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: the art of making or fixing wooden objects or wooden parts of buildings. There are many different kinds of carpenters, whose designations depend on what they make: coopers (barrel makers); framers (carpenters specializing in the structural framework of houses and buildings); cabinetmakers (cabinets, dressers, wardrobes, chests); trim carpenters (moldings, trims, mantels, baseboards, etc.)…
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: good manual dexterity and balance, stamina, good near vision, an aptitude for math and problem solving…
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: patience, caution, creativity, discipline, focus, meticulousness, resourcefulness…
Required Training: Most would-be carpenters enter into an apprenticeship, where they work under a master for a specified period of time in order to learn the ropes before stepping out on their own. During this time, they learn by instruction, observation, and hands-on practice, as well as taking…
Scenarios Where This Skill Might be Useful:
- Living in an area where wood is abundant and other building materials are scarce
- Being able to construct or mend things is always a useful skill, particularly when one is surrounded by people who couldn’t identify a hammer from a chisel.
- In a situation where certain items are needed quickly (shelter, weapons, tools, etc), wood is much quicker to finish than stone or metal, making a carpenter a commodity.
Resources for Further Information: Carpentry Pro Framer
Talents and skills not only make our characters stand out, they often help them attain their goals. So choosing them strategically can greatly enhance both the character and the story.
If this is something you’d like to learn more about, you can find the entries in their entirety at One Stop For Writers, where all our thesauruses are cross-referenced and linked for easy navigation. If you’re interested in seeing a free sampling of the Talent and Skill Thesaurus and our other descriptive collections, head on over and register at One Stop!
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Alice R. (Rosi) Hollinbeck says
I always look forward to reading these. I often think of a character in my work that could use a little hobby or craft like this. Thanks.