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 read other peoples’ lips in order to understand what’s being said
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: good vision
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: focused, persistent, determined, observant, discerning
Required Resources and Training: Lip-reading is a skill that many hearing impaired individuals are able to do with accuracy. Their ability comes from a lifetime spent…
Associated Stereotypes: those with impaired hearing
Associated Perceptions: When portrayed in fiction, lip-reading is often 100% accurate. But there are many factors that can make lip-reading difficult: the position of the person being read, the person moving around and making it difficult to see their lips, an obstruction that blocks the lips (a raised hand, food being brought to the mouth, someone …
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful: For most story purposes, the lip-reader would want to be able to use his skill without being noticed, so it would be necessary for him to be able to do so from a distance. To meet this need, he might have excellent vision or utilize binoculars or a scope.
- When a spy needs to gain information while remaining unnoticed
- When someone wants to know what a peer or love interest thinks about her…
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.