Writing About Character Occupations: The Resource Mother Lode

With every new book release, Angela and I write a bunch of posts that cover various aspects of that topic. We’ve found it useful to collect all of those resources into one handy post so it’s easy for anyone looking for help to find what they need.

Now that The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers has made its way into the world, here’s your round-up of posts on how to write character jobs in ways that will enhance your cast and your story. We’ll be adding to this list as new posts are published, so check in every once in a while to see the list of topics grow.

Why do occupations matter? This post on The Character-Building Details Writers Shouldn’t Overlook contains an excerpt from the introduction to The Occupation Thesaurus and explains what a carefully chosen career can do to enhance your story.

If you’d prefer a podcast format, this episode is all about the different ways a carefully-chosen occupation can serve your story.

If you’re looking for a meaningful job for your character, consider how an emotional wound might play into their career choice.

Did you know that your character’s job can tie directly into your story’s theme? It’s a great way to get your message across subtly and organically.

Check out this post for ideas on what a character’s job can reveal about him or her and then also see how these details can become a secret characterization weapon, especially at the start of your book!

One thing to remember is that we aren’t always thrilled with our jobs. What can a character’s dislikes or disappointments with their career tell readers?

Here are some tips for finding the right job for your character.

Looking at a storyline where Romance happens in the workplace? Don’t miss this post on all the conflict options you can play with.

BONUS #1! Looking for MORE jobs that aren’t included in The Occupation Thesaurus? Check out this list curated by our readers.

BONUS #2! We’ve uploaded some of the appendix tools from the book to help you narrow down the job search for your characters. Our tools page now contains Career Assessment and Occupation Speed Dating tools, as well as a downloadable template so you can create an entry for any job.

If you’re curious about The Occupation Thesaurus, you can find more information here, including a free preview, the complete list of jobs included, and a sample entry (Firefighter).

Finally, if you want to see an expanded version of The Occupation Thesaurus, hop on over to One Stop for Writers, where you’ll find it in the largest fiction-focused description database online. There’s a free trial too, if you want to check the site out in-depth.

Happy Writing!


Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling. You can find Becca online at both of these spots, as well as on Facebook and Twitter.
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