Character Talents & Skills: Telling Lies

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. 

liar liar movie

Description: being able to convince others that one is trustworthy and knowledgeable even when one does not have facts, evidence or intimate details of the situation is a well-honed skill. Like having a silver tongue, being able to articulate…

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: having control over one’s emotions, being very aware of body language and what it conveys, always thinking before acting, having an innocent or trustworthy expression, being able to mask…

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: Manipulative, Observant, Evasive, Charming, Controlled, Confident, Rational, Courteous…

Required Resources and Training: To become an adept liar, a person must learn how to exude confidence, keep a calm demeanor, and speak in a way that appeals to the target’s emotional sensitivities. Observing others to understand body language and how to read their emotions is necessary as most communication is non-verbal. Through watchfulness and asking careful questions, a liar…

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:

  • That all politicians are liars
  • Criminals will lie to anyone about anything
  • Telling a white lie to save someone from hurt is acceptable…

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • Talking one’s way out of a tight spot (feigning ignorance or lying to diffuse a volatile situation)
  • To win a much-needed reprieve (being able to hand in an assignment late)
  • To gain an advantage (to have more time to prepare, to study, or to gather facts)…
Resources for Further Information:

Resources for Further Information:

Spotlight on Subtext: When Characters Are Liars

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!



Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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6 years ago

[…] Character Talents & Skills: Telling Lies | WRITERS HELPING WRITERSWRITERS HELPING WRITERS […]

Cynsational Information & Summer time Hiatus | TiaMart Blog
6 years ago

[…] Character Talents & Skills: Telling Lies by Angela Ackerman from Writers Serving to Writers. Peek: “To turn out to be an adept liar, an individual should discover ways to exude confidence, maintain a relaxed demeanor, and converse in a approach that appeals to the goal’s emotional sensitivities.” […]

:Donna Marie
6 years ago

Excellent post—duh, of course! lol

Lying, in my opinion, can be one of the most hurtful, devastating, damaging trait a person can possess, so this is a biggie for me as far as the power it can wield in storytelling. Of course, when it’s done for good reason (like a spy or something), then it’s more like acting. Very powerful!

Traci Kenworth
6 years ago

I can see where this type of character would come in handy.

Rosi Hollinbeck
6 years ago

You come up with the best stuff! Thanks. I will definitely be using this.

Julie Musil
6 years ago

Ooh, this would make such a great character! Totally unreliable narrator because readers wouldn’t know what was truth or fiction. Great summary!

Carol Baldwin
6 years ago

Helpful post, Thanks!

Mark Dark
6 years ago

Good article. Thanks for this.