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Monday, November 3, 2008

Making Characters Human – Part 2

Making Characters Human – Part 2: Bathing in the Sun ~ the first half

In part one we went over the basic characteristics of the human you’re creating and at the end of the article mentioned packing the character’s bags. Now we’re going to delve deeper and create a believable character through the use of astrology.
Ah, there’s the collective gasp I expected to hear from the many reading this.
No, this is not the work of the occult or for fortune telling. Here the use of astrological aspects is to develop a character. 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. You know what they look like, where they’re from. You have their birth certificate in your hand, but what do you do with that?
“Hey baby, what’s your sign?”
For now we’ll stick with the basics of astrology and work with just the Sun Signs. A Sun Sign by definition is the position of the Sun at the time of birth and is the strongest representation of who someone is, representing self, willpower and creativity. To find a Sun Sign take the month and day off the birth certificate and correspond it to the list below. Please note, if your character was born on a cusp, a date close to changing into another sign, you’ll need to take into consideration the traits of both signs. The cusps mark where each Sun Sign begins. 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 check an astrological ephemeris to determine the person’s true Sun Sign. If you don’t plan to use a birth time to ascertain your character’s true Sun Sign, 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 friend of mine 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. In my trilogy I used the cusp factor for the birth of the triplets, which is why the oldest daughter is different in her personality than her two sisters. I had the oldest be born under one sign and minutes later the other two were born under the next sign. Also, because of the movement of the sun and the differences between astrologers, the dates of the signs can vary. Some of those variations are listed below.
So, what sign does your character have? Match the date on your character’s ‘birth certificate’ to those on the list to find out and then use the positive and negative traits of the sign to build up the character’s personality. Keep in mind the following lists are by no means comprehensive. We’re only touching the tip of the iceberg here and still have other categories to cover in the next three articles.
Now, let’s start packing your character’s bags.

Fire Signs are: lively, aggressive, active, dynamic, thrive on work, action, innovation, and challenge
~ Aries – March 21 to April 20
Positive Traits: adventurous, energetic, pioneering, courageous, enthusiastic, confident, dynamic, quick-witted, frank, direct, candid, make enthusiastic and generous friends, intellectual, objective; Likes: action, coming in first, challenges, championing causes, and spontaneity
Negative Traits: selfish, quick-tempered, impulsive, impatient, foolhardy, daredevil, easily irritated by slowness or moderation in companions, can ride roughshod over the sensitivities of others, can be in rare situations bigoted and extremist in religion and politics; Dislikes: waiting around, admitting failure, no opposition, tyranny, other peoples’ advice
~ Leo – July 23 to August 22, 23
Positive Traits: strongly idealistic, humane, beneficent, open, sincere, genuine, trusting, outgoing, spontaneously warm hearted and plain spoken, generous, creative,
enthusiastic, broad-minded, expansive, faithful, loving; Likes: speculative ventures, lavish living, pageantry, grandeur, children, drama
Negative Traits: can display extreme arrogance, autocratic pride, haughtiness, and excessive hastiness of temper, self-centered, have a greed for flattery, boastful, pompous, patronizing, bossy, interfering, dogmatic, intolerant; Dislikes: doing things safely, ordinary, day to day living, small minded people, penny pinching, mean spiritedness
~ Sagittarius -- November 23 to December 21, 23
Positive Traits: optimistic, freedom-loving, jovial, good-humored, honest, straightforward, intellectual, philosophical, enterprising, energetic, versatile, adventurous, eager, wide ranging mind, equipped with foresight and good judgment, can be witty conversationalists, think rapidly, are intuitive and often original; Likes: traveling, getting to the heart of the matter, freedom, laws and meanings, the general 'feel' of things
Negative Traits: blindly optimistic, careless, irresponsible, superficial, tactless, restless, can be exacting, domineering, inconsiderate, prone to anger, impatient; Dislikes: off the wall theories, being tied down domestically, being constrained, cooling your heels, bothered with details

Earth Signs are: matter-of-fact, controlled, ambitious, dedicated, determined, practical, modest and conventional
~ Taurus – April 21 to May 20, 21
Positive Traits: patient, reliable, warmhearted, loving, persistent, determined, placid, security loving, solidity, extreme determination and strength of will, stable, balanced, keen-witted, dependable, steadfast, prudent, just, firm and unshaken in the face of difficulties; Likes: stability, being attracted, things natural, time to ponder, comfort and pleasure
Negative Traits: jealous, possessive, resentful, inflexible, self-indulgent, greedy, too slavish to the conventions they admire, may be obstinately and exasperatingly self-righteous, unoriginal, rigid, ultraconservative, argumentative, querulous bores, stuck in a self-centered rut; Dislikes: disruption, being pushed too hard, synthetic or "man made" things, being rushed, being indoors
~ Virgo – August 23, 24 to September 22, 23
Positive Traits: modest, shy, meticulous, reliable, practical, diligent, intelligent, analytical, observant, shrewd, critically inclined, judicious, patient, practical supporters of the status quo, and tend toward conservatism in all departments of life, sensible, discreet, well spoken, wise and witty; Likes: health foods, lists, hygiene, order, wholesomeness
Negative Traits: fussy, worrier, overcritical, harsh, perfectionist, conservative, old-maidish, persnickety, carping and nagging, overspecialization; Dislikes: hazards to health, anything sordid, sloppy workers, squalor, being uncertain
~ Capricorn – December 22, 24 to January 20
Positive Traits: practical, prudent, ambitious, disciplined, patient, careful, humorous, reserved, confident, strong willed and calm, hardworking, unemotional, shrewd, responsible, persevering, and cautious to the extreme, think profoundly and deeply; Likes: reliability, professionalism, knowing what you discuss, firm foundations, purpose
Negative Traits: Pessimistic, fatalistic, miserly, grudging, methodical, tough, stubborn, unyielding way, capricious, flippant, somewhat self-centered, wary and cautious; Dislikes: wild schemes, fantasies, go-nowhere jobs, ignominy, ridicule

