I'm writing a novella and am looking for a title that describes a character who can fly but chooses not to. I've had a look at "Is there an adjective to describe someone who feels the desire to run away from situations?" and A word to describe a person who doesn't use their own products or policies but neither captures what I'm looking for.

I've got "Can Fly but Won't" but that feels clunky.

  • What kind of talent? Party tricks? And why is that talent not used?
    – NVZ
    Jun 25, 2017 at 15:54
  • Oh, flying is not a talent. It looks to me more like a super power.
    – NVZ
    Jun 25, 2017 at 15:55
  • Like a caged bird 🐦
    – NVZ
    Jun 25, 2017 at 15:57
  • I've revised from "someone with a talent" to someone with a special ability. Thanks @nvz
    – Elby Cloud
    Jun 25, 2017 at 16:02
  • 1
    The character doesn't fly because he is depressed. Flying reminds him of happier times and makes him feel worse. And yes, @Fattie, you guessed it, he's going to overcome the problem. But I need to describe the situation before that happens.
    – Elby Cloud
    Jun 25, 2017 at 17:54

1 Answer 1


The only really common phrase I can think of here is simply

"wasted their talent..."

That's very common and idiomatic. It means precisely what OP says, someone who has a natural "God-given" talent, but didn't get around to using it, lived a few decades and then died.

Interestingly, one can't, really, think of a famous fictional character who exhibits this quality. And the reason for that is, almost the entire body of human storytelling is focussed on precisely this issue, and specifically, overcoming this issue. So, Luke Skywalker, etc, are "guys who are suffering precisely the problem outlined by the OP, but, then fully overcome the problem."

Maybe, in the world of Sports there's a famous figure who "failed to use their talent" perhaps?

  • I'm marking this as an answer because it led me to fear of success, which led me to fear of happiness (Aversion to happiness, also called cherophobia or fear of happiness, is an attitude towards happiness in which individuals may deliberately avoid experiences that invoke positive emotions or happiness).
    – Elby Cloud
    Jun 25, 2017 at 18:00
  • 1
    "Fear of success" is an excellent and worthwhile phrase here, M'am. Good one. However, it does perhaps lean in to the "self-help - get ahead in business!" stream, something to bear in mind. (It's the sort of phrase Dale Carnegie would use, you know, you want more Richard Bach!)
    – Fattie
    Jun 25, 2017 at 20:01
  • Good point @Fattie. Onus is going to be heavy on the cover art.
    – Elby Cloud
    Jun 25, 2017 at 21:04

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