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 run quickly
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: endurance, being physically fit
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: disciplined, driven, competitive, determined
Required Resources and Training: Undoubtedly, there’s a genetic component to speed (including body mass index, bone structure, and muscle fiber physiology), making some people simply born to run fast. But a training regimen can help the swift of foot by 1)making a fast person faster, and 2)enabling a fast person to stay fast for longer periods of time (adding endurance). As always, one must practice the skill in question in order to improve. Pushing oneself to do more and go farther is also beneficial in maintaining and building upon one’s innate abilities.
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: Associated stereotypes include athletes (especially sprinters and distance runners), extremely thin people, superheroes, and men and women of African heritage. Common perceptions of fast people is that they may abuse their bodies in order to maintain their speed, through eating disorders or the use of steroids.
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- in a race
- when a message needs to be taken on foot
- in an emergency situation when supplies need to be delivered on foot
- to escape a murderous pursuer or wild animal
- in many children’s games (duck-duck-goose, tag, etc.)
- when the car has broken down and one must get to an important meeting
- to avert danger before it happens (by breaking up an impending fight across the room or rescuing a child from an approaching kidnapper)
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.