Arcs and Stars
March 2, 2012 6 Comments
I’ve attended many writer workshops on characterization that led me to using the basics of astrology to create my characters in my stories. I recently developed my own workshop on this, and just sent off an article about it to a trade magazine. I began my new project using my new process. But for reasons known only to the universe, I chose to stop the new project for a few weeks and finish an old one that I had pulled off the shelf last year to work through with my new critique partners. The pictured inspiration booklet was made for me by one of these amazing women.
As I reviewed the manuscript this week I could see it was pretty good but missing strong conflict. There were lots of little and delightful conflicts. The Scorpio hero has some powerful and deep baggage but the Gemini heroine was too good at tap dancing around her issues. I finally realized that this story was created before I figured out my new character arc process I had only written up two weeks ago.
At the bellydance/Zumba class I attend with Jessa Slade, I told her about this and as she also uses astrology to create her characters she nodded and stated, “Physician, heal thyself.”
I already had lunch plans on Thursday with my sister Sherri, the astrologer. I showed her the graphs I’d made and she was impressed. We spent the next few hours, while shopping and dining, discussing how bad things should be for these characters. It was awesome to realize all the potentials are already woven through the plot, setting, supporting cast, and twist points. All I needed was someone able to read the charts I’d created to point out the deep conflicts.
So here’s a snapshot of my process:
Michael Hauge describes the character arc as the emotional journey from identity to essence. In astrology, the essence is the Sun Sign, the identity is the Rising Sign, and the emotions are the flavor of the Moon.
All the zodiac signs relate to one of four basic elements – earth, air, fire, and water. So I create my protagonist using a separate element to represent their Identity, Essence and Emotions. This means there is a missing element. That element will be represented with the antagonist (I write romance and both the heroine and hero are protagonist-antagonist to each other) and only by embracing this missing element is there potential for a happily-ever-after with all four elements of mother earth present and in balance at the end.
There’s more to my process but it’s an hour long workshop dealing with the age of the wound and the protective onion layer to be peeled away. But today, for me, knowing the process and putting it into practice was my lesson, and it was awesome.