Wednesday, August 3, 2011

WACKY WEDNESDAY...What's Your Sign?

Tonight's ear tease: Made for You courtesy of One Republic

From the corner of your eye you spy him walking across the room. Quickly, you drop your eyes to the drink in front of you, literally counting bubbles and hating your girlfriend's sudden need to check out the restroom facilities. Your heart pushes against your ribs. Surely, he'll walk past. But, he doesn't. He eases a hip onto the bar stool next to you...not the empty one next to it, or the next one. You exchange menial pleasantries while he orders whatever you're having, so cliche, but you smile when the surprise pucker forms on his lips. Ginger ale with a lemon twist. Once he's over the shock of nothing alcoholic flowing through his veins, he strikes up light conversation. You exchange names, giving him your girlfriend's instead. After all, it's only fair after she abandoned you. Besides, his name is probably fake, too.

After a few minutes you relax, twisting a lock of hair around your index finger and laughing around the straw you now provocatively stroke with your lips. You scope his fingers for ring indentations or tan lines, then turn your gaze to mesmerizing eyes that seem to darken and twinkle at the same time. Just as you're mentally picking the colors of your monogrammed sheets, he asks you the ultimate question. Okay, well not the ultimate, but the one that decides whether you're going to have to tell him your real name before succumbing to moral debauchery. The words flow effortlessly over the lips you've been imagining locked on yours for the past ten minutes, each one enunciated on a low, breathy timbre. "What's your sign?" You're suddenly thrust into a time warp, landing you somewhere in the mid nineties.

But is it really a cheesy pick-up line, or a sincere question, asked for the purpose of getting to know a deeper layer of your true personality?

I'm an "Astrology junkie." Before I've open my second eye and just after my first decadent sip of coffee, I peruse one of my four horoscope pages (yes, I'm "star searching" for which one tells me the "future" I want to hear).  But more times than not, all four will have the same message, and usually spot on for what's going on in my life. True, sometimes they can be generic:  "you won't turn purple today," but sometimes they carry an ominous message, creating a few butterflies.

So how does the Zodiac universe play into my flash fiction above? When you're creating a character, you have to find out who they are. You write their basics: hair and eye color; height; race; etc. But have you ever considered when they were born. Give your characters a birthday. Then, check out their "sign." Study the personality traits associated with their "sign" and see if this doesn't help you in developing the character. If you've already created a character but didn't give them a birthday, think about what "date" you would assign. First one that comes to your mind: Month and day.  Check out the zodiac sign for the date and see how close you came to writing the character to their astrological personality.

In Designer Genes, I had my heroine a Gemini, but when her personality started taking shape, I found her birthday needed to be moved a week ahead. She was a "Cancer" through and through. My hero (and his twin brother) are Sagittariuses. They fit the profile perfectly from page one. But are they compatible? If you're having trouble getting the spark between your characters, they may not be compatible astrologically.

The best matches found in the zodiac are those that balance each other. Not only do you have a "sign," but you also have an "element." There are four elements: Fire, Earth, Air, and Water.  Those within the same element group share common traits that make for great business partnerships, friendships and marriages. Those who "compliment" each other also work, but those who are opposites? Well, you've got some great fireworks coming. Your "conflict" begins with your characters' personalities. Check your characters (and yourself) against the elements, once you know your sign. If you're in a relationship, are you compatible with your significant other? How about your other relationships? Your boss, coworkers, even your BFF. Can you see why you react, or how someone else reacts to you, based on their "sign" and "element."

Fire Signs:  Aries, Sagittarius and Leo. They are energetic and active, passionate, outgoing, and impulsive. 

Earth Signs:  Taurus, Capricorn and Virgo. They are practical, patient, stable and industrious.

Air Signs:  Gemini, Aquarius and Libra. They are expressive, intelligent, rational and broad-minded. 

Water Signs Cancer, Pisces and Scorpio. They are intuitive and emotional, empathetic, creative, and imaginative.

