The classic pick up line from the 70’s has become not so much an icon as a punchline. Sleazy guys in sleazy movies think it a cool way to show the girl at the bar they are interested in her. They often follow it with a line like, “Mine is penis rising.” Har-de-har-har. What a laugh, eh? NOT!
Like any of the sleaze bag guys have ever done any research into the character traits associated with each sign! Now, whether or not you believe in astrology matters not a whit. A LOT of your readers do. Otherwise, the daily paper wouldn’t print your horoscope and you couldn’t get horoscopes delivered daily to your e-ddress.
To a reader who follows astrology even a little, you can send a message about a character in your story by identifying the sign. For example, in Pastabilities, one of my books-in-progress, Rita is a Cancer. In-the-know readers will figure she is moody and mercurial. They expect her to be very emotional and prickly. She is a clinger who has trouble letting go. I now have a blueprint for how Rita will respond in situations I place her in. See how easy that is.
I have a file in my novels folder on astrological signs, what they mean, who the signs are compatible with, and who they are incompatible with.
I refer to the sign charts to find traits for my characters to build consistency of actions and motivations. For example, Cancer is a “personal” sign, meaning she is more aware of and interested in herself than in others. She is always seeking reassurance and secretly wants to feel safe financially, emotionally, and romantically. That segues beautifully into her role and how it plays out in the book.
One question on one of the character interview forms I use is, “What’s your astrological sign?” This is a great question. How well do you know your characters?
Read the zodiacal descriptors and pick the one closest to your character, then tighten up the character by explicitly including more of those traits in the story action. Be consistent with the trait building and your characters should have interesting interactions with others.
Another way to use astrological charts is to read the descriptors and start doing character sketches without a book in mind. Getting some great master characters developed could lead to a book problem. What happens when an emotional Cancer and a cool, collected Taurus meet? Can they fall in love? Will they complement one another’s strengths or will they tear one another apart? Are their odds so at cross-purposes they cannot work together?
It’s your book. What will happen? Can’t wait to read it!