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.)
Overview: The career of a model can look very different depending on the type of modeling they do and the level of their success. Most modeling falls into two categories: editorial (magazine spreads in higher-end magazines, fashion catwalks, high-end makeup ads, etc.) and commercial (catalogs, print ads for non-fashion products, commercials, and even showroom work where they work with the fashion designers as a form for the clothing being made). Models who are editorial often have a very distinctive look…
Most models do not make a living wage and only model part time or have another job to supplement their income. The hours are very long and demanding, and it isn’t uncommon for an editorial model to be paid for their time with a lunch or a gift of clothing rather than a cash payment if they are in the building stages of their career where they are striving to build a portfolio and gain recognition. Those who are at the top of the editorial modeling world can…
Necessary Training: Models may take classes to become more comfortable with the business (understanding how casting and callbacks work, fittings, dealing with criticism, the role of agents, the importance of building a name, how to create a strong portfolio…)
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, a knack for making money, a way with animals, charm, exceptional memory…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, ambitious, bold, centered, charming, confident, cooperative, creative, diplomatic, disciplined, discreet, easygoing…
NEGATIVE: perfectionist, subservient, workaholic
Sources of Friction:
Untrustworthy agents, being taken advantage of as a minor in the industry (exploitation), people in positions of power using intimidation and threats to get what they want, pressure to have sex or allow sexual advances, struggling to pay one’s bills, the pressure to maintain an unhealthy weight causing eating disorders, being worn down by criticism and suffering from anxiety and depression, a health crisis due to the stress and strain of work but not having medical coverage and so going into debt, clients who…
People They Might Interact With: Agents, other models, model advocates or parents (for underage models), photographers, designers…
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Esteem and Recognition: So much emphasis on the physical appearance can cause esteem issues. Criticism from professionals, models comparing themselves to others, and the constant focus on physique can negatively impact …
- Love and Belonging: Very attractive people often struggle to know if people interested in them are only there because of their looks. This can lead to relationship issues…
- Safety and Security: Modes who are highly visible are easily recognizable to the Average Joe and can become targets for stalkers and other unstable individuals
- Physiological Needs: When body image issues become serious enough to birth mental disorders like bulimia and anorexia…
Common Work-Related Settings: Ballroom, black-tie event, hair salon, waiting room
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype:
- Models have historically been presented as superficial and vapid, to the point of this stereotype becoming a trope. Make sure your model, like every other character, is well-rounded and multi-dimensional.
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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