My element is Fire, (again, OMG - didn't see that one coming!). My personality traits under the sign of the Ram are: Born to lead (I only follow through spook alleys), stubborn (extremely), passionate (ahem...), courageous (debatable), and playful (I try not to take life too seriously).

Hubby is a Gemini, his "element" Air: Witty, charming, talkative (my husband can't have short conversations), and they tire easily of the same things (hubby is on his 16th Harley Davidson - color gets boring I guess). His nickname at work is "Buy, Sell, Trade" which fits perfectly. But are we compatible? Based on our "elements," his "Air" feeds my "Fire." I have a tendency to be quick tempered. His inability to "let go" or be "sharp tongued" pushes the wrong buttons at times, which can flare my anger fast. Lucky for him, I'm forgiving, but then again, Geminis have "selective memory" so he never thinks he's wrong.

See how it works? Make your hero and heroine opposites in the astrological realm and you've got some great scenes to weave into your story.

Next time someone wants to know your "sign," they may be trying to find out who you really are. So, are you compatible with those you live with? Are your characters compatible or will their relationship feel contrived because they're really not? Have them ask each other "what's your sign?" and see what you discover.

Your challenge this week? Research your zodiac personality and the element it carries. You may find out something "new" about your "old" self.  A couple of sites to check:  

As always, I appreciate you stopping by.



Sandy said...

It's amazing how close Linda Goodman's sun signs comes to actual personalities. She described my Taurus husband exactly. It's hard to judge yourself, but she was pretty accurate about me too (Cancer) -- and my son, I won't go there. He's a Pisces and he'll walk a mile to get his feelings hurt.
Great advice in building characters.

Anonymous said...

Very interesting post. A few years ago, I took a class on using the Tarot in your fiction. It helps me get past being stuck sometimes. I've never thought of using the Zodiac.

I think it's cool you know as much about it as you do. There really are some elements of truth to the philosophy of Zodiac. I'm a Pisces, and a lot of the basic traits are true for me.

Thanks for giving me such a cool idea to play with. :D

Alica McKenna Johnson said...

Love the intro! So much fun. I use astrology with my characters.
My friend as an astrology site
He is really good and really in-deapth! Going itno houses and planets and stuff I don't understand at all.

Joelene Coleman said...

Okay, Alica, just checked out your friend's blog. Looking for antidepressants. I've never liked the month of August, but with Mercury retrograde (I know you ALL understand this - I don't, but I sound convincing, huh?) basically we're in for a month of deception (anyone questioning the new budget bill voted on), misunderstood communications, mind wandering (I've been looking for mine for years) and loss of physical energy (yeah! a reason to not exercise). I guess I'll save all major decisions for September. A procrastinator's dream. Thank you "stars!"

Loretta Wheeler said...

Well, I'm a day late...didn't see this until today. I'm not worth spit this week.

I really enjoyed this subject Joelene...studied it in various ways a few years ago...I've even done a natal chart on helps...explains some of the "gaps":) I'm fire also, a sag.
but I have several planets in capricorn, so a little more down to earth;)
I never thought of plotting my character's star signs, but I think that's a great idea:)...I'll have to take a look at my first novel and see what I think about these folks now:)

Great post!


Ruth A Casie said...

Hi Joelene -

What a wonderful post. I had no idea you were in astrology, what a great hobby and what terrific insight. My sign is Aquarius and my husband is Aries. I'll have to look at the links you provided and take a look and see if after all these years we're compatible (*big smile*).

Also, what a a great idea - checking out the astrological signs of my characters.

Again a wonderful post. Thanks so much.

... Ruth

Joelene Coleman said...

Interesting...Aquarius is an AIR sign, not water. I love Numerology too. I always thought my hubby wasn't compatible according to the zodiac universe, but I'm thinking "Fire" kind of needs "Air" to keep growing, or at least that's the case for me. Thanks for stopping by!