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: Using herbs and plants to maintain health and cure ills.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: Basic knowledge of botany and biology; being able to forage and find the plants that one needs
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: observant, analytical, nature-focused, intelligent…
Required Resources and Training: Before modern doctors and medicine, herbalism was often the only medical resource available to the general public. Aspiring herbalists would be apprenticed to masters who taught them about the different kinds of plants and their properties. Less formal training methods would involve a student learning at the…
Associated Stereotypes: wise old women, midwives, medicine men, shamans, quacks
Associated Perceptions: In past times, when herbalism was common, those with medicinal knowledge of herbs and plants were considered wise and beneficent. Today, in many advanced cultures, herbalism is often seen as quackery, and those who practice it are …
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- In a fictional society where healers aren’t readily available to the general public
- In a fictional society where plants have both medicinal and magical properties
- In the past…
Resources for Further Information:
From Traditional Remedies to Modern Pharmaceuticals
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.