To all the writers who have ever been told “Your characters have to be three dimensional!” or “They should be well-rounded!” and just felt like saying: “What does that even MEAN?! What goes into a 3-dimensional character? Specifically? And how do you go about creating one?!”
Good news. There’s a way.
Great main characters – heroes, protagonists, deuteragonist, whatever you want to call them – have ten things in common. Ten things that are easily developed, once you know what to create within your character. So no one will ever be able to tell you “needs to be more three dimensional!” ever again. Ha.
1) Weaknesses: Main characters should be flawed, but I’m not saying this because it will make them more realistic (though it will) – I’m saying they need to be flawed because if they’re not, they shouldn’t be a main character. Story is another word for change, or more accurately, character growth. Not character as in “fictional person”, character meaning “heart and soul”. Story is someone’s character changing, for better or worse. Main characters at the beginning of the story are lacking something vital, some knowledge of themselves, some knowledge of how to live a better life, and this void is ruining their lives. They must overcome these weaknesses, if they’re going to become complete, and reach a happy ending. There are two types of weaknesses: Psychological and Moral. Psychological ones only hurt the main character. Moral ones cause the main character to hurt other people. Easy.
2) Goal: Characters exist because they want something. Desiring something, and the fight against opposition for that desire, is the lifeblood of story; and because character is story, it’s also desire that can breathe life into words on a page, and begin the process of creating a real person in a reader’s mind. It’s this ‘desire for something’ that sparks that first connection between reader and character. It makes us think “Well, now I have to find out if this person gets what they want.” This is a powerful link. (How many mediocre movies do we suffer through, when we could easily stop watching, because we’re still trapped by that question of “what happens?”) So if this is powerful enough to keep people watching an annoying movie, imagine how powerful it can be in an excellent story.
Like in Up, the goal is to get the house to Paradise Falls.
3) Want: If the main character wants something, they want it for a darn good reason. Usually, they think that attaining the goal will fill the void they can sense in their lives, the deficiency they can feel, but don’t know how to fix. And they’re almost always wrong. Getting the goal doesn’t help anything; which is why, while pursuing that goal, they discover a deeper need that will heal them. Which brings us to …
4) Need/Elixir: Main characters are missing something, a weakness in their innermost selves is causing them to live a less-than-wonderful life. Through story, these main characters can be healed. Once they discover what’s missing, and accept it, and change the way they live to include this truth they’ve uncovered … they’re healed. Learning this truth, whatever it is, forms the purpose of the story for the main character. The reader, and the character, think the story is about achieving that big tangible goal the premise talks about; really, underneath it all, the story is about someone achieving a big intangible truth, that will ultimately save their life and future. Often, this need is exactly what the character fears or professes to hate.
Like Finding Nemo, where Dory states exactly what Marlin needs to learn.
Not this kind of ghosts.
Ghosts are events in your character’s past which mark the source of their weaknesses and strengths. Because these happened, the character became who they are. All we need to know about backstory are these moments, because who the character became is all we care about. There’s really only one ghost you absolutely need: the source of their moral and psychological weakness. Something happened that knocked the character’s world off kilter, and everything from that moment onward has been tainted by what happened. This moment haunts them (hence the name), and holds them back from uncovering that need that will heal their weaknesses. Pixar are masters of this: the source of Carl being stuck in the past, curmudgeonly, unable of loving anyone new? Ellie dying; his ghost. In Finding Nemo, the source of Marlin being suffocating, protective to the point of being harmful, possessive, and fearful? His wife and 99% of his children being eaten in front of him; his ghost.
6) True Character: These are the strengths, values, convictions, fears, faults, beliefs, worldview, and outlook on life that make the main character who they truly are.
7) Characterization: This is everything on the surface of a main character. The way they look, talk, act, etc. All of this originates from those deeper elements of their being, the strengths, values, ghosts, weaknesses, needs, that make them who they truly are. So often, you can think of this as a facade they’re projecting, a way to shield the the truth about themselves, how they wish to be perceived. The story, and the other characters, are slowly going to see deeper than this characterization, revealing more and more of the reasons it is the way it is.
