When you feel that first spark of inspiration for a new character it all seems like fate -perfectly falling into place, you manage to construct the perfect look, the right backstory, a detailed family, and most importantly – a fascinating personality that will pull your readers along for the ride.
BUT once you’ve gone down that rabbit hole it all becomes clear – how do they speak, what’s their income like, what do they think of themselves, do they have any disabilities etc. etc. it’s quite the task isn’t it?
If by the way you’re wanting to get into those detailed parts of character creation then pop on over to my favourite website for writing Well Storied and check out Kristen Kieffer’s amazing workbook for character creation.
Onto the topic of astrology then… I’ve got a secret to let you all in on…
The easiest way to create a well rounded personality for your character is through zodiac signs.
‘The Secret Language of Birthdays’ is one of the best resources I have ever come across for getting to know my characters so that I can get on with writing their story. Goldschneider and Elffers go into great detail for every day of the year – providing so much information that you’ve got an almost full fledged personality right there on the page for you. Now of course it wouldn’t make sense to trudge through all 817 pages of this book every time you have a new character so here’s what I do:
- The beginning of the book has a few pages that give you a general idea of each zodiac sign and what personality traits they have – use this to get a rough idea of where in the year your character would be born (or just google the signs for the same effect).
- Then using this information you can go through that one sign to find the best day to suit your character’s personality.
Once you’ve found the right day it can fill you in on many aspects of your character’s life and mindset. The double page spread of each day includes:
- A summary of what people born on this day are like.
- What period of their zodiac sign they fit into.
- The element of this day (or month).
- Relevant numbers and planets to this day of the year.
- Which tarot cards have importance for people born on this day.
- What this character’s health might be like.
- Advice for people born on this day.
- Their strengths and weaknesses.
- Which season they belong too.
- And a meditation mantra.
Now some of that you may look at and think, ‘why do I need to know the element it’s connected too? Why do I care about tarot & planets?’ Well… they may just be the kind of motifs, symbols or Easter eggs your novel needs!
Of course, I’m sure a fair amount of you don’t believe in astrology in real life (although it’s pretty fun to read what it has to say about your birthday – mine is scarily accurate), but it does not matter whether you believe it to be true or not – this book can give you a personality for your characters that means you don’t have to spend quite so much time trying to make that character believable. It’s worth checking out for sure.
What reference books do you use when creating characters? Do you use any at all? Let me know in the comments below!