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 act, activity, or process of finding the way from one place to another; this entry will focus on the ability to find one’s way without technological support
When in unfamiliar territory, such as the high sea or the middle of a desert, you can find your way if you know the position of the stars; by locating certain stars or constellations, you can determine which direction you’re headed and adjust your course if necessary. The …
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: Good eye sight, stamina, a reliable memory
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: meticulous, patient, observant, level-headed, persistent
Required Resources and Training: Whatever method a character uses to find his way (stars, currents, winds, etc.), he needs to be trained in that method so he can see and correctly read the signs.
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- traveling in a time prior to technological advances
- post-apocalyptic scenarios where maps and GPS aren’t available
- finding one’s way through the woods, desert, or other large-scale settings where people and settlements are scarce…
Resources for Further Information:
Celestial Navigation in the Classroom
Using the Sun to Find True North
Finding Your Way in the Wilderness
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!Image: schaeffler @ Pixabay
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.
Patricia J. O'Brien says
This is a wonderful post, filled with a good reminder and useful links. It has already sparked an idea for me. 🙂
BECCA PUGLISI says
Yay! Success 🙂
I’m working with wilderness characters and this is something I can use: having them navigate by stars. Thanks!!
BECCA PUGLISI says
My stories are all set in pre-technological or other-worldly settings, so being able to find one’s way has always been a necessity for my characters and an interesting study point for me. Not that I can find my way anywhere without my GPS…
Another wonderful idea for expanding our characters. Thanks so much for posting this.
BECCA PUGLISI says
It’s my pleasure, Rosi!