8) Arc: If the character is going to change from “Incomplete Person” to “Complete Person” there’s going to be a journey they go on to make that possible. The external story, the pursuit of that big tangible goal the premise is about, is causing an inner journey to take place. What they have to do in pursuit of that external goal will apply pressure to those weaknesses, and pressure causes change. This process has seven steps, but if I write it all here this post is going to be obscenely long. So I might wait and give this its own post.
9) Changed Person: Who is the character going to be at the end of this story? They better be different, or else the story didn’t work. How do they show how different they’ve become? What is the moral choice they make, that spins their trajectory from “the future doesn’t look so great” to “happily ever after”? This should be known right away, maybe even before anything else is settled about the character. This gives a distinct end goal, a way to work backwards, a destination in mind that you can navigate towards.
10) Fascination and Illumination: The surface characterization, and the brief glimpses of the true character underneath create curiosity in the reader/audience. What the character says, and the implied subtext beneath the dialogue, creates a puzzle the audience wants to solve. Actions they take work the same way; if the writer indicates there’s deeper motivation behind why a character behaves in the way they do, we buy into solving that mystery right away. We can’t help it. “Who are you really? Why are you the way you are? And how is that going to effect the story?” These are all the unspoken, almost not consciously acknowledged, questions that fascinating characters provoke. Searching out meaning, connecting the dots to find the truth – we can’t resist this. We’re not fascinated by tons of backstory and exposition about a character; we’re fascinated by story, by mystery, by the technique of withholding information and having to interpret and hunt out the truth on our own. So gradually, the story and the characters will force that character to reveal a little more, and a little more, until we have a complete picture of who this person is. Crucial that this information isn’t told up front. Gradually illuminate it. It’s just like getting to know a real person.
So how does this work in a real character? Let’s take a look at Flynn Rider/Eugene Fitzherbert, because almost everybody has seen that movie.
Moral Weaknesses: He’s selfish. He’s a little greedy. He’s a little rude. He uses his charisma and bravado to keep people at a distance from the real him.
Psychological Weaknesses: Insecurity, fear of vulnerability, feels like the real him (Eugene) would be unwanted, unlovable, and have nothing – just like when he was an orphaned kid. Also, he doesn’t know who he wants to be, what he wants to live for.
Goal: Flynn wants to get that crown. So he has to get Blondie to see the floating lights, so she’ll give it back to him, and then they can part ways as unlikely friends.
Want: Why does he want the crown? What does it mean for him? He actually states it (reluctantly) in song: “I have dreams like you, no really. Just much less touchy feely. They mainly happen somewhere warm and sunny. On an island that I own, tanned and rested and alone. Surrounded by enormous piles of money.” He senses there’s something off in his life, something is missing. But he mistakenly believes this missing piece is money, which will allow him to buy a lonely island, where he can live out his days as Flynn and no one will ever know Eugene.
Need: “All those days chasing down a daydream. All those years living in a blur. All that time never truly seeing, things the way they were. Now she’s here, shining in the starlight. Now she’s here, suddenly I know. If she’s here, it’s crystal clear, I’m where I’m meant to go.” He wants a crown … he needs to fall in love with Rapunzel. He needs to love something more than himself, and find out that love isn’t something to fear and push away. He needs to abandon the 'Tales of Flynnagin Rider’ ambition, and get a more worthwhile, new dream.
Ghost: The source of all of his weaknesses can be linked to his “little bit of a downer” childhood as an orphan. Interestingly, he isn’t aware of another facet of that ghost, and Rapunzel points it out to him. “Was he a thief too?” she asks. He looks taken aback, before answering “Uh, no.” Something’s gone wrong. The choices he’s making are not living up to that original role model.
Characterization: Flynn’s charming, funny, smart, charismatic, and arrogant (in a somehow charming sort of way). He’s also rude, contemptuous, and sarcastic. All traits that help him keep up that 'swashbuckling rogue’ facade, and push people away from the real him.
True Character: Underneath all that, he’s a Disney prince. That pretty much sums it up.
