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 accurately view and assess present-day reality in order to plan for and create the future that one desires (winning a game, reaching a personal goal, growing one’s business, etc.)
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: being able to look many steps ahead, being able to evaluate available information and accurately predict what’s coming, identifying patterns, being able to learn from past mistakes, having good recall, being a good…
Character Traits Suited to this Skill or Talent: bold, alert, objective, observant, analytical, intelligent, patient…
Associated Stereotypes and Perceptions:
- Stereotypes: chess players, gamers, generals and other military personnel, business sharks and CEOs
- Perceptions: Strong strategic thinkers are frequently portrayed as greedy, pushy, or cold. This type of character is often socially awkward, being so project-oriented that they’re unable to properly relate to people.
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- in a conflict where a game or contest must be won
- in a life or death scenario where one must outwit one’s opponent
- when there is a problem to be solved with no recognizable solution…
Resources for Further Information:
Strengthen your Strategic Thinking Muscles
11 Critical Skills for Strategic Thinkers
3 Keys to Improving Your Strategic Thinking
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.
Christopher D. Votey says
Awesome. Your explanation seems to take into account the differences between tactical and strategic planning. Most people confuse the two. This definition is entirely Strategy. I’m a big fan of what you do, but I’m still impressed.
I’m sure others came up with this idea, but happy to see one of my suggestions make the cut.
Rosi Hollinbeck says
I don’t know how you keep coming up with new ones, but you do. ery helpful, as usual. Thanks.
Heather McCorkle says
I love this! Now I want to create a character around it!
Traci Kenworth says
I can do this–when I concentrate real hard!! Lol. Great entry!!
BECCA PUGLISI says
Well, you’re doing better than me. I don’t have a strategic bone in my body. I had to channel my husband to write this entry 😉
:Donna Marie says
Wow, this is my boyfriend, almost to a T! Excellent stuff, Becca 🙂
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Love this one…great stuff, Becca!