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
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:
- Foraging with “Wild Man” Steve Brill
- A Brief History of Foraging Societies
- Helpful Books on Foraging
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.