A good character is as important to good fiction as it is to a good life.

Because no matter how moving or clever or fast-paced the story – if you, dear reader, don’t find my characters both interesting and accessible, you won’t continue to read.

Character = Action = Motivation

Syd Field (The Screenwriter’s Workbook):

Great – it’s all about motivation – but how do you find what that is?

With astrology, that’s easier than it sounds.

When I create a character, I first draw up their natal (birth) chart– that way I can get a deep-down feel for who – and what – they are at their core.  Sure I made up their chart– I’m making them up too.  That doesn’t stop my character from possessing the ‘ring of truth’ that (hopefully) keeps you reading.

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Motivation = that ‘something’ (or bundle of ‘something’s’) that initiates, guides, and maintains goal-oriented behaviour –  that which your character wants, needs, or fears that drives the action.

Astrologically, I believe motivation is primarily symbolised by the placement and connections of three natal planets:

  1. Venus = that which your character ‘wants’ – finds pleasing, stimulating, rewarding, validating (affirms her sense of self worth) = Venusian energy is a very selfish energy as it operates through differentiating between self and another (“I’m prettier than she is…”) 
  2.  Moon = that which your character ‘needs’– finds comfortable, nurturing, necessary for continued life = Lunar energy is a very clingy, suffocating energy as it operates through symbiosis and fusion (“I’ll never leave you if you…”)
  3. Saturn = that which your character ‘fears’ – gives him the strength to carry on and establish the boundaries that keep him healthy and whole = Saturnine energy is very uncomfortable as it behaviourally reprograms us through shame and guilt (“You made such a fool of yourself, you won’t do that again soon…”)

Some common motivations associated with the twelve zodiac signs (each manifesting in it’s unique way- which is where ‘character’ really comes in):

  • Challenge = Aries, Capricorn, Scorpio, Cancer and Sagittarius
  • Curiosity = Gemini, Aquarius, Sagittarius, Virgo, and Pisces
  • Competition = Aries and Scorpio
  • Control = Scorpio, Taurus, Cancer, and Leo
  • Recognition/ Security = Capricorn, Taurus, Leo, and Cancer
  • Cooperation/Collaboration = Libra and Aquarius
  • Fantasy/Escape = Pisces
  • Revenge =  Scorpio
  • Reform = Aquarius

For example, Abby (the heroine in my new novel, The Curve of Capricorn) has:

  • Venus in Aquarius
  • Saturn in Libra
  • Moon in Aries

She wants justice (Libra and Aquarius) and forward thinking reform (Aquarius).

She needs challenge and competition (Aries).

But above all, she fears collapsing cultural cornerstones and the loss of not just relationship, but the possibility for true partnership where all the parts work synergistically as a whole (Libra).

And wouldn’t you just know it, it’s precisely that which she fears that Abby’s going to get.

2 Comments on “The Makings of a Good Character – Motivation

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