So, here’s a fun thing to think about that crossed my mind just the other day: Traits. And how some things we learn and other things we just… know. And how which is which varies between people.
I mean, obviously we learn everything, humans are pretty useless, we are born completely dependant on our parents unlike other animals. But some things require a lot more learning than others.
So when I say innate perhaps what I mean is more, talented? Because, where some people spend years watching tutorials, practising every day, reading books… another person may be able to just do it.
You may find yourself thinking about the arts. Singing, drawing, making stories.
I know what’s it’s like to read though countless “how to draw” books, go to classes, practice, do studies, learn new techniques and to find twelve year olds online who started a couple of months ago and are making real masterpieces.
And to that I say: isn’t that awesome?
Like, it’s depressing at times but, isn’t it amazing that some people can just do that? Isn’t it amazing that art is somehow innate to humanity?
Art makes an obvious and easy example but let’s think further: Maths? Reading? Logic? How many concepts at school have you seen your classmates struggle with but for you it just clicked?
How can something just make sense to some people and not to others?
This can also go for physical stuff, fun fact, I hate sports, am terrible at it in every way… except I’m kinda super flexible and have enough coordination and balance to do some random gymnastics. Like, our PE teacher said do this, everybody’s struggling and I just go “whopee” and did it.
How is a cartwheel in anyway a part of my subconscious?
So, now that I’ve rambled on for a while (congrats if you made it this far), how can this apply to our characters?
Well, mostly it tells us how much they had to work for their abilities. I don’t believe that character’s necessarily need to follow what they’re good at, I sure never did. But, if something doesn’t come naturally to them, they will have to work harder for it.
This can explain a character’s choices. We’ve all fallen into the trap once or twice to just go with what we’re good at. Sometimes we enjoy it, sometimes that was a mistake.
It can be good conflict, if a character decided to be a royal guard because they have some innate ability for combat and as they raise in the ranks suddenly as well as combat they need to learn etiquete which is something extremely complicated to them? The need to sit down and study when in the past it’s been instinct is frustrating.
Or, we could do the opposite. Take the unwilling chosen one cliché, a protagonist who has spent their entire life practising and studying really hard to do a desk job. Because magic and world-saving stuff are not for them. But then over the course of the book they realice they have no other option. They sit down, they start to learn magic and it just works. And they hate it. They hate how hard they had to work for their desired life that is now being ripped away from them. They hate that the ease of access is proof that they have to do this even if they don’t want to.
Take these real world human characteristics and feelings and turn them into conflict in a fantasy world.
As usual, check out my book, stories I’ve written plus other social medias: here.
What’s your “innate” ability? And what have you spent years working towards despite it being more work than others?