Sometimes, especially when initially creating a character, it’s difficult to get a good feel for the person this character represents. Sometimes, if you just toss the character into the plot and start writing, the character will begin asserting himself. Other times, not so much. If a character remains flat, it may be time to cheat. One of my favorite ways to add layers of dimension to a character (and to help me understand my character better) is to use a book of the Zodiac that includes both sun and moon signs. I decide which astrological sign best fits my character, then I research that sign to add some dimension.
The sidebar contains the supposed characteristics of people born between certain dates. Notice that only the three or four adjectives that are strongest for the sign are listed. Within a book of the Zodiac, you will find many more characteristics, including a breakdown of how this sign behaves in romance, in the office, and at play.
Using the range of dates listed for the selected sign, I then use a “birthday” book that lists characteristics and traits by birthday, and page through the selected astrological dates until I find the personality that truly fits this character. This often creates an “aha!” moment and is quite fun to do. The birthday books give enough of a character profile that we can feel like we truly know this character. It’s amazing how quickly a flat character can come to life.
Zodiac and birthday characteristic books can often be found in the bargain bin of your favorite book retailer. The “accuracy” of such books is not important—they are simply a tool that can be used to add depth to a character.