Definition: a marked innate ability
Characters in Literature: Peeta and Katniss, The Hunger Games (art/cake decorating and archery); Sam, The Lord of the Rings (gardening)
Common Portrayals: artists, musicians, athletes, fashion designers, chefs, dancers, authors, actors
Clichés to Avoid: the high school trifecta (talented, good-looking, and smart); the spoiled, entitled Talent; tortured artists; the Talent who is so into his gift, he’s completely out of touch with reality
Twists on the Traditional Talented Character:
▪ Talent, by definition, is at least somewhat inborn. The grain of talent is there, but it is nurtured into fruition by hard work and dedication. How about the talent who really doesn’t have to work at it? This could provide some interesting conflict between him and his peers.
▪ Instead of talent being inborn, place your character in a society where talent can be chosen. See where that takes you.
▪ Talents are often strategically chosen to help a character achieve his goal. But what if a character’s talent is what makes success impossible?
Build a worthy protagonist with a mix of unique strengths that will help him overcome obstacles and achieve meaningful goals.
This sample, along with the rest of the character trait entries, has been expanded into book form. Together, the bestselling NEGATIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER FLAWS and POSITIVE TRAIT THESAURUS: A WRITER’S GUIDE TO CHARACTER ATTRIBUTES contain over 200 traits for you to choose from when creating memorable, compelling characters. Each entry contains possible causes for the trait, as well as positive and negative aspects, traits in supporting characters that may cause conflict, and associated behaviors, attitudes, thoughts, and emotions. For more information on this bestselling book and where it can be found, please visit our bookstore.
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