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 hear sounds that others cannot, or discern a slight shift in pitch that others cannot
Beneficial Strengths or Abilities: unless this was a result of a medical enhancement (an implant, for example), this talent would have a highly genetic component. However, being in control of one’s emotions would allow one to…
Character Traits Suited for this Skill or Talent: calm, focused, determined, centered, curious, objective…
Required Resources and Training: gaining exposure to many different sounds, practice with background noise and learning how to filter and differentiate, practicing meditative techniques to push aside distractions and focus on the task at hand
Scenarios Where this Skill Might be Useful:
- Eavesdropping to learn sensitive information, uncover terrorist plans, gain financial information for insider trading, or collect blackmail information
- To determine where one is being taken if one is blindfolded or taken somewhere against one’s will…
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.