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: People who have a way with animals are able to easily win animals over. They know how to approach, communicate with, and win the trust of animals that normally would…
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: having an affinity for nature, being comfortable being by oneself (since animals aren’t likely …
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: compassionate, observant, unselfish, perceptive…
Required Resources and Training: Spending time with and studying certain animals can lead to a better understanding of how they function individually, their group dynamics, and their overall tendencies. Studying their biology and physiology can give…
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: Princesses and fantasy heroines most often have this skill, without any explanation ever being offered as to why. To break the stereotype, consider giving this skill to a male character, or…
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- when a favored animal (the king’s stallion, the witch-woman’s familiar, a child’s pet) is sick, injured, or under-achieving
- a rural setting where animals are plenty and people are scarce
- a scenario where animals are needed to resolve the main conflict…
Resources for Further Information:
7 Amazing Wild Animal Whisperers
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.
Sofyana Bellaa says
how to approach, communicate with, and win the trust of animals that normally would???
Sharon K Mayhew says
Great post! As usual your advice is fantastic.
:Donna Marie says
Another great entry, Becca 🙂 Thank you! And LOVE the picture of The Beast. One of my Disney faves 😀
Francesca Moore says
I really enjoyed this post. By the end of it I’d got my notebook out and was jotting down notes for the third book of a series I’m writing at the moment. Glad to say I had subconsciously done a lot of what you were suggesting, will definitely keep all of this in mind when introducing new characters.
BECCA PUGLISI says
So glad you found it helpful, Francesca! Best of luck with your series 🙂
Julie Musil says
Our family loves animals. Right now we have two dogs, one momma cat and five kittens, and a leopard gecko. My sister is NOT an animal lover…guess who all the animals go to when she’s over? Yep, my sister. It’s hilarious.
I’ve written animal lovers into my stories without even realizing it. And yes, they were compassionate and patient. Thanks, ladies!
Traci Kenworth says
I’m using this right now with my heroine. She’s not a princess though. “)
I wonder why it is that princesses are always so good with animals. It must be some magical combination of royal blood and femininity! Great list, as usual.
BECCA PUGLISI says
Great question. My best guess is that this skill appeals specifically to young girls, a demographic the Disney folk are always trying to reach. 🙂