How Zodiac Signs Can Help You Develop Your Characters
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Having trouble giving your book character(s) depth? There are two words I’m about to share with you that can help you take them from one dimensional to 3D without you having to wreck your brain. Those words are…zodiac signs.
You don’t have to be knee-deep into astrology or understand the stars to utilize basic zodiac characteristics to build your character(s). You just have to be willing to do a little research. In this blog post, I’ll go over two methods you can use to do this, depending on where you are in character development.
Say you know three main things about your female main character. She’s sensible. She’s ambitious, and she’s careful. While it’s a good start, that’s not enough. Nothing about that is going to make her come alive from the page to your readers.
Yes, she’s sensible, but what would happen if she made a rash decision?
Yes, she’s ambitious, but what’s something that could happen to make her procrastinate and miss her goal?
Researching zodiac characteristics can help you expand on what you’ve already created and expand on your character’s positive and negative traits.
Method #1: When’s your character’s birthday?
The first method is asking yourself, ‘when is my character’s birthday?’ If you already know this, then the hard part is already done.
For example, in one novel I’m working on, I knew my main female character’s birthday already, so her sign was already a given (and yes, her birthday is of importance to the story, so I couldn’t take it out if I wanted to). Her birthday is New Year’s Day, which makes her a Capricorn. Since I knew that, I looked up positive and negative traits and realized that there were a lot of traits that I’d already given her throughout the story that aligned with the Capricorn sign.
You may be thinking, but what if the zodiac sign my character’s birthday falls under doesn’t fit the characteristics of who I’ve made them out to be in the story? Try selecting a different birthday for your character (especially if it’s not of real importance to your storyline). You can also work backwards, like I’ll show you in my second method.
Method #2: Working Backwards
So, if you already have certain characteristics for your character(s), but need more, you can work backwards to see which sign closely resembles your character(s) already. (This way requires a bit more research, but still worth it in the end.)
For example, in the same novel I mentioned above, I hadn’t figured out a birthday for my main male character, or any of the other secondary characters in the story with points of view. I also already knew certain things about my characters, and had built them out substantially already, but decided it would be good to figure out their zodiac signs to see how their signs interacted with each other and to see if that made a difference for their relationships in the story or made way for any potential plot twists or dramatic moments that I hadn’t already mapped out.
That’s when I grabbed a piece of paper and outlined their names, positive and negative sign characteristics, and other zodiac signs they were most and least compatible with. Why? Because if you have two signs who don’t generally “mesh well” then you may not want to have them be besties and choose another sign that exudes characteristics that mesh well with your character and can show the chemistry between the two, OR you could choose to use that opposition and show that their differences are what make them who they are and against all odds, it works for their relationship.
I’ll share another example with you from a different novel I’m working on. I knew I wanted my main female character to have a mid-summer birthday. That narrows it down to July-August. I also knew she was sensitive. Which summer zodiac signs are the most sensitive? A Cancer. Once I knew her sign, I could then dig deeper into characteristics and see which signs she was the most and the least compatible with just like I did for the other book.
For my main male character in that book, I knew I wanted him to be very aggressive and sexual. The first sign that came to mind was a Scorpio. So, I began doing research on that sign and realized the characteristics I had were already closely aligned to that sign.
So, boom: now that I knew I was working with a female Cancer and a male Scorpio, I could then research how they work together in an intimate relationship or friendship.
-For a female Cancer, her warm and nurturing nature regenerates him.
-Their bond is magnetic and intense.
-They are both fiercely loyal to one another.
Those are just three examples, but as you can see, I can take those things and use that to build scenes, dialogue, plot twists, and drama.
For help with outlining your character’s zodiac traits, grab my outlining worksheet here.