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Better Characters Through Astrology

September 20, 2009
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I just came across this interesting post at edittorrent. It uses astrology as a metaphor for the process of character creation. I don’t know that much about astrology, except for the traits of my sign, but it works quite well as a means of layering a character.

Most people, I think, start with what edittorrent calls the “sun sign” traits—the hard facts such as age, job, marital status, children, and siblings. Then, if they’re me, at least, they bring in the nuances while writing and never bother to lay them out in a character bio. Those nuances are the “rising sign” and the “moon sign” traits.

When creating a character, the “rising sign” part of it will be how others see the character. It’s a mixture of projected image and actual impact on others. Part of thinking through this part of the character requires us to understand where a character tries but fails to create certain impressions.

Using the three types of astrology signs seems like a pretty nifty and useful trick for creating realistic characters. It probably should, since the poster admits they got it from a creative writing class. Maybe everyone else has already heard of this method and uses it profusely, which would make me rather late in the game, but I know I’ll be referring back to this post several times, at least, when coming up with new characters.

And the link again.

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