Jobs are as important for our characters as they are for real people. A character’s career might be their dream job or one they’ve chosen due to necessity. In your story, they might be trying to get that job or are already working in the field. Whatever the situation, as with any defining aspect for your character, you’ll need to do the proper research to be able to write that career knowledgeably.
Enter the Occupation Thesaurus. Here, you’ll find important background information on a variety of career options for your character. In addition to the basics, we’ll also be covering related info that relates to character arc and story planning, such as sources of conflict (internal and external) and how the job might impact basic human needs, thereby affecting the character’s goals. It’s our hope that this thesaurus will share some of your research burden while also giving you ideas about your character’s occupation that you might not have considered before.
Below is a sample version of this entry to help you see how an occupation can reveal your character’s beliefs, history, goals, and more.
To view the full entry, visit One Stop for Writers where it resides within the largest fiction-based descriptive database ever created. (Free Trial available.)
Occupation: OUTDOOR GUIDE
Overview: An outdoor guide is someone who leads excursions into the natural areas. These excursions may be anywhere from a few hours, to days or weeks. An outdoor guide uses their skills and vast knowledge of the area to give clients an experience that only a seasoned outdoors enthusiast might otherwise have. Guides may take groups into natural areas to view scenery and animal activity using land and water transport, usually going by foot, horseback, boat, or other means. This allows clients to safely explore…
Necessary Training: Not a lot of formal training is required to start as a guide, just a huge passion for the outdoors. A guide must be a people person also so they can effectively entertain, manage a variety of …
Guides will require previous field experience or be given on the job training in whatever type of guiding they specialize in, both for knowledge of the terrain and in different modes of transport. If for example, the guiding is primarily by horseback, guides will require additional education regarding the handling and caring for horses…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, archery, a way with animals, baking, basic first aid, charm, exceptional memory, fishing…
Helpful Character Traits: Adventurous, alert, calm, cautious, centered, charming, confident, courteous, curious, decisive, diplomatic, disciplined…
Sources of Friction: difficult or whiny clients who underestimate “roughing it,” bad weather making the trip miserable and impacting what can be seen and experienced, equipment malfunctions, injuries (both people and animals if used), dangerous wildlife wandering close to camp, clients who try to get too close to wild animals, personality conflicts between clients…
People They Might Interact With: Outfitters, tourists and locals, ranch hands, fish and wildlife officers, photographers, outdoor enthusiasts
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Self-Actualization: while a guide might choose this occupation to be closer to nature and find their fit in the world, the day to day grind of dealing with entitled, rude, or overbearing clients …
- Esteem and Recognition: Because guiding can seem like choosing self-isolation, other people can make assumptions about a character with this career, assuming they are loners and somehow unfit for…
- Love and Belonging: Because a character is often away for days at a time and on constant rotation during tourist season, it can be difficult to create and nurture …
- Safety and Security: Out in the wilds the character may encounter dangerous animals or navigate difficult situations due to the lack of experience of their clientele. In this case, the guide is responsible for the welfare of their customers, meaning they must take all the risks if something dangerous happens during the trip.
Common Work-Related Settings: arctic tundra, badlands, barn, campsite, canyon, cave, country road, creek, fishing boat, forest, grotto, hiking trail, hot springs, hunting cabin, lake, marina, marsh, meadow, moors, mountains, ocean, pasture, pond, rainforest, ranch, river, swamp, waterfall
Visit the other Occupations in our collection HERE.
How will your character’s occupation help reveal their innermost layers?
Much of your character’s life will revolve around their work, and whether they love it or hate it, their job is a great way to show, not tell, their personality traits, skills, work ethic, worldview and beliefs, and more, so we should choose it with care.
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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.
Deb Salisbury says
Thanks! This one will be especially helpful in the third novel of my new series.
ANGELA ACKERMAN says
Awesome! very glad this one is one you can use! 🙂