Have you ever searched the phone book, your book shelf, or read movie credits in search of a perfect character name? Or maybe the Kabalarian Philosophy and other sites like this?
I have and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
When I was a teenybopper hunched over my kiddie tea table and making hen tracks across college-ruled notebook paper, I relied on the force of a name to reveal personality. It was enough for me back then–when I was fourteen. I had such fun before the rules of writing began feeling like a wedgie.
I miss those days. I really do.
Now I know a name isn’t a personality–I need more than just a name. Character worksheets don’t help. Statistics don’t help. Cutting out actor’s faces and taping them to the corner of my computer monitor kind of helps.
Writing flashes help.
But before I start considering eye color, hair length or body weight, I consult my 1978 dog-eared copy of Linda Goodman’s LOVE SIGNS and page number 13: The Twelve Initiations of Love. I am a romance writer, but I’m sure this could work for any genre. Whether you’re writing fantasy, sci-fi or mystery, generally people want the same thing. Linda Goodman wrote it like this:
“Love is man’s and woman’s deepest need. It’s not the threat of illness or poverty that crushes the human spirit, but the fear that there is no one who truly cares–no one who really understands.”
Based on her The Twelve Initiations of Love, I’ll use my heroine, Shaine, as an example.
I knew enough about the story I wanted to write to know how certain life experiences caused Shaine to grow up distrustful, guarded and reticent–but that she’s more than a wallflower. Still, she had a lesson to learn and a lesson to teach (as we all do), which helped define her character for me.
After careful consideration of page 12, which is an astrological basic definition of mystery/love nature, I decided Shaine is a Virgo. She was born knowing love is pure, she feels it, demonstrates it easily, but she needs to learn that love is also fulfillment. However, I imagined her life as being an unconscious struggle with this.
Deciding she was a Virgo was easy–the words damn near leaped off the page in boldface type at me. Not to mention, her Virgo-ness should help me enrich the rest of her characterization, especially when I’m unsure about how she’d react to someone, or in a certain unsavory situation.
Once I decide on an astrological sign for my heroine, I go after my hero. Capricorns are experienced, mature and know that love is wisdom. Well, that was Daren all over, I thought.
Imagine my surprise when I looked up the love component of these two sign’s compatibility. It was coincidence, but I’ll take it as a sign, oh yeah.
According to Linda Goodman:
…Both Virgo and Capricorn are emotionally guided in their love relationship by the 5-9 Sun Sign Pattern, the most basically compatible vibration the planets see fit to bestow upon mortals.
And there I go, almost without trying. I’ve got oodles of examples and reasons for those examples in my trusty dog-eared book.
To recap: I had a glimmer of an idea of who my two main characters are, chose an astrological sign based on my ideas, the better to refer to Linda Goodman’s SUN SIGNS when in doubt about their actions or reactions with each other and in life. Simplistic? Maybe. But whatever works for me, in my opinion.
Linda Goodman covers all the basics, almost anything you need to know about the interaction between a female Virgo and a male Capricorn–as co-workers, relatives, or lovers. And in a wonderfully engaging voice, as if she’s sitting across from you at the table, trading smiles and confidences over Bailey’s laced coffee.
Since the early 1980s, I’ve been referring to Linda Goodman’s LOVE SIGNS.
Admiring her lyrical writer’s voice.
You should see this book. It’s absolutely fascinating.
But don’t take my word for it.
Andi (Unhinged) is an Aries who was born to teach that love is innocence, and to learn that love is trust.