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: Knife throwing is as described–forcefully sending a sharpened metal projectile into a target. Knife throwing is done for sport, entertainment and may even be used in hunting, although this requires considerable skill and accuracy. The size of the target, distance, angle of the throw and whether the target is stationary or moving are all …
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: strong eyesight, upper body strength, dexterity, intuition
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: focus, determination, self-controlled, decisive, alertness, calm, disciplined, patience
Required Resources and Training:
A skill like knife throwing requires dedication and practice. A person can be self taught, but will learn quicker if mentored by someone with strong blade skills, able to analyze the thrower’s stance, grip, angle of throw and who can assess the thrower’s mental state for…
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:
- Circus performers and magicians
- Thieves and assassins
- Medieval society hunters…
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- Hunting when guns are not available or not ideal (too loud or expensive)
- Protecting oneself from harm
- Winning money or fame in contests and competitions for knife throwing…
Resources for Further Information:
A basic manual on knife-throwing
How to throw a knife like Bill the Butcher
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!
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Wasatch Rebel says
As for knife throwing, knife experts will tell you it’s not very feasible to kill someone by throwing a knife. These are also the kinds of things writers need to know.
I must be daft. Do you guys have the talents & skills collected in one place?
I love this entry. Knife throwing IMHO is a niche skill. It’s only to be *right* for a small number of characters, but for them, it’s perfect. So we owe it to those characters to do it properly and this entry will sure help.
BECCA PUGLISI says
So cool that JM’s actually using this skill in his story. One of the reasons I’m excited about this thesaurus is because we tend to see the same skills/hobbies being used over and over. This is why I like the more obscure skills. I’m hoping that posting about them may spark an idea or inspire someone to branch out and try something new for their characters :).
Thanks so much, guys! We appreciate it. So glad this entry is helpful. Love that you gave this skill to your heroine, J.M.!
J.M. Bray says
Then she used it to… Oh…wait…umm… Move along, nothing to see here.
Thanks for your WONDERFULLY helpful books!
I sure enjoy reading these talent-and-skill entries. Thanks for posting this one. What a fun idea for a skill for a character. I’m going over to Top 10 blogs to vote now.
J.M. Bray says
Thanks for this! I am a huge fan of The Emotion Thesaurus. When I was looking for a talent to give a heroine in Tearing the Shroud, knife throwing fit her for those exact character traits! It’s good to know my instincts were on track.
M E McMahon says
Love the knife throwing skills. A great weapon that can be used for male or female characters. Again, thanks for a well researched and informative piece.
Oh, and heads up, I did nominate you! Good luck!
BECCA PUGLISI says
Thanks so much for the nomination, ME!