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 detect even trace amounts of odors and identify them.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: Good sinus health, a strong memory, past exposure to many different scents
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: curiosity, focus, observant, aware, tolerant, adventurous, nosy, perfectionistic
Required Resources and Training: There are two parts to having a strong sense of smell: being able to detect scents, and being able to identify them. When it comes to being able to smell different odors, people are usually born strong or weak in this area. Someone wishing to strengthen their sniffer could do so through focused practice, but only to a certain degree. If a person is able to detect many smells, identifying them becomes a matter of exposing oneself to a variety of odors and remembering them so they can be recalled when a scent arises.
Associated Stereotypes: People who can smell things really well are often the ones with the largest noses. And they’re audibly sniffing; everywhere they go, other people can hear them constantly scenting the air.
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- When a toxic element is in the environment
- When someone is about to be poisoned
- When an item or person has gone missing and must be tracked
- At a crime scene
- When a catastrophe or apocalypse is coming and the event is preceded by changes that can be detected with the sense of smell
- When someone needs to solve a mystery
- When a chef needs to identify the ingredients in a dish
- When identifying edible plants in the wild
- When it’s necessary to identify people by their perfume, shampoo, or other smells
Resources for Further Information:
Related Talents and Skills: Enhanced Taste Buds
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.