Developing Your Characters Using Astrology – Part 5

© November 2010 by Fabienne Lopez

This is post #5 and the last in my series on how writers can use the 4 elements (fire, earth, air and water) to help them develop characters and plots. Previous posts can be found herehere, here and here.

astrology fiction writingDeveloping a character for a story can be a painstaking process. Each author has a favorite method for transforming a flat, stereotypical character to a compelling and riveting one. Some writers prefer using storyboards, index cards. Others resort to charts, visual aides, or lengthy questionnaires.

A little know resource to help writers in this task is just some basic astrology. Something as simple as using the 4 elements (fire, earth, air and water) can provide information to come up with a minutia of details that can make your character come alive.

water elementThe Water Element: Concept and Keywords

Some keywords that describe this element and consequently the water signs (Cancer, Scorpio and Pisces) are:
• compassionate, psychic, artistic, intuitive, helpful, reflective
• self-indulgent, exaggeration, fantasizes, controlling, hysterical
• addictive, broody, caring, compassionate, destructive, dreamy,
• easy-going, emotional, feeling, grasping, healing, hoarding,
• impressionable, kind, sensitive, moody, over-emotional,
• protective, receptive, revengeful, sacrificial, smothering,
• spiritual, supportive, sympathetic, untidy, affectionate,
• sentimental, romantic, creative, contemplative, mystical,
• reflective, private, introspective, subtle, observant, wise.

This list of keywords is a starting point to understand what motivates your water character what is their secret shame, deepest aspirations, or greatest fears and joy.

Below more details on the traits and attributes of the water element that can be used to your draw the inner conflicts of your character.

The Water Element Characters’ Positive Traits and Attributes

A water character exhibits the following personality traits:
• A character who is sensitive and is in touch with his feelings;
• A character who is highly intuitive with many hunches;
• Someone very open about his feelings with great emotional depth;
• A romantic who wants to be in committed relationships;
• Someone who is comfortable being affectionate;
• A character who loves to “mother” their partner, children and friends;
• A creative type who express himself through photography, art, dance, music and poetry;
• A compassionate care-giver with a comforting style;
• A character who is calm and forceful in crisis situations;
water element in astrologyThe Water Element Characters’ Negative Traits and Attributes

Let’s now have a quick look at the downside qualities of the water element that gives more depth to the shadow side of your character:

• A character who goes through a constant emotional roller coaster, from peaks of joy to abyss of despair;
• An impressionable and highly impractical character;
• Someone who lacks objectivity and takes things personally;
• Somebody who can “smother” his loved ones with his emotional needs;
• A character who becomes obsessed and vindictive when betrayed
• Someone who can be demanding and covetous when feeling insecure;
• A character overly protective and possessive

Each of the 4 elements (fire, earth, air and water) can make the task of constructing your characters much easier. The keywords, traits and attributes of each element allows you, as a writer, to create believable characters. As a result, they become real to your reader.

Each element is a canvas for a particular type of character. Need a down-to-earth hero? Check the earth element for strengths, conflicts, passions and quirks. A humanitarian type? The air element fits the bill. Fire provides you with a credible knight-in-shining armor type of hero. The water element is perfect for a sensitive, romantic hero.

I would love to hear from you. I want to know how using astrology helped you come up with better characters, scenes and dialogues for your story.

Please add your comments below and don’t’ forget to get updates by email now or get the RSS feed, if you haven’t already, so you don’t miss out the upcoming articles. Thank you and good writing!

Photos Credits: Flickr Creative Commons

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About Fabienne Lopez

Astrologer, Blogger, Life-Coach. My mission is to help you discover, develop and nurture your creativity no matter what transit you are going through.
This entry was posted in Astro Tips for Writers, Astrology, Writing and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

7 Responses to Developing Your Characters Using Astrology – Part 5

  1. Thanks for these articles on using astrology to create characters. I use personality systems such as the Enneagram and the MBTI personality systems to create my characters, but I like the idea of using the elements from astrology. This also ties in very nicely with the use of the Court Cards from the Tarot, because each of the minor arcana cards is also associated with one of the four elements. Thank you for your time and effort. :)

    • Fabienne says:

      Jenna:

      You are most welcome! Thank you for sharing your own method! I can see where the Enneagram, MBTI and Tarot can also be useful for character development. I agree that they are many ways that a writer can use to develop their characters. I just happen to believe astrology is one of the fun ways of doing it. I am also planning on doing a series with each sing as an archetype for a character. Please continue to share your experience. i would love to hear from you.

  2. Natalie says:

    Hi Fabienne. What a great site! I’ve been reading your posts with great interest, and I’m sure I’ll get a lot of inspiration from them. I’m supposed to be writing – I have two deadlines looming – and keep coming back here instead! I’ve never actually used astrology when developing characters, I usually let them develop through the story, so what happens in the story, affects them and they come alive from that. It’s very intuitive, and not always effective, I have to admit. My latest story, however, turned out a bit different. Because it’s a historic novel, I needed my hero to be born in the summer, so I figured him to be a Leo, only he just wouldn’t fit! He turned out to be this very sensitive man, with high ideals and a few anxiety attacks: he’s a policeman who also paints wonderful paintings – so I had to give him a February birthday instead. From there I got inspired to look at other main characters, and made a few adjustments. The apparent bad guy became the Leo/Gemini – lots of charm and lies and a huge ego. And the really bad guy – there was no contest, really – a Scorpio with a very heavy Pluto.
    Maybe that’s why I stumbled on to your site?
    Best wishes
    Natalie

    • Fabienne Lopez says:

      Hi Natalie:
      Welcome and thank you for the compliments. I am tickled pink.
      The description of your characters are spot on. No contests about Leo having a huge ego or Scorpio being a bad guy. The hero seems to correspond to Pisces (feb/march) sensitive, high ideals, creative, including his profession. Neptune is the ruler of Pisces and the 12th house which is the house of confinement and institutions such as hospitals, prisons and police. So that fits right in.
      For a summer birthday, with the sensitivity as main personality trait, you probably could go for a Cancer.
      My goal is to develop astrological tools for creative people, writers in particular, to help them with their project. Become a consultant for character and plot development using astrology.
      Please keep coming back as one of the main focus of my blog is to write about astrology and creativity.
      BTw, I am avid reader of romance novels. What have you published so I can check it out?

  3. Natalie says:

    Hi Fabienne. I have published 18 books so far (11 romance novels) – unfortunately they’re not in English! My first thriller in English will be published as an e-book sometime this summer, but it’s not very romantic, I’m afraid. My goal is to write a blockbuster – a very romantic one!
    I’ve sent you an e-mail!

  4. I wrote a little something up on this myself a while back . .

    http://empirecontact.com/character/astrology.html

    I wish I’d had your help with it!!

    • Fabienne Lopez says:

      Hi Michael:

      I read your article. It is well explained and I like it that it comes from a writer instead of an astrologer. It gives more strength to the idea. Astrology can also be utilized to better understand your creative personality: strengths, weaknesses and roadblocks and how to overcome them. That is my favorite part of astrology: the intersection of astrology and creativity.
      If you are interested in alternative methods for authors to create characters I would recommend Corinne Kenner’s book: Tarot for Writers. It’s similar to what I wrote except it uses Tarot cards instead of astrology.

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