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: A discipline of getting from one place to another, regardless of obstacles, as efficiently as possible, using body movement. A practitioner of parkour uses one’s own body weight and momentum to scale walls or buildings, vault over obstacles and generally get from one place to another in unconventional and creative ways.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: strong hand-eye coordination and depth perception, a mind for physics, a strong body core, good stamina, cardio and flexibility, having some background in tumbling or gymnastics
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: fearless, decisive, careful, determined, radical, sharp-eyed, sensible, imaginative, disciplined
Required Resources and Training: agility and strength training
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions (and misconceptions!):
- that only “street punks” do parkour, and it’s usually to escape the police
- that parkour is dangerous
- people who do parkour are reckless
- parkour is a skill for young people, not old ones
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- when creative, out-of-the-box thinking is required to get from a to b (in an emergency when roads might be blocked off, elevators not working, etc.)
- when one must reach a seemingly unattainable place in a life or death situation to reach safety (escaping a burning building, climbing out of a ravine or crevasse, crossing a field of debris, etc.)
- as a way to prove one’s worth & ability in a “brawn over brains” environment
- as a way to prove one is intrepid, not weak or fearful
- in military maneuvers
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.