Character Talents and Skills: Strong Breath Control

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 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!


Image: TPSDave @ Pixabay


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.
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[…] Strong Breath Control […]

Elizabeth Foster
Elizabeth Foster
5 years ago

Just wanted to say thank you. I am finding this series of character skills and traits so useful in my writing, in terms of both sparking new ideas and fleshing out characters.

:Donna Marie
5 years ago

It brings me back to childhood when I used to be able to hold it much longer than now! Though, with chemical sensitivities, I hold my breath often when I’m out! This is an excellent trait to consider when writing, Angela. Thanks, as always 🙂

Joe Plemon
Joe Plemon
5 years ago

Strong breath control is a talent I have never considered in my own writing, but certainly one that saved Louis Zamperini’s life (in Laura Hillenbrand’s “Unbroken”) when his rescue plane crashed. The book was non-fiction of course, but Hillenbrand’s comprehension of this skill is one factor in making Zamperini’s story so riveting.

Joe Plemon
Joe Plemon
5 years ago

I loved the book so much that I opted not to see the movie. I read about the parts of the book that were left out of the movie and figured it would probably disappoint me.

Traci Kenworth
5 years ago

My nephew was a deep sea diver for the navy. He went down into some dangerous places and spaces. Can’t imagine.

5 years ago

Love this one!