A Secret Weapon for Characterization: The Character’s Job

by Angela Ackerman

Often a character will work in a field since hes required to or its the only thing available. When hes totally free to select, a job will usually show particular preferences. An outdoor guide will be a nature lover who would rather work outside than in a cubicle.

The entire process of story creation is packed with it: pressure to craft characters that readers will relate to and fall in love with, pressure to pen a story that is fresh and new, pressure to market the story well so it offers and we can keep doing what we like. When a reader sees a character working in a specific field, theyre going to draw some conclusions. When readers are introduced to an expert poker gamer, they can surmise that the character will know how to read individuals.

You understand if there is ever an emergency situation with one of the kids, or an accident of some kind, hes there. Hes trained, and when seconds count, hell understand what to do.

Need aid picking the ideal job fit for your character? Heres a list of all the professions youll find info about in The Occupation Thesaurus: A Writers Guide to Jobs, Vocations, and Careers. What tasks do your characters have?

The more we know, the better our composing becomes, so today I d like to aid with a specific point in the story that is truly do-or-die: the opening.

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Economic Status.

This question often turns up, doesnt it? The factor is that in this context, tasks define. Like it or not, we tend to size individuals up and put them in boxes. And a persons chosen field of work can reveal a lot about who they are.

Talents and Skills.

Some tasks can provide readers a hint about the characters appearance. Careers like these can right away say something to readers about the characters ideals and worths.

Lets pretend youre at a community block celebration. A brand-new next-door neighbor simply relocated next door therefore you strike up a conversation to learn more about them. Whats one of the first things youre going to ask?

Particular characteristics will make it simpler for an individual to be successful at a given task. And generally people wish to be effective; thats one reason we gravitate towards professions that play to our character. So when a reader sees a character operating in a specific field, theyre going to draw some conclusions. This provides authors a leg up when it concerns characterization, enabling them to reveal character just by exposing that cast members job.

Last Thoughts.

Angela is also the co-founder of the popular website Writers Helping Writers, along with One Stop for Writers, a website to game-changing tools and resources that enable writers to craft effective fiction. Find her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Some tasks can give readers a tip about the characters appearance. Whether its the uniform or expectations that go with the job, a profession can provide numerous unmentioned clues about how a character looks and behaves at work.

Unless an unmet need or other inspiration is steering them, characters will pursue tasks theyre proficient at and take pleasure in (simply as we perform in the real life). Due to the fact that readers make associations about what it requires to prosper in different occupations, your characters option in this location will naturally showcase his abilities, no infodumps needed.

Every career requires an ability that goes beyond personality. Talents and abilities are unique aptitudes and areas of exceptionality that can make a person good at her task. A chef is going to be skilled at cooking or baking. A bouncer is most likely adept at self-defense. They can assume that the character will know how to read people when readers are introduced to an expert poker player.

Sure, all of us want this career was a bit much easier, but the fact is that pressure puts our feet to the fire and thats when we do our best work.

About Angela.

Even without any fine-tuning or embellishing– which is always a good concept, to prevent clichés or stereotypes– an occupation can suggest many things about a character. And if the situation is one where the character dislikes what they do, readers still discover something valuable: the job may expose an absence (of education or chances), showcase their top priorities (to offer their family, to fulfill an obligation, and so on), or suggest a limitation (a psychological or physical condition).

Angela Ackerman is a composing coach, international speaker, and co-author of the bestselling book, The Emotion Thesaurus and its numerous follows up. Her books are offered in 8 languages, are sourced by US universities, recommended by agents and editors, and are used by authors, screenwriters, and psychologists worldwide. To date, this book collection has actually offered over half a million copies.

To evaluate this theory, what positive qualities come to mind when you consider a kindergarten teacher? Characteristics like compassion, gentleness, and persistence probably leading the list. It looks different, however, for an ER physician, who might be pegged as intelligent, decisive, and calm under pressure. There are exceptions, however specific traits do help make somebody an excellent teacher or doctor or farmer.

Writers are no stranger to pressure. The whole procedure of story development is loaded with it: pressure to craft characters that readers will relate to and fall in love with, pressure to pen a story that is new and fresh, pressure to market the story well so it offers and we can keep doing what we like. No problem?


Got your breath back? Great.

Passions and pastimes.

Clearly total objective is to hook the reader, keeping them focused on our book. We can accomplish this by making sure the reader “clicks” with the lead character and wants to follow them deeper into the story world.


Present primary characters in an engaging way.
Program the lead characters regular life & & tip whats wrong with it.
Ensure category aspects exist so readers know exactly what type of story they remain in for.
Pace it tight. In other words, make every word count (and do not infodump!).
Intrigue the reader so they feel compelled to continue reading and get the answer to their concerns.

” So, what do you do?”.

Another factor a character may select a profession is that it lines up with his inmost beliefs. A clergy member may follow this course since, to him, helping people discover God is the greatest possible calling. A profession in the military is frequently preceded by a strong sense of patriotism and regard for ones nation. Careers like these can immediately say something to readers about the characters ideals and worths.

Beliefs and perfects.

As with as your brand-new paramedic next-door neighbor, a characters job can assist your readers ensure associations, providing a standard of things that are probably true. Here are a few things your reader might presume about a character simply by understanding his occupation.

Numerous professions are born from a favorite activity. In cases like these, a profession can loudly declare the characters interests and preferred diversions, offering insight into what sets them apart from others.

As indelicate as the topic might be, numerous jobs are related to economic status. A character who is a successful legal representative, doctor, or service tycoon is going to check out abundant while someone in an entry-level or blue-collar position (cashiers, cars and truck bouncers, sitters, or chauffeurs) might be perceived by readers as being less privileged.

The start of a story is a massive juggling act. We need to ….


So how can we fast-track this important “get-to-know-the-character” phase? Well, lets look at what we carry out in the real world when we initially fulfill someone.

Physical Details.

* loses consciousness paper bags *.

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