Air Signs are: lively in mind, fluent in expression, energetic, intellectual, eccentric, freedom-loving, aggressively social and great communicators.
~ Gemini – May 21, 22 to June 21
Positive Traits: adaptable, versatile, communicative, witty, intellectual, eloquent, youthful, lively, has virtue of versatility, affectionate, courteous, kind, generous, and thoughtful towards the poor and suffering, very adaptable, adjusting themselves to control the world around them by means of their inherent ingenuity and cleverness, keen, intuitive, love cerebral challenges; Likes: talking, novelty and the unusual, variety in life, multiple projects all going at once, reading
Negative Traits: nervous, tense, superficial, inconsistent, gunning, inquisitive, two-facedness and flightiness, unscrupulous lying, and cunning evasiveness; escaping blame by contriving to put it on other people, wrapped up in all the charm they can turn on, can become pessimistic, sullen, peevish and materialistically self-centered; Dislikes: feeling tied down, learning, such as school, being in a rut, mental inaction, being alone
~ Libra – September 23, 24 to October 22, 23
Positive Traits: diplomatic, urbane, romantic, charming, easygoing, sociable, idealistic, peaceable, elegance, charm and good taste, are naturally kind, very gentle, and lovers of beauty, harmony, balanced, even tempered; Likes: the finer things in life, sharing, conviviality, gentleness
Negative Traits: Indecisive, changeable, gullible, easily influenced, flirtatious, self-indulgent, impatience of criticism and a greed for approval, frivolity, shallowness, impatient of routine, colorlessly conventional and timid, easygoing to the point of inertia, extreme extravagance; Dislikes: violence, injustice, brutishness, being a slave to fashion
~ Aquarius – January 21 to February 19
Positive Traits: friendly, humanitarian, honest, loyal, original, inventive, independent, intellectual, humane, frank, serious minded, genial, refined, sometimes ethereal, and idealistic, though this last quality is tempered with a sensible practicality; quick, active and persevering without being self-assertive, express with reason, moderation and sometimes, a dry humor, concise, clear and logical; Likes: fighting for causes, dreaming and planning for the future, thinking of the past, good companions, having fun
Negative Traits: Intractable, contrary, perverse, unpredictable, unemotional, detached, condescending, fanatical eccentricity, wayward egotism, excessive detachment and an inclination to retreat from life and society; tendency to be extremely dogmatic in their opinions; may express a lack of integrity in broken promises; secretive, cunning, simmering anger and resentment, rudeness; Dislikes: full of air promises, excessive loneliness, the ordinary, imitations, idealistic

Water Signs are: sensitive, intuitive, compassionate, loving, sensual, and imaginative
~ Cancer – June 22 to July 22
Positive Traits: emotional, loving, intuitive, imaginative, shrewd, cautious, protective, sympathetic, purposeful, energetic, wise, conservative and home-loving nature, kind sensitivity to other people; Likes: hobbies, romance, children, home and country, parties
Negative Traits: changeable, moody, overemotional, touchy, clinging, unable to let go, can appear formidable, thick-skinned, unemotional, uncompromising, obstinately tenacious, untidy, sulky, devious, inclined to self-pity because of an inferiority complex, brood on insults (very often imagined), yet are easily flattered; can be tactless and difficult; Dislikes: aggravating situations, failure, opposition, being told what to do, advice (good or bad)
~ Scorpio – October 23, 24 to November 22
Positive Traits: determined, forceful, emotional, intuitive, powerful, passionate, exciting, magnetic, pleasant to be with, thoughtful in conversation, dignified, and reserved, yet affable and courteous, persuasive, strong reasoning powers; Likes: truth, hidden causes, being involved, work that is meaningful, being persuasive
Negative Traits: jealous, resentful, compulsive, obsessive, secretive, obstinate, brooding, aggressive and sadistic brutality, total arrogance, morbid jealousy, extreme volatility of temperament; Dislikes: being given only surface data, taken advantage of, demeaning jobs, shallow relationships, flattery and flattering
~ Pisces – February 20 to March 20
Positive Traits: Imaginative, sensitive, compassionate, kind, selfless, unworldly, intuitive, sympathetic, gentle, patient, malleable nature, friendly, good natured, compassionate, easygoing, affectionate, submissive, versatile and intuitive, have quick understanding, observes and listens well; Likes: solitude to dream in, mystery in all its guises, anything discarded to stay discarded, the ridiculous, like to get 'lost'
Negative Traits: escapist, idealistic, secretive, vague, weak-willed, easily led, too otherworldly for the practical purposes of living in this world, exist emotionally rather than rationally, instinctively more than intellectually; Dislikes: the obvious, being criticized, feeling all at sea about something, know-it-alls, pedantry

Gerwick-Brodeur, M and L. Lenard. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Astrology, 2nd ed. Indianapolis: Alpha Books, 2000.
Parker, Julia and Derek. KISS Guide to Astrology. New York: Dorling Kindersley, 2000.


Lynn Crain said...

This is just so good for me!!! And you know just what I'm talking about!

I can't wait to add this aspect into my wonderful story!

Thanks, CR!


Erin Sinclair said...

Very clever way to characterize CR! Now check out the information on polaric opposites (Taurus to Scorpio, for example), that relationship could make for one heck of a hot story, ya know?


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