Changed Person: “Started going by Eugene again, stopped thieving, and basically turned it all around.” He started the story as the guarded and evasive Flynn, he ends as the selfless and thoroughly-in-love Eugene.
Fascination and Illumination: Imagine if everything about Flynn had been told, right up front. We know he’s an orphan, we know he’s upheld a fake reputation, we know he’s a kind and loving guy underneath it all, we even know about his “tales of Flynnagin” childhood dream. You know what happens? We like him … but we’re not interested in him. There’s nothing we need to find out. There’s no curiosity. And if there’s no curiosity, and nothing being illuminated, your story’s not going anywhere. So instead, we find out – alongside Rapunzel – more about Flynn as the story progresses. And that is how it should be.
Developing characters in this way, I’ve found, really reduces worries about how “well-rounded” and three dimensional I’ve made them. They feel real to me. And besides helping me create characters, this ten element technique has also let me analyze characters I like, which is strangely fun. It’s a great way to figure out why a character works, what causes them to be so effective, and how you can go about creating them yourself.
Yeah, I’m a bit of a nerd.
But if you want, try it out. Develop a character. Analyze a character. You might find it as useful/fun as I do.
In my searches for THE TRUTH, I’ve done a lot of listening. I’ve listened to haunted houses to hear ghosts from other dimensions. I’ve listened to radio signals from the cosmos for signs of alien life. But on my most recent quest to help the Crystal Gems, I forgot to listen to someone very important: the Crystal Gems. If you wanna help someone else, you can’t make it all about you - no matter how sweet your KATANA BLADES may be! You gotta listen and help spread their words.
I’ve also learned that HUMANS NEED TO SLEEP. I didn’t sleep for 48 hours and I PASSED OUT FOR DAYS. I woke up on the floor in the foyer of my house. My dad said that’s as far as he could drag me with his bad back. From now on, I’m sticking to my normal schedule of 16 hours of sleep a night.
Anyway, if you’re in Beach City, come grab a Ronalphlet and learn how you can help the Crystal Gems!
Since “deep web” just means any part of the Internet that’s not indexed by search engines, if you have search engine indexing turned off on your Tumblr blog, you can with complete truthfulness claim to be running a deep web site.
This is an in-progress list, so more titles and categories will be added, but feel free to reblog and/ or add something!
4th Man Out- A gay man goes through the process of coming out to his aggressively straight buddies. Comedy with a happy ending.
Adam & Steve- Ridiculous series of events during a relationship between two men. Bad comedy with a happy ending.
Beautiful Thing- A teenager dealing with his preoccupied mother falls in love with a classmate. Happy Ending.
Blue is the Warmest Colour- Coming-of-age romantic drama between two teenage girls. Unhappy ending.
Brokeback Mountain-A complex emotional and romantic relationship between two men in the American West develops between 1963 and1983. Unhappy ending.
Carol- A forbidden affair between a young photographer and an older woman going through divorce during the 1950s. Happy Ending.
Capital Games- Two men fighting for the same position in a company struggle with their feelings for each other when forced to do a team-building exercise as part of a business retreat. Happy ending.
Dog Day Afternoon- Hostage drama based on the true story of a man who held up a bank to fund his partner’s bottom surgery. Unhappy ending.
Milk- Documentary about the life and death of pioneering gay politician Harvey Milk. Unhappy ending.
My Beautiful Laundrette- A young man living in london reunites with an old friend, eventually developing a romantic relationship with him after offering him a job running a laundrette to get him off the streets. Happy ending.
My Own Private Idaho- Two friends embark on a journey of personal discovery that takes them to both Idaho and Italy. Unhappy ending.
Pariah- A Black butch lesbian slowly comes to terms with her identity. Ambiguous ending.
Pride- The story of an unlikely alliance between striking miners in a Welsh village and London gay rights activists. Happy ending.
Shelter- Gay surfers fall in love. Happy ending.
Show Me Love- Two teenage girls begin a tentative romantic relationship. Ambiguous ending.
Tangerine-A transgender sex worker discovers her boyfriend and pimp has been cheating on her. Ambiguous ending.
