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: Professional Escort
Overview: An escort is a professional companion, someone who is paid to accompany a client to a social event or out on a date. The escort is there to be attentive, converse, and share in the experience of the evening, making it as good as it possibly can be for their client. An escort can…
Necessary Training: No training is required, but an escort must match the tastes of the client, which usually means they are attractive, physically fit, well dressed, educated, and able to speak on a variety of topics. Many escorts will work with a service who act as the intermediary, listening to the requests of…
When ordering an escort, preferences are discussed in a roundabout way with the service to ensure they send someone who will be a good match for the type of encounter the client is looking for. In addition to the companionship during an activity, some clients are looking to be touched, cuddled, held, or to have someone listen and be empathetic as they talk about things that are bothering them. Others are looking for…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: A knack for languages, charm, exceptional memory, good listening skills, hospitality, making people laugh, reading people
POSITIVE: Adaptable, adventurous, affectionate, charming, confident, cooperative, creative, discreet, easygoing, enthusiastic, friendly, funny…
Sources of Friction: Clients who ask for things outside the escort’s comfort zone, arriving at a hotel and discovering the client is someone one knows, a client who invites others to participate without prior consent, a client who become violent or threatens, having one’s date not want to use protection, struggling with keeping up the lie of what one does for a living, struggles with intimacy because…
People They Might Interact With: Clients, dispatchers, drivers, doormen, hotel staff
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
Esteem and Recognition: A character in this career may at a certain point start questioning their choice of work and struggle with self-esteem and self-worth.
Love and Belonging: If an escort is in a relationship, they either often have to hide what they do (for fear the partner will not understand, even if being an escort is in the past) or, if they are honest about it…
Safety and Security: It is possible in this industry to discover one is in danger because the client turns out to be different than they put themselves forward to be. Characters with this job will have …
Common Work-Related Settings: art gallery, big city street, black-tie event, casino, hotel room, movie theater, nightclub, penthouse suite, performing arts theater, police car, police station, residential bathroom, therapist’s office, upscale hotel lobby, Vegas stage show, yacht
Twisting the Fictional Stereotype:
Escorts are often portrayed as women, but there are male escorts as well. Why not try this career on for size with a male in your story’s cast?
In fiction, escorts are often portrayed as individuals who fake interest outwardly as part of the job and internally they “think” about how they don’t want to be there. In truth, many escorts…
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.