I find astrology useful when I want to go into more depth with a character. If, for example, I know my hero is a Taurus, I can either look up the characteristics of a Taurus in one of my tarot books, such as Linda Goodman’s classic Sun Signs, or go to any of the numerous astrology websites and look up the traits there.
Let’s see what Linda Goodman’s book says about Taurus. What’s great about Goodman’s book is not only does she talk about the sign in general, but she also details what a Taurus man, woman, child, boss and employee would be like. And her writing is very personable and fun to read.
Here are some examples:
Taurus in General
“The bull seldom rushes forward to stomp on your toes. He simply wants to be left alone. Don’t disturb him and he’ll remain content. Press him and he becomes obstinate.”
The Taurus Man
“The bull may take a long time deciding if he wants you for his woman. He’s not going to execute a flashy swirl dive into a pool of romance and discover on the way down that someone forgot to fill it with water.”
The Taurus Boss
“He is determined to give everyone a fair break. He won’t judge hastily. He won’t expect miracles overnight, nor will he mind if you’re a little slow in catching on to his methods and his very set procedures.”
Linda Goodman’s Sun Signs is full of gems like the above and, personally, if you were to get only one book on astrological personalities, I’d recommend this one.
Ms. Goodman wrote another book on astrology Linda Goodman’s Love Signs. This book pairs up the different sun signs romantically, so if you wanted to know how your Taurus Man would fare with an Aquarius Woman, this book will help you. It’s also a fun read and whenever I read it I can’t help seeing my characters in action.
Another book on romantic astrological couplings is Cosmic Coupling by Starsky & Cox. This book, however, doesn’t just focus on heterosexual astrological pairings. It also address both gay and straight pairings.
Another helpful book is The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Sextrology, which will give you some ideas of the sexual traits of each sign.
Finally, if you find that most astrology books focus too much on positive traits, try Born on a Rotten Day – Illuminating and Coping with the Dark Side of the Zodiac by Hazel Dixon-Cooper.
What about that Taurus we were talking about earlier? Sounds like a pretty nice guy, right?
Well, if you look up the sign of Taurus in Born on a Rotten Day you’ll find that he can also be jealous, possessive and obsessive. Piss him off and he’ll hold a grudge. Seriously hold a grudge.
I’ve found that Born on a Rotten Day is really helpful for either coming up with negative traits for my characters to balance out the positive ones or for creating villains or antagonists.
And, of course, you don’t have to believe in astrology to use it for creating characters. Just think of it as another tool in your toolbox of techniques and strategies for NaNoWriMo.
Oh, and I just remembered. Corrine Kenner wrote a book called Astrology for Writers.