Tomboy- A ten-year-old experiments with their gender. Ambiguous ending.
The Weekend-A romantic drama of a brief, touching encounter between two men. Bittersweet ending.
Tropical Malady- A soldier arriving to investigate the mysterious slaying of animals and a farm boy strike up a connection. Ambiguous ending.
Camp Rewind- Two women strike up a romance at a summer retreat.
Never Lose Your Flames- A fire elemental and the bounty hunter being paid to arrest him fall in love.
Bad Boy- A transgender youtube star by day and vigilante by night, a job goes south and someone is out to ruin Ren’s life, leaving him struggling to clear his name.
Of Fire and Stars- A magic user and future queen falls in love with a princess, and her husband-to-be’s sister.
If I Was Your Girl- Trans romance written by a trans author
The Fifth Season- In the distant future, nature ravages the land, with a select few being able to control it. Main characters include a bi man, a gay man, and a trans woman.
Six of Crows (two book series)- A gang of thieves take on their most ambitious job yet- stealing a magic-enhancing drug. Features a lighthearted love story between a sharpshooter and the demolitions expert.
Into this River I Drown- A man searching for the truth behind his father’s death falls in love with his town’s guardian angel.
Not Your Sidekick- After failing to manifest powers, the local superhero duo’s daughter takes on an internship with their super-villain rival, and falls in love with her. Also has a trans boy.
Chameleon Moon- A group of people struggle to survive in a city of magic and turmoil. Has a married lesbian couple, several gay characters, and a nonbinary character.
Last Seen Leaving- After his sort-of-girlfriend vanishes, a closeted kid is forced to team up with another friend of hers, and develops feelings for him along the way
The Lightning-struck Heart- A wizard and a knight are sent to save the knight’s boyfriend, and fall hopelessly in love along the way. There’s also a gay dragon.
The Girl With the Crooked Fangs- A half-vampire develops a crush on her daring human friend.
Ice Massacre & Ice Crypt (two book series)- A mermaid hunter develops feelings for an old friend of hers, who happens to be one of the mermaids she’s sent to kill.
The Coldest Girl In Coldtown- Vampire story with a twist, and both a bisexual and transgender main character.
The Foxhole Court (3 book series)- Neil, a gifted Exy player with a rocky past, joins a competitive team. Several gay and bi characters, including the protagonist.
The Raven Cycle (3 book series)- A group of boys and a girl who serves as a psychic amplifier try to find and awaken a Welsh king. Stars a romance between a boy who can take things out of his dreams and a magician.
Shallow Graves- A girl awakens several feet underground, at the same moment when all birds in the nearby vicinity drop dead. She struggles to piece together the identity of the killer while finding out what she is. Bisexual protagonist.
In The Flesh- Kieran, a Partially Deceased Syndrome (PDS) sufferer, is brought back to live and returned home. He’s gay, as are various other characters.
Carmilla- Lesbian vampires! Plus a nonbinary character played by a nonbinary actor
Skam- The story of teenagers in a secondary school, with each season being told from a different characters point of view. Several gay main characters.
Shadowhunters- Hard to explain, but has both a gay and a bi character.
The Get Down- The lives of a group of nyc teens in the 1970′s, with two of the characters in the latest episode stopping just short of kissing
Torchwood- About an agency created to control alien beings. Lots of bi and gay characters.
The Magicians- A group of students at a college train to use magic and defend themselves against an enemy from another dimension. The protagonist of the series is a bisexual man, and there’s also another gay main character.
Affects: drastic changes, transformation, rebirth, inheritances, heightened intimacy and awareness, sensitivity, hidden truths, mysteries, psychological observation, sexual energies, increased intuition
What It’s Good For: manifestation spells/rituals, healing yourself and others, searching for the truth, investigating, letting go of your past and your hurt, embracing your sexuality, mourning your lost loved ones, learning more about yourself, discovering hidden motives, pursuing your passions, dealing with issues involving betrayal and secrets
The Chiron in Aries wound relates to your identity. Feeling like you are not worthy, that your qualities are not acknowledged and a fear that you have no value at all- all of these are indicators of an Aries Chiron. This is your silent wound: feeling unworthy and self-neglect, impotence of the self. This results in hypersensitivity to criticism, offended dignity and difficulty in asserting yourself. It also suggests physical abuse, wound, deformity and other issues.
