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: Being able to defend oneself against physical attack involves a variety of methods, such as heightened awareness that enables one to avoid a potential attack, verbal techniques to de-escalate a violent situation, evasive physical tactics, and offensive techniques used to fight off an attacker.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: physical strength, quickness, being in tune with one’s instincts
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: being observant, determination, level-headedness, a teachable attitude, being able to think quickly
Required Resources and Training: While luck or terror may inadvertently enable a person to escape a serious situation, training is definitely an asset for someone who wants to effectively defend him/herself. Self-defense courses often teach a variety of techniques, as do many martial arts classes. Boxing, judo, kickboxing, and hand-to-hand combat classes can also provide adequate training, as well as courses offered by rape prevention advocates.
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: Frail female victims who are transformed into kick-butt women who can take on anyone; women who have been attacked in the past; ex-military types
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- when a child or teen is being bullied
- working or living in a dangerous part of town
- when someone is being stalked or threatened in some way
- when someone needs to protect someone else
- a useful occupational skill for a bodyguard, cop, assassin, spy, 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.