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One of the most challenging parts of writing fiction is crafting characters who feel like real people. And if you’re someone who has written multiple books like I have, you might find it hard to come up with characters who feel real and who are also different from the other characters you’ve written.
Personally, I’ve tried a variety of characterization methods. I used to just write on instinct and allow the characters to develop as the story did, but when I do that now, the characters all come out the same. Which doesn’t work well for romances especially since romance stories are interesting because of the characters.
I’ve also tried crafting characters using personality types like Myers-Briggs and type A versus type B, but for some reason, those never work for me.
Recently, however, I’ve been getting into astrology, and with my current work in progress, I tried planning according to three facets of the zodiac—the sun sign, the moon sign, and the rising or ascendant sign. Choosing these three dimensions of each character helped me to solidify them in my mind before I started writing, and it’s something I plan on doing for my future projects as well.
I will go into brief detail about each of these three zodiac signs and how I use them to plan characters. As a disclaimer, I am not an expert in astrology by any means. I have a casual interest and a basic understanding of some aspects of it.
The Sun Sign
A person’s sun sign is the sign everybody talks the most about. It’s the sign that calls the shots and describes a person’s core personality. This sign is the overall essence of your character.
For example, if your character is a Sagittarius, they are probably an optimist. They prize freedom and hate being tied down, and they are honest—sometimes to a fault.
The Moon Sign
A person’s moon sign characterizes their inner self. This sign can help you come up with the things your character yearns for emotionally. It can also illuminate how your character might feel and act when they are vulnerable.
Your Sagittarius character might be a Cancer moon. This means on the inside, they are emotional and prone to moodiness. They are also protective and yearn for a safe home.
The Rising or Ascendant Sign
A person’s rising sign or ascendant sign is their outer self, or the mask they show to the world. This is the personality your character projects or wishes to project to others.
Your Sagittarius sun, Cancer moon character might be a Leo rising. The mask they wear is generous and warm, but they may also come off as arrogant and self-centered.
What I’ve given are very basic explanations, but hopefully you can see how these three signs can help you create dynamic, three-dimensional characters. If you are writing a romance, you can look at zodiac sign compatibility and create interesting pairings based on compatible or incompatible sun, moon, and rising/ascendant signs. You can also look at compatibility when it comes to creating friendships and rivalries in your fiction.
You can get much more detailed when it comes to the zodiac. For instance, you can take into account whether each sign is cardinal, mutable, or fixed, which element the sign is associated with, which planet rules it, and more. But looking at the signs and their traits is good enough for fleshing out a character.
Below are links to several webpages that explain personality traits of the different zodiac signs and some that cover compatibility as well.