The Chiron in Taurus wound relates to neglect. Feeling like you didn’t get enough of something (emotional, physical, material, mental, spiritual, etc), also expecting to receive more attention than you did, feeling unfulfilled and undernourished in some way- all of these are indicators of a Taurus Chiron. It all comes down to your sense of worth; a kind of void that won’t go away, and even if you try to fill it, you can’t as it seems like a dark hole. This is your silent wound: feeling neglected, in some way or another. Either because people don’t value you as much as you deserve to be; or because you’re expecting too much from them.
The Chiron in Gemini wound relates to a pain of doubting yourself, your ability to communicate clearly and feeling misunderstood. Feeling like you are not capable of speaking effectively, or that no one will listen to you or believe what you have to say- all of these are indicators of a Gemini Chiron. This is your silent wound. Even if you try to cover it up by emphasizing your mental capacities, you are very sensitive (psychologically) to what other people say.
The Chiron in Cancer wound relates to lack of nurture/ love. Feeling like you’ve been abandoned, or like you can’t form strong ties, personal protection and belonging issues, fearing challenges and seeking safety above all- these are indicators of a Cancer Chiron. It’s also very common for people with this placement to feel unworthy of love to some extent, and thus, always give more than what they get.
The Chiron in Leo wound relates to not being able to fully express the things that are within you. Feeling like people don’t give you the chance to shine, having a life that doesn’t stimulate your essence, not being able to feel joy at its fullest, not believing in your abilities, and not being recognized for your gifts and talents - all of these are indicators of a Leo Chiron. It all comes down to your self-expression; and this is your silent wound: lack of self-expression and hurting ego, in some way or another. Either because people don’t let you be yourself; they overlook your talents; or because you for some reason feel like you shouldn’t express yourself.
The Chiron in Virgo wound relates to compulsive behaviors fueled by perfectionism. Feeling like you can never do something perfectly, or that you are not good enough are indicators of this placement. It suggests anxiety, pressure and stress issues, uncontrollable urge to control everything around you/yourself as much as possible. Self-doubt is very common- you’re too critical at times. Your silent wound is the need to fix in order to make thing perfect.
The Chiron in Libra wound relates to hurtful relationships. Feeling like you trust the wrong people, getting hurt over and over, getting caught in a co-dependent relationship, unrequited love- all of these are indicators of a Libra Chiron. You may feel like people in general keep disappointing you, or maybe you feel like it’s you who are disappointing them. This is your silent wound: hurt when it comes to relationships. Either because they’re abusive or play with your feelings, or because they’ve made you cold and you don’t know how to trust anymore.
The Chiron in Scorpio wound relates to fear. It can have many manifestations, depending on which house it is placed: fear of loss, of the unknown, of persecution, confrontation, death or ever change. As Scorpio is also the sign of ‘power’, this position brings about many power issues, such as you being drawn to dangerous situations to feel empowered, or constant feeling like you’re out of control.
The Chiron in Sagittarius wound relates to feeling confined in a mundane existence. Wanting to break traditions or spiritual teachings, feeling like they have no deep wisdom, feeling like they can’t achieve glory, searching for the truth desperately - all of these are indicators of a Sagittarius Chiron. This is your silent wound: a desperate need to find meaning, in some way or another. It’s common for people with Chiron in Sagittarius to feel like they are an eagle inside, but are tied and cannot fly. There’s a lingering fear that you can never be glorious or live life like an adventure.
The Chiron in Capricorn wound relates to not being recognized. Feeling like you are not heard, that your efforts are not acknowledged and a fear that no one will listen to you and recognize your value- all of these are indicators of a Capricorn Chiron. It all comes down to how you’re seen regarding your potential. This is your silent wound: feeling underappreciated, in some way or another. Even if people recognize what you have to offer, in your own mind there’s always a deep-rooted fear of failing people, not doing your best at something or not succeeding, which would imply an identity crisis.
