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: 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:
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.
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