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: creation through the carving or molding of a medium. Traditionally, sculptors worked with common materials such as clay, stone, metals, or plaster. But modern sculpting can include a variety of exciting media: wax, ceramics…
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: manual dexterity, strong finger and hand strength, a discerning eye
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: creativity, passion, resiliency, being thick-skinned, discipline
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: tortured artists; socially awkward hermits; male figures
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful: a situation in which someone of importance is looking to commission a sculpture; when someone needs an emotional outlet, stress relief, or form of escape…
Difficult Scenarios for Someone with this Skill: living in a society where the arts are under appreciated or banned; suffering from arthritis or another debilitating disorder of the joints; being surrounded by people who see artistic pursuits as a waste of time…
Resources for Further Information: Basic Sculpting Techniques
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!
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.
Hi, I love your Thesauruses.
Here’s a little bit about sculptors. Most don’t do it for a living.
I was very good at sculpting in college, however, I didn’t carry it because… What do you do with the items you make? Where do you store them? They take up a lot of room. You can’t sell them all unless you’re The Hot Artist of The Year, and that can take years of hard work/hard sell. I went on to do well with watercolor, easier to store the unsold items.
Another side of sculpting: I worked as a dental lab technician for 12 years. Lab techs make the crowns (caps) and bridges the dentist orders for a patient. I was very good at sculpting porcelain teeth due to my talent in sculpting. I have good spacial discernment. I made a good steady income with benefits.
It’s a pet peeve of mine is that people interchange the words sculpture, statue and figurine. They are all sculpted, but I think of a statue as large – like Napoleon on a horse twice life size. I think of a figurine as something small to collect or decorate you home. Everything in between is a sculpture. That’s just my 2 cents. 🙂
BECCA PUGLISI says
Christy, this is great information to have. Anyone interested in sculpting could definitely use this info :).
Gina Scott Roberts says
Wow, I’ve always wondered how to discern between those terms. I felt there was a differenct–sort of like between a ship and a boat–but could never find a definitive separation between them. Thank you!
Another interesting addition to our writer’s arsenal, thanks to you.
Rosalind Minett says
In my forthcoming novel, The Parody, I have a weird character who sculpts. I was interested in your choice of sculptors possible personality traits. Thick-skinned? I am not sure how you came to this idea? It may be useful to note that, when cast in plaster, any carving of the figure (often detail demands it) is a risk to health. Plaster dust is carginogenic.
BECCA PUGLISI says
By thick-skinned, I mean that they have to be able to take criticism :). I think that a successful sculptor, or anyone in the arts, really, needs to be thick-skinned in order to endure all the criticism that comes with sharing one’s work with the public.
Interesting about the male hermits! I know several female sculptures and they are all gregarious, but maybe they have to be in the modern world.
BECCA PUGLISI says
Well, this is my perception only based on what I’ve seen portrayed in books and movies. The stereotypes may not be true (and they often aren;t). The reason we chose to list these tropes is to remind writers how these types are typically portrayed, so we can break out of the stereotype and come up with characters who are unique and original :).
Yes! Thank you! My MC is a retired sculptor, and I needed the extra information on it.
BECCA PUGLISI says