The Chiron in Aquarius wound relates to feeling different. Social rejection, fear of large groups of people, a need to withdraw from the public- all of these are indicators of an Aquarius Chiron. You may feel like you don’t belong, or you don’t share the same interests with the people around you, so you feel alone, isolated. This is your silent wound: not fitting in, somehow. Either because you’re disconnected from the world, or because you feel like the world disappoints you.
The Chiron in Pisces wound relates to the pain of disconnection. Feeling like you’re not “whole”, you’re not who you’re supposed to be, or that you can’t come to terms with higher forces or even with humanity in general- all of these are indicators of a Pisces Chiron. You can lack faith in yourself, in others and in the universe. You may feel like you can’t quite understand how the world works, like you know God works in mysterious ways but you can’t fully accept this. You don’t trust your ability to survive.
by crystal melbourne | within the zodiac | these are excerpts from my upcoming book. pre-order it via e-mail at email@example.com
Welcome to Andover… where superpowers are common, but internships are complicated. Just ask high school nobody, Jessica Tran. Despite her heroic lineage, Jess is resigned to a life without superpowers and is merely looking to beef-up her college applications when she stumbles upon the perfect (paid!) internship—only it turns out to be for the town’s most heinous supervillain. On the upside, she gets to work with her longtime secret crush, Abby, who Jess thinks may have a secret of her own. Then there’s the budding attraction to her fellow intern, the mysterious “M,” who never seems to be in the same place as Abby. But what starts as a fun way to spite her superhero parents takes a sudden and dangerous turn when she uncovers a plot larger than heroes and villains altogether.
That’s how long recovering addict Sophie’s been drug-free. Four months ago her best friend, Mina, died in what everyone believes was a drug deal gone wrong - a deal they think Sophie set up. Only Sophie knows the truth. She and Mina shared a secret, but there was no drug deal. Mina was deliberately murdered.
Forced into rehab for an addiction she’d already beaten, Sophie’s finally out and on the trail of the killer—but can she track them down before they come for her?
Transiting Venus in Gemini July 4, 2017 - July 31, 2017
From the clouds dozens of butterflies are released from Venus clams as Venus enters Gemini. A light airy planet in a light airy sign makes for a playful combination as the breeze blows in dazzling flittering socialites full of conversation and captivation. Venus in Gemini is a favourable time for parties, pizzaz, pizza and beer, because talking and deep conversation becomes evocative and most importantly, easy! But Venus in Gemini is not all superficial social encounters, the mind develops a love for learning, literature, and language. We love to read, we may even do our yearly book binge during this time. We love to write and share what’s on our romantic mind, ‘tis the season of love letters and constant flirty texting, it’s innocent and exciting. Venus is the esoteric ruler of Gemini so now they become sisters of love
Aries rising The blessing of friendships and connecting with other people becomes the sparkle of life, enjoying recreational pursuits and social organisations, appreciating the joy that friends bring into their life, it’s a time for shared pleasure. There is a genuine recognition for friends and associates and the generation of love for everybody in their life
Taurus rising Solitary nights of satiating study, reading, thinking, and delighting in personal research. The individual may become more isolated now, but not lonely, oh no, because this alone time is generating inspiring, creative ideas. They may enjoy those deep 3am conversations more than ever. There may be the development of a secret romance
Gemini rising Transforming into a mirror of beauty, the individual introduces pleasure and personal amusement into life. There is a real appreciation for beauty and a strong identification with relationships. This may be a more self indulgent time for the person, its beneficial for them to indulge, eat, laze, and love. There should be no guilt associated with their extravagance
Cancer rising Creative inspiration requires a material outlet, the individual may be especially stimulated by the muse and delight through creative expression - painting, drawing, designing, writing, even experimenting with personal style. There may be a lot of spending and focus on satisfying sensual desires. Favourable time for making money doing something they love
Leo rising The mind is alive and stimulated during this time, absolutely relishing in its thoughts, talents, and abilities. The individual can really indulge in conversation right now and be inspired by learning. There is freedom in the mind that may be rare, a certain flightiness and lack of rigidity. The individual communicates well with lovers, often resolving long term difficulties or feeling capable of expressing feelings.
