food source
  • living in a society where food is strictly regulated and distributed by those in charge

Resources for Further Information:

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.


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Talents and Skill Thesaurus: Foraging

  1. Rosi says:

    I meant Talent and Skill I hadn’t thought of. Long day on the plane yesterday. Little sleep. Sorry.

  2. Rosi says:

    I just came back from the Highlight’s Whole Novel: Historical Fiction workshop and The Emotion Thesaurus was a hot topic as were the Trait Thesauri. Those who hadn’t known about them were really excited. I use my Emotion Thesaurus all the time and hope to order the others soon. I really like this post on Foraging. It’s a trait I hadn’t thought of, but it will fit right in with my WIP. Thanks for posting these.

    • I am thrilled to hear that the ET was mentioned at the Highlights Whole Novel Workshop! And I’m so glad the Emotion thesaurus helps you especially!

      I would love to go to one of their workshops sometime. I have heard so much about them! Thanks for posting 🙂 Have a great rest of your weekend, and some down time, too! 🙂

    • Woot! This is exciting! So glad to hear people were talking about our books :). And I’m happy to know that you’re getting so much use out of your Emotion Thesaurus.

  3. Cathy Brockman says:

    i love your tips and books. I bought the eotion thesraurus in ebook. could you send me the lnks to the paperback versions of all your books and do youhave these in a bundle? sugar_n_spice63830@yahoo.com

    • Hi, Cathy! Thanks for buying a copy of The Emotion Thesaurus. I hope it helps you tons :). As for the print copies, if you click on the Bookstore tab at the top of the page, we have links to our books at the different distributors. Just click on the one you fancy, and it will take you to the right page. Happy writing!

  4. Mart Ramirez says:

    Great reminder, Becca! Thank you. Interesting example too.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *