Talents and Skills Thesaurus Entry: Hot-Wiring a Car

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. 

carsHot-Wiring a Car

Description: To start an engine (of an automobile, for example) without a key, as by short-circuiting the ignition system. Most people associate hot-wiring with car theft, but in the US, it’s a legal activity if…

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: manual dexterity, knowledge of basic wiring or electronics

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: a calm, unflustered demeanor; ingenuity (thinking outside the box); confidence; boldness

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: car thieves, hoodlum-type teens

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful: When you’ve lost your keys; when you need to steal a car; a post-apocalyptic scenario where…

Resources for Further Information:

How to Hot-Wire a Car

Two Ways to Hot-Wire a Car

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: Mahal @ 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. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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Debbie Curtis
Debbie Curtis
6 years ago

This is fabulous, and I am changing a scene. Instead of my heroine observing my hero helping an elderly woman when her grocery bag breaks in the parking lot, she’ll have lost her keys and he will hot wire her car. Not only will the heroine discover that he is not the snob other people say he is, this is more unusual than picking up oranges!


6 years ago

You come up with the most interesting talents to help us round out our characters. Thanks for another thought-provoking post.

6 years ago
Reply to  Rosi

So glad this collection is helping you Rosi! 🙂

6 years ago

A necessary skill when zombies are after you!! Lol. Or, well, an emergency of any sort like that. Great post!!

6 years ago
Reply to  tracikenworth

Haha, no kidding, Traci!

Piper Bayard
6 years ago

I would add spook to this list of folks who might need to hot wire a car. I notice you don’t detail the mechanics of it. 🙂

I can’t tell you how much I love your collections. You make me a better writer. Thank you.

6 years ago
Reply to  Piper Bayard

That’s a good add, Piper! And lol, if Becca did detail how it’s done, I would start to worry…

6 years ago

If I check out those links, am I going to get on some police watch list? (Just kidding).

6 years ago
Reply to  jeffo

I am glad I am not the only person who worries about this! The things we search up as writers…