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: Wedding Planner
Overview: A wedding planner’s job is to take the stress off the engaged couple as much as possible by taking the time to understand the type of wedding they are looking for and the budget for the event, and then bring together options for venues, entertainment, decor, ceremony options, and vendors for the wedding couple to consider. The hundreds of small decisions and pressure to make the day memorable can lead to huge amounts of stress. A planner can help by narrowing the options for the wedding couple…
A wedding planner can use their vendor contacts to find vendors (entertainment, music, caterers, cake decorator, flowers and decor, photos, a videographer, etc.) to make the event not only special, but affordable. They can help out with the delivery and tracking of invitations, offer counsel on the best way to navigate difficult family dynamics (parents who are divorced, feuds in the family, controlling in-laws, etc.), reserve a venue, manage seating, arrange for tasting or menu viewing with caterers and bakeries, create timelines…
Necessary Training: Wedding Planners usually take a wedding planning course or diploma program certified by the Association of Bridal Consultants (ABC) that covers all aspects of wedding planning and client relations…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, blending in, charm, empathy, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell, enhanced taste buds, exceptional memory, gaining the trust of others…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, analytical, calm, centered, charming, confident, cooperative, courteous, creative, decisive, diplomatic, disciplined, discreet…
Sources of Friction: interfering family members who don’t respect the wishes of the wedding couple, in-fighting among the bridal party, a problem at a venue (a fire, a flood, a foreclosure) that makes a booking suddenly unavailable, a vendor going out of business or being unable to follow through with their service (such as a musician being hospitalized and unable to perform, a mishap with the bridal wear (lost during shipping, a mishap during alterations, etc.), a cake that falls apart…
People They Might Interact With:
The wedding couple, family of the wedding couple, vendors, caterers, photographers, ushers, venue management and staff, guests, musicians, staff at the church (if the ceremony is in a church), vendor employees…
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Esteem and Recognition: A character who grew up in a controlling family may seek for a way to be in charge not only to regain that sense of control and responsibility denied them, but also to ensure they advocate for others so their wishes are respected and catered to.
- Love and Belonging: A character who has not yet found a life partner may draw a lot of satisfaction in seeing (and being an important part of) the happily ever after of others.
Common Work-Related Settings: black-tie event, church, community center, flower shop, golf course, hair salon, limousine, mansion, park, parking garage, parking lot, rec center, upscale hotel lobby, wedding reception
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.