There are different ways to approach character development but my go to technique is astrology! In my novels, I’ve give my characters actual horoscopes. If I’m ever uncertain of how they might behave, I check their chart. Moon in Pisces? Disappear! Sun in Aries? Advance with sword swinging! Mercury in Libra? Discuss it with everyone for quite some time before deciding what to do. Astrology is a wonderful way to get inside a character’s head.
The horoscope tells me what makes them tick—their limiting beliefs, past patterns, core values, darkest fears and authentic goals. It answers questions about how they dress, their likes and dislikes, how they act under pressure. It can even give me hints for physical traits if I’m at a loss. Aries sun? Red hair, scar on the face. Sagittarius Moon? An old hip injury but great legs. Gemini Mercury? A stutter that only shows up under extreme duress. The horoscope can also help me see where my people, and creatures, will grow through the choices they make and the challenges they face. It also has a lot to say about their love life!
Take the ascendant, or rising sign, for example. It’s the sign that was on the eastern horizon at the moment of birth. It has long been associated with how we take action and initiate anything from journeys, fights, ideas to sex! When it comes to romance and intimacy, the rising sign gives great inspiration. Consider how each sign on the ascendant would 'make a move':
Aries — Pounce! Usually little or no warning.
Taurus — Surprisingly sensual, though ardent. They selectively fail to hear the word ‘no.’
Gemini — Much talk before action. They seduce with words—sometimes quite eloquently.
Cancer — They retreat, you follow. Not opposed to emotional manipulation and/or allure.
Leo — Beware of public places, unless you like such things! Boldness, flash and glam!
Virgo — Seduces with atmosphere, candles, music, tantric manuals. Everything just so.
Libra — Wine, dine, listen and engage until there is nothing left between you but the erotic.
Scorpio — Seduces with their eyes. Always, the eyed! Thirty seconds or less and you’re a goner.
Sagittarius — They promise the world, and usually deliver, metaphorically at least.
Capricorn — They buy you things. Excellent taste. Always first cabin.
Aquarius — They use the element of surprise—often surprisingly well. Much dialog.
Pisces — Enchantment. Their very being is an aphrodisiac. Poetry optional.
Astrology helps me write characters that ring true and that’s the sweet spot, the place where I close my eyes, watch the scenes unfold and type as fast as I can.
How about other writers? Do you have a favorite way of keeping track of character traits? Readers, who are your most 'real' characters and why? I’d love to hear about them!
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Kim Falconer is a New Supernatural Underground author writing epic science fantasy novels about real people in extraordinary situations—nano-technology, witchcraft, quantum computers, fast horses, hot bards, stunning tattoos and environments on the brink of destruction.
Kim’s latest series is Quantum Encryption. Book #1, Path of the Stray, and book #2, Road to the Soul are out now. Book #3, Journey by night is out Sept 1. Currently she’s writing an entirely new series. You can find out more about her at kim.falconer.com. She posts on the 16th of every month.