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: A discipline of getting from one place to another, regardless of obstacles, as efficiently as possible, using body movement. A practitioner of parkour uses one’s own body weight and momentum to scale walls or buildings, vault over obstacles and generally…
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: strong hand-eye coordination and depth perception, a mind for physics, a strong body core, good stamina…
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: fearless, decisive, careful, determined, radical, sharp-eyed…
Required Resources and Training: agility and strength training
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions (and misconceptions!):
- that only “street punks” do parkour, and it’s usually to escape the police
- that parkour is dangerous
- people who do parkour are reckless…
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- when creative, out-of-the-box thinking is required to get from a to b (in an emergency when roads might be blocked off, elevators not working, etc.)
- when one must reach a seemingly unattainable place in a life or death situation to reach safety (escaping a burning building, climbing out of a ravine or crevasse, crossing a field of debris, etc.)…
Resources for Further Information:
The world’s best parkour & free running
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.
What are some good tips on writing parkour?
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
I would watch some videos, listen to the sounds, pay attention to the different movements, etc. and weave that into your descriptions. 🙂
Yes, but how would you write that? Perhaps some tis on writing park our would be useful? I’ve been having some trouble doing that
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
I have always been fascinated with Parkour. If I had known about it in my youth, I would have jumped right in! Thanks for the comments everyone! 🙂
Rosi Hollinbeck says
I never would have thought of using this for one of my characters, but it is a great idea. Thanks for the post!
BECCA PUGLISI says
I’ve never heard of parkour, but it sounds very cool. I can see how this could come in handy 🙂
Michelle Gregory says
i first saw parkour used in the movie Prince of Persia. it inspired a character for another book set in my medieval fantasy world. thanks for posting this. now i have more material to work with.
:Donna Marie says
OK, not only is this a skill I never heard of, but a WORD I never heard of! Thank you for the dual education on this one 🙂
Glynis Charlton says
I’m glad it’s not just me, Donna – I’d never heard of it either! So a bit thank you to Angela for enlightening us with such a useful bit of knowledge 🙂
:Donna Marie says
Agreed! With every post on this site, I’m either learning something valuable or being reminded of something valuable 🙂
Jan Karol says
Jacki Chan was probably an original in this skil.
I can not only see street thugs having that skill, but also well-trained businessmen who are looking for compensation for their sitting and on-screen-looking.
I could see a training session of Parkour as spot at which several completely different characters from all walks of life are meeting – that should make for an interesting and uncommon starting point for a story.
Traci Kenworth says
This would be a pretty good ability to have. I imagine someone from a martial arts movie being able to move this fluidly.