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.
STRONG BREATH CONTROL
Description: being able to control one’s breathing rate to allow one to survive without oxygen for longer periods of time.
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: having good physical health, strong cardio skills and being able to alter one’s heart rate using mind-body techniques. A practitioner skilled in this area must also be able to find their center of calm quickly, neutralizing fears and…
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: calm, self-controlled, spiritual, steadfast, disciplined, tranquil
Required Resources and Training: a character with this skill would benefit from monitored breath-holding practice sessions as well as learning breathing techniques used in yoga. Becoming adept at meditation would be necessary, allowing one to quickly find…
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- characters who must go down to great depths in order to harvest food, repair or salvage something underwater, or collect resources if some kind
- In surviving an event when breathing is restricted (being trapped in a sinking boat, being pulled under the snow during an avalanche, being locked in a room where no fresh oxygen is available, being pulled under by a riptide, etc.)
- when freedivers and surfers must survive extended periods of time underwater…
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!
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.