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: A farmer is a person who plants, grows, and harvests crops or they breed and raise animals, most often for food consumption.
Necessary Training: It isn’t mandatory that a farmer has formal education, but unless they have significant experience (perhaps from working on a farm or growing up on one), it can greatly help them gain the knowledge they need to succeed. Farming is a very complex business requiring adaptability, foresight, and many different skill sets. Farmers who grow crops must…
If a farmer raises animals (mammals, avians, fish, etc.), they are responsible for their welfare and must know their needs, provide a healthy environment, proper nutrition and…
Useful Skills, Talents, or Abilities: a knack for making money, a way with animals, basic first aid, carpentry, enhanced hearing, enhanced sense of smell…
POSITIVE: Adaptable, ambitious, analytical, calm, disciplined, efficient, independent, industrious, meticulous, nature-focused, nurturing…
NEGATIVE: compulsive, know-it-all, workaholic, worrywart
Sources of Friction: An illness that decimates one’s crop or livestock, climate change or extreme weather (early frosts, too much rain or not enough, drought that lasts year after year, lightning strikes that cause forest fires, flooding, etc.), mounting debt, political policies and market shifts that affect one’s ability to get one’s product to consumers, pricing shifts, market saturation, wild animals attacking one’s livestock…
People They Might Interact With: other farmers, neighbors, mechanics, suppliers, customers, inspectors, veterinarians
How This Occupation Might Impact One’s Basic Needs:
- Self-Actualization: A character who loves living and working in the country may question their path if staying afloat is a constant, wearying struggle
- Love and Belonging: If there are differences in opinions in a family-run farm (how it’s being run, decisions that create risk which not everyone is comfortable with, or…
- Physiological Needs: Farming is not an easy livelihood because so many different elements are outside the farmer’s control. Dealing with debt is…
Common Work-Related Settings: barn, chicken coop, country road, county fair, farm, farmer’s market, garage, hunting cabin, meadow, old pick-up truck, orchard, pasture, ranch, tool shed, vegetable patch
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.