Talents and Skills Entry: Archery

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. 

archeryDescription: the ability to hit a target at long range using a bow and arrow. Some archers work solely with stationary targets, while others practice on both stationary and moving objects. Archers may hone their skills for sport and enter competitions, hunt game to provide for themselves, their family or tribe or even as a form of self defense in dire circumstances. In some cultures as well as in fiction, archery is a prized skill in battle.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: concentration, strength, strong eyesight, flexibility, being a skilled tracker, having knowledge of animal anatomy (if hunting for food) or human anatomy & armor stability (in battle)

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: focus, perfectionism, self-controlled, studious, disciplined, patience, resourceful, observant, tenacious

Required Resources and Training: contemporary archers can practice at indoor ranges or outdoor (either stationary and 3D) ranges, as well as one’s own property with either a natural barrier (such as hillside) or man-made barrier (foam blocks, special nets  or hay bales) to catch any stray arrows. Understanding how to stand, aim, brace one’s arm and grip just firm enough to have a stead shot yet avoid torcing the bow are common lessons, but to become truly skilled, an archer must put hundreds of hours into study and practice. A mentor or teacher will speed up the learning curve. Archers should know their equipment and how to maintain it, and utilize arm guards and chest guards to ensure clothing does not get in the way and protect the body from injury.

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:

  • That archers are loners who prefer nature to people
  • That archers are reckless (shooting close enough to scare someone, but not wound used as a plot device to show incredible skill and/or a bad temper)

Resources for Further Information:

Basic Archery Techniques

Archery For Writers: A Primer

Arrow Wounds & Treatment on the Western Frontier

A Writer’s Guide to Bows (part 1, 2, 3 & 4)

Also, YA Author Christina Farley has a kick butt heroine who is a archery master, so if you like, snag a copy of Gilded to see how this skill plays out in fiction!

GildedSixteen-year-old Jae Hwa Lee is a Korean-American girl with a black belt, a deadly proclivity with steel-tipped arrows, and a chip on her shoulder the size of Korea itself.

When her widowed dad uproots her to Seoul from her home in L.A., Jae thinks her biggest challenges will be fitting in to a new school and dealing with her dismissive Korean grandfather. Then she discovers that a Korean demi-god has been stealing the soul of the oldest daughter of each generation in her family for centuries. And she’s next.

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.

photo credit: eyedea via photopin cc


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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13 Responses to Talents and Skills Entry: Archery

  1. C. Lee McKenzie says:

    I love this part of creating a character. It takes me a while to come up with that special talent, but when I do, it’s integral to the story and focuses me on how the plot will go. Thanks again for the information you share.

  2. Paige says:

    This gives me some ideas for a couple of my stories that are kind of flat. Thank you.

  3. I did archery all through high school, and I recently got back into it. Love this topic! 🙂

  4. This is the skill of my Akara people. Thanks for the links!!

  5. Julie Musil says:

    Great post about archery! My hubby and sons set up a hay bale in our valley and used to shoot arrows all the time. Thanks for the reminder to give our characters unique skills. I’m going to check out your list.

  6. Thanks for the Talent and Skilled post on Archery!
    I’ve recently decided that one of my female characters will be skilled in this area. I appreciate it!

    • Hi.Thank you for this insightful and inspiring post. I have enjoyed it very much.I have built a Mission for Non-Violence with the theme of archery. Using my song, ” Arrow In the Wind”,I created videos and web galleries with the theme of “Let Love Be Your Target.” Stop the Violence.Choosing to look at a spiritual parallel of archery and the perfect Target for humanity being Love has been quite a journey and still going! Self control and Patience are some of the spiritual character traits required for non-violence that reach deep into the roots of the perfect Target for humanity to
      stop the violence.The spiritual archer must also put hundreds of hours into practice and study of virtue’s that will strengthen their spirit to be able to become efficient peacemakers in this world.The skilled Spiritual Archer must also learn how to stand on the various grounds of working for non-violence and becoming more and more peaceful themselves.Learning from others who have achieved peace also will help to “speed the learning curve” of the practice of Peace.The parallels of archery to the spiritual life are quite significant.Those who strive to attain peace must not be reckless because the arrow is meant to target Love. So, a reckless
      archer can cause grave harm if the arrow is used for harm and without careful consideration.Choosing Archery as a theme for non-violence has taught me to search and practice even more.But,Your insights into all of this have been excellent.I appreciate what you have done here! It has opened my mind as well. Many wishes for great success as a writer! Peace be with you!

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