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: manipulating objects with one’s hands using dexterity in conjunction with misdirection techniques. A person with this skill may hide, switch, steal or even alter an object as part of a magic act or deception. Usually sleight-of-hand is done up close and appears to be an ordinary bodily shift, movement or gesture, making it unremarkable and easily dismissible. A practitioner may also charm through speech, utilize humor or deploy a flourish to draw attention away from the actual manipulation. Sleight-of-hand requires extensive practice and study. It has been used throughout history not only to entertain, but to also deflect unwanted attention, hide objects and cover up illicit activities.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: dexterity (both physical and spacial), being in command of one’s emotions, remaining calm under scrutiny, being personable and articulate, having a strong sense of timing, being tenacious, having heightened responses, showmanship (if one is an entertainer), speed
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: charming, clever, discreet, patience, focus, calm, determination, perfectionism, manipulative, creative, witty, observant, decisive
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- Thieving (pickpocketing, avoiding detection during a burglary, etc.)
- Spying or reconnaissance (planting bugs, hiding monitoring or recording devices on one’s person, etc.)
- Entertaining (both as a social activity or means for income, such as a magician)
- Misdirection (to hide one’s involvement and avoid trouble)
- Deception for personal gain (cheating at cards and games of chance, etc.)
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.