Creating a Character
I’ve been asked how I create characters, and one of my ways is through astrology. Several years ago I wrote a series of articles on how to make a character human and part of the series highlighted the sun sign astrological aspect. Here is a look into the article.
It's an author's duty to weave fantastical tales a reader can get lost in by incorporating enough realism to help a reader suspend his or her disbelief. Part of the suspension comes from making characters look and sound as real as possible. Physical descriptions and names are important but, to use an old adage, it's 'what's inside that counts.' By knowing what a character is made of, a writer can bring the character's personality to the fore and show the reader who the character is. The character becomes someone the reader can identify with and come to care for. Here is one strategy used for creating multi-dimensional characters.
First you’ll need the character's birth date, time and location. The birth information is required to delve deeper and create a believable character through the use of astrology. No, this is not the work of the occult or for fortune telling—think of it as psychological profiling. You're a detective putting the pieces of a puzzle together to see what makes a person do what they do. And, yes, there was a lot of hoopla at the beginning of 2011 about the zodiac changing due to the way the earth rotates on its axis. That's not a new argument. There was a good article on the Washington Post blog which discussed the different viewpoints of the 'changes,' though the article/commenter(s) didn't mention the use of an ephemeris. For the sake of this post, though, the use of astrological aspects will follow what has been the standard for ages. So, when you start, you should know what your character looks like, where they're from and you should have the person's birth certificate in your hand, but what do you do with that?
"Hey, baby. What's your sign?" A sun sign by definition is the strongest representation of who someone is, representing self, willpower and creativity. To find a sun sign take the month and day off your character's birth certificate and correspond it to the information found on this website: http://www.astrology-online.com/persn.htm. If your character was born on a cusp—a date close to, or on, changing into another sign—you'll need to take into consideration the traits of both signs. The cusps mark where each sun sign begins or ends. Since the exact hour at which the sun moves from one sign into the next is different every year, it's a good idea to take the hour and minute one was born and create an astrological chart to determine the person's true sun sign. This can be done at http://www.astro.com/. Please note, because of the movement of the sun and the differences between astrologers, the dates of the signs can vary a day or so from source to source. If you don't plan to use a birth time to ascertain your character's true sun sign and you've chosen a cusp date, then just take qualities from the neighboring signs. Here's an example of what happens when someone is born during a change from one sign to another. A woman I knew was born on a cusp date and for the longest time she believed she was a Scorpio. After a bit of conversation and obtaining her birth information from her, I did her natal chart. Turns out she was in fact a Libra. If she had been born three hours and twenty minutes later, then she would have been a Scorpio.
Once you know the sun sign, take some of the positive and negative traits that are mentioned. For example, see the lists of good and bad on this page: http://www.astrology-online.com/aries.htm. By using likable and not so likable qualities of an astrological sign, you’ll round out your character with ease and make him or her identifiable to readers.
Casey Moss delves into the darker aspects of life in her writing, sometimes basing the stories on reality, sometimes on myth. No matter the path, her stories will take you on a journey from the light-hearted paranormal to dark things unspeakable. What waits around the corner? Come explore…
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