Virgo rising Nothing is more pleasurable, comfortable, and indulging than the safety and warmth of home, lovers, and family. The individual enjoys the closeness and bonds of family and may spend a lot of time decorating and re designing the home. It can be especially fun to daydream and imagine right now. Spending time lost in memories can generate a kind of bliss
Libra rising Romances are abundant and captivating at present. The individual’s sexual nature can be disinhibited and lavish, there may be a real interest in following romantic flings and indulging in fairy tale ideals. The pursuit of personal pleasures can become controlling, the individual may find it difficult to control their lust, consumptions, eating habits, substances, and desires. Sexually experimental
Scorpio rising This is a favourable time for exploring talents in the workplace and developing relationships with colleagues. The individual may especially enjoy and appreciate the simple pleasure of work and employment. If this is not occurring, there may be a basic re-alignment with the natural simplicity and serenity of life. Routine and taking care of themselves seems more important. Health issues may be resolved
Sagittarius rising Relationships become the art of life during this time, the individual desires nothing more than romance, connections, and shared experiences. They manage to find beauty in everything and everyone, and as it reflects through them, they attract what their heart’s desire. And this isn’t just romantic relationships. They can generate tremendous bonds with friends or family, colleagues and children
Capricorn rising Late nights indulging in secret studies, exploring the invisible down intricate thoughts, following seducing subjects that are riddled with mystery and obscurity. There may be a great love of relishing in deep research, alone and disinhibited, searching for truth. The sexual appetite can be particularly devouring, the thought of finding a soul mate especially satiating
Aquarius rising The pangs of wanderlust become consuming, the individual longs to travel far and wide. There is great delight in exploring the deep meanings of life, symbolism, astrology, myth, and God. The individual may plan the destinations they will travel to. Studying becomes especially inspiring. If they are studying, the learning is rousing. The individual may enrol in a course
Pisces rising Venus is the historical lesser benefic so she brings fortune, this may occur in the individual’s professional life during this period. They may be recognised at work or heralded for an original idea. Focusing on personal goals and achievements is rewarding and elevating. It’s a time to be proud. If there has been conflict with the father, it may be resolved or alleviated somewhat. This is a favourable time for networking, talking the ‘right talk’ and meeting the right people such as connecting with mentors or superiors
1. The Quest – This motif describes the search for someone or some talisman which, when found and brought back, will restore fertility to a wasted land, the desolation of which is mirrored by a leader’s illness and disability.
2. The Task – This refers to a possibly superhuman feat that must be accomplished in order to fulfill the ultimate goal.
3. The Journey – The journey sends the hero in search for some truth of information necessary to restore fertility, justice, and/or harmony to the kingdom. The journey includes the series of trials and tribulations the hero faces along the way. Usually the hero descends into a real or psychological hell and is forced to discover the blackest truths, quite often concerning his faults. Once the hero is at this lowest level, he must accept personal responsibility to return to the world of the living.
4. The Initiation – This situation refers to a moment, usually psychological, in which an individual comes into maturity. He or she gains a new awareness into the nature of circumstances and problems and understands his or her responsibility for trying to resolve the dilemma. Typically, a hero receives a calling, a message or signal that he or she must make sacrifices and become responsible for getting involved in the problem. Often a hero will deny and question the calling and ultimately, in the initiation, will accept responsibility.
5. The Ritual – Not to be confused with the initiation, the ritual refers to an organized ceremony that involves honored members of a given community and an Initiate. This situation officially brings the young man or woman into the realm of the community’s adult world.
6. The Fall – Not to be confused with the awareness in the initiation, this archetype describes a descent in action from a higher to a lower state of being, an experience which might involve defilement, moral imperfection, and/or loss of innocence. This fall is often accompanied by expulsion from a kind of paradise as penalty for disobedience and/or moral transgression.
7. Death and Rebirth – The most common of all situational archetypes, this motif grows out of the parallel between the cycle of nature and the cycle of life. It refers to those situations in which someone or something, concrete and/or metaphysical dies, yet is accompanied by some sign of birth or rebirth.
