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.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: physical strength, coordination, stamina, balance, quick reflexes
Description: a sport in which two people try to throw, pin, or force each other to the ground. Wrestling represents one of the oldest forms of com bat, dating back to the ancient…
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: competitiveness, teachability, passion, discipline, focus…
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:
- The Pro-Wrestling stereotype of people in flamboyant suits hitting each other with chairs and clotheslining each other has very little in common with the classic sport of wrestling
- Wrestlers defined as stocky and solid
- Wrestlers starving themselves or purging to make weight
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- If one has been abducted and is being physically subdued, being able to throw a larger opponent or get out of a hold can allow one to escape
- In a street fight, knowing how to gain a superior position can greatly increase one’s chances of winning or surviving
- For someone who is small or young, wrestling can give them an advantage over larger opponents…
Talents and skills not only make a person stand out, they help them achieve story goals.
Strategically choosing the right one will enhance your character and the story, so visit the Talent & Skill Thesaurus at One Stop for Writers to find out all the ways this special quality can be used in fiction.
While you’re there, check out the massive THESAURUS database, because we cover many more topics like character emotions, motivations, personality traits, and backstory wounds. We also have many tools that help with all aspects of planning, writing, and revising.
Writing can be so much easier. Sign up for a free trial.
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.