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: Being able to blend in to one’s surroundings, whether it be a socialite party, a corporate event, or a busy street. People with this skill…
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: To succeed in this area, one must have the ability to accurately read people and situations. This skill involves manipulating others to believe that one belongs, so being able to easily lie or deceive is a must. A strong memory…
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: perceptive, observant, bold, alert, charming…
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions: Spies, assassins, and government agents are often endowed with this skill, along with politicians and socialites who know how to work a room. Most often, this skill is embodied by those who…
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- In one of the above career paths where blending in is part of the job description
- when one needs to infiltrate different people groups in order to gain information
- when someone is running for her life and needs to remain incognito…
Resources for Further Information:
20 Tips on Blending in with the Locals
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.
:Donna Marie says
Yep, “spies” were the first ones to pop into my head at the post title! Great stuff, as always, Becca. Thank you 🙂
Sharon K Mayhew says
Wonderful post! Your characters having special talents (interior or exterior) is a great way to define them.
sjp (@sjp_title) says
Judt makes me think of the Bourne movies and his talent at blending in with inconspicuous crowds.
Traci Kenworth says
This would be useful in some circumstances like you said.
Julie Musil says
Like Jeffo said, I hadn’t thought of this as a skill, but now that you mention it, some people are really good at it.
Interesting…this is one I’d never really think of as a ‘talent’ or ‘skill’, but then again, there are just some people who somehow do this no matter where they go.