8. Nature vs. Mechanistic World – Expressed in its simplest form, this refers to situations which suggest that nature is good whereas the forces of technology are bad.
9. Battle Between Good and Evil – These situations pit obvious forces which represent good and evil against one another; typically, good ultimately triumphs over evil despite great odds.
10. The Unhealable Wound – This wound, physical or psychological, cannot be healed fully. This would also indicate a loss of innocence or purity. Often the wounds’ pain drives the sufferer to desperate measures of madness.
11. The Magic Weapon – Sometimes connected with the task, this refers to a skilled individual hero’s ability to use a piece of technology in order to combat evil, continue a journey, or to prove his or her identity as a chosen individual.
12. Father-Son Conflict – Tension often results from separation during childhood or from an external source when the individuals meet as men and where the mentor often has a higher place in the affections of the hero than the natural parent. Sometimes the conflict is resolved in atonement.
13. Innate Wisdom vs. Educated Stupidity – Some characters exhibit wisdom and understanding intuitively as opposed to those supposedly in charge.
1. Light vs. Darkness – Light usually suggests hope, renewal, OR intellectual illumination; darkness implies the unknown, ignorance, or despair.
2. Water vs. Desert – Because water is necessary to life and growth, it commonly appears as a birth or rebirth symbol. Water is used in baptism services, which solemnizes spiritual births. Similarly, the appearance of rain in a work of literature can suggest a character’s spiritual birth.
3. Heaven vs. Hell – Humanity has traditionally associated parts of the universe not accessible to it with the dwelling places of the primordial forces that govern its world. The skies and mountaintops house its gods; the bowels of the earth contain the diabolic forces that inhabit its universe.
4. Haven vs. Wilderness – Places of safety contrast sharply against the dangerous wilderness. Heroes are often sheltered for a time to regain health and resources.
5. Supernatural Intervention – The gods intervene on the side of the hero or sometimes against him.
6. Fire vs. Ice – Fire represents knowledge, light, life, and rebirth while ice like desert represents ignorance, darkness, sterility, and death.
A. Black (darkness) – chaos, mystery, the unknown, before existence, death, the unconscious, evil
B. Red – blood, sacrifice; violent passion, disorder, sunrise, birth, fire, emotion, wounds, death, sentiment, mother, Mars, the note C, anger, excitement, heat, physical stimulation
C. Green – hope, growth, envy, Earth, fertility, sensation, vegetation, death, water, nature, sympathy, adaptability, growth, Jupiter and Venus, the note G, envy
D. White (light) – purity, peace, innocence, goodness, Spirit, morality, creative force, the direction East, spiritual thought
E. Orange – fire, pride, ambition, egoism, Venus, the note D
F. Blue – clear sky, the day, the sea, height, depth, heaven, religious feeling, devotion, innocence, truth, spirituality, Jupiter, the note F, physical soothing and cooling
G. Violet – water, nostalgia, memory, advanced spirituality, Neptune, the note B
H. Gold – Majesty, sun, wealth, corn (life dependency), truth
I. Silver – Moon, wealth
A. Three – the Trinity (Father, Son, Holy Ghost); Mind, Body, Spirit, Birth, Life, Death
B. Four – Mankind (four limbs), four elements, four seasons
C. Six – devil, evil
D. Seven – Divinity (3) + Mankind (4) = relationship between man and God, seven deadly sins, seven days of week, seven days to create the world, seven stages of civilization, seven colors of the rainbow, seven gifts of Holy Spirit.
A. Oval – woman, passivity
B. Triangle – communication, between heaven and earth, fire, the number 3, trinity, aspiration, movement upward, return to origins, sight, light
C. Square – pluralism, earth, firmness, stability, construction, material solidity, the number four
D. Rectangle – the most rational, most secure
E. Cross – the Tree of life, axis of the world, struggle, martyrdom, orientation in space
F. Circle – Heaven, intellect, thought, sun, the number two, unity, perfection, eternity, oneness, celestial realm, hearing, sