“What’s Your Sign?”—Developing Characters from the Cosmos

Sharon Arthur MooreAfter 39 years as an educator, Sharon Arthur Moore “transitioned” to the life of full-time fiction writer. She’s an intrepid cook, game-player, and miniatures lover. She experiments and creates new dishes all the time. Too bad if her husband likes a dish; she may be unable to replicate it.

She writes culinary mysteries, women’s fiction, historical fiction, short stories, plays, paranormals (under the pen name River Glynn), and erotic romance (under the pen name Angelica French). The first book in the culinary mystery series, Mission Impastable, just came out. Prime Rib and Punishment is the second book in the series that should be out by year’s end.

Sharon has lived in every region of the country except the Pacific Northwest and loved every single one of them. Her current favorite region is the desert Southwest. She is married to the most extraordinary man and claims four children, one daughter-in-law, a grandson, and yellow lab Maudie.

You can find Sharon at:

Facebook  //  Twitter  //  Pinterest 

Her blogs: Parsley, Sage and Rosemary Time and Write Away

Her YouTube videos: Mission Impastable Book Trailer and Hermosillo Salsa

Email: authorsam@gmail.com

Purchase Mission Impastable here.

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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. When our paper dropped the daily astrology section, there was an up-roar.

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 Mission Impastable, my just-published culinary mystery, secondary character 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 computer file in my novels folder on astrological signs, what they mean, who the signs are compatible with, and who they are incompatible with.

Mission ImpastableI 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 problem to solve in your book. 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!

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6 thoughts on ““What’s Your Sign?”—Developing Characters from the Cosmos

  1. I do this same thing! My instincts were to make my character my sign, but I knew she wasn’t me so I read the descriptions. Determined that she’s a Taurus (my rising sign). I have Pinterest boards for each of my books, and her astrological sign is featured prominently on each of those boards. Also fun to see who was compatible and who was not! And it’s also good to know when your character is about to have a birthday, because it could influence the plot (or just be an excuse for cake).

    Nice post!

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    • Thanks for stopping in to comment. It’s fun to find another author who uses the same strategies. And how many do we do automatically without even thinking other authors might want to know about them? I hope to see you on my other sites.

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  2. Sharon, that’s a fabulous idea! I like doing it with enneagrams, but either way the ability to pick a ready-made archetype off a list and create aspects of the character which tie into it is such a handy thing.

    I’ll bet with astrology, just like enneagrams, writers who aren’t aware of the system are blown away when they discover that a character they’ve created already DOES fit a certain type…they instinctively know what’s right!

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    • Yes, I love your enneagram work, Laurie. There are so many systems out there categorizing people that make it easy to be consistent with character building. And you’re certainly right that we do KNOW our characters and then discover they’ve been discovered and may not be as unique as we thought! Ha! But part of the joy of reading characters is that they feel familiar to us. Thanks for coming by and commenting! Much appreciated!

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