Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Hot-Wiring a Car

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. 

carsHot-Wiring a Car

DescriptionTo start an engine (of an automobile, for example) without a key, as by short-circuiting the ignition system. Most people associate hot-wiring with car theft, but in the US, it’s a legal activity if the car is yours. This skill can be beneficial even for law-abiding characters who may have lost their keys or find themselves in an emergency situation and needing quick access to a car. It’s something that mechanically-minded characters or those interested in cars might realistically know how to do.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: manual dexterity, knowledge of basic wiring or electronics

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: a calm, unflustered demeanor; ingenuity (thinking outside the box); confidence; boldness

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: car thieves, hoodlum-type teens

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful: When you’ve lost your keys; when you need to steal a car; a post-apocalyptic scenario where cars are abundant but keys are scarce; an emergency situation where a car is vital but keys can’t be found

Resources for Further Information:

How to Hot-Wire a Car

Two Ways to Hot-Wire a Car

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.

Image: Mahal @ Pixabay


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.
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13 Responses to Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Hot-Wiring a Car

  1. Debbie Curtis says:

    This is fabulous, and I am changing a scene. Instead of my heroine observing my hero helping an elderly woman when her grocery bag breaks in the parking lot, she’ll have lost her keys and he will hot wire her car. Not only will the heroine discover that he is not the snob other people say he is, this is more unusual than picking up oranges!


  2. Rosi says:

    You come up with the most interesting talents to help us round out our characters. Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

  3. A necessary skill when zombies are after you!! Lol. Or, well, an emergency of any sort like that. Great post!!

  4. Piper Bayard says:

    I would add spook to this list of folks who might need to hot wire a car. I notice you don’t detail the mechanics of it. 🙂

    I can’t tell you how much I love your collections. You make me a better writer. Thank you.

  5. jeffo says:

    If I check out those links, am I going to get on some police watch list? (Just kidding).

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