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 hear sounds that others cannot, or discern a slight shift in pitch that others cannot
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: unless this was a result of a medical enhancement (an implant, for example), this talent would have a highly genetic component. However, being in control of one’s emotions would allow one to clear the mind, set aside distractions and focus. Strong eyesight would help with lipreading in situations where a voice is distorted or barely audible
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: calm, focused, determined, centered, curious, objective, protective, studious
Required Resources and Training: gaining exposure to many different sounds, practice with background noise and learning how to filter and differentiate, practicing meditative techniques to push aside distractions and focus on the task at hand
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- Eavesdropping to learn sensitive information, uncover terrorist plans, gain financial information for insider trading, or collect blackmail information
- To determine where one is being taken if one is blindfolded or taken somewhere against one’s will
- To determine the slightest sound that might indicate danger (someone attempting to break and enter one’s home, someone hiding just out of sight, the click of a safety on a gun, etc.)
- To hear the barely audible click of a tumble in a lock when trying to break into a safe
- As a conductor of a symphony orchestra
- As a mechanic trying to unravel a problem based on a shift in the sound of a performing engine or other mechanical component
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.