Character Talents and Skills: Repurposing

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: the ability to envision new uses for common items, or to alter what one has to fit a specific need.

Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: being good with one’s hands, the ability to imagine how different objects might fit together or work in a different way, thinking beyond the obvious, the drive to find a better, more efficient way of doing things, the desire to avoid…

Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: creative, imaginative, thrifty, tenacious, calm, curious, sensible, decisive

Required Resources and Training: collecting useful items at minimal cost, or hanging onto things that can be reinvented to become something else, treating items gently so that they last, researching do-it-yourself projects (sites like Pinterest are a …

Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:

  • That repurposing is often harder than it looks
  • That just because something is old doesn’t mean it isn’t useful
  • That people who repurpose are cheap or stingy

Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:

  • being able to fix problems or make necessary repairs when one has little resources to work with
  • being able to stretch one’s resources when times are tight
  • succeeding by applying creative thinking to problems that stump linear thinkers…

Resources for Further Information:

Repurposing on Pinterest

50 Creative Ways to Repurpose, Reuse and Upcycle Old Things

Green Tips for a Healthy Planet

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!


Image: Alsudiz @ Pixabay


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

As soon as I saw this I thought of MacGyver. He could repurpose anything in his immediate environment into anything else, in minutes, using only his trusty pocket knife. Not very plausibly, I’m afraid.

6 years ago

I had a teensy crush on MacGyver.

6 years ago

It was the mullet.

Rosi Hollinbeck
6 years ago

This is a really good one. My MC is a real re-purposer, and I think I will beef that talent up. Thanks for another great post.

Traci Kenworth
6 years ago

A great skill to have!!

Natalie Aguirre
6 years ago

Great tips on how to use re-purposing in creating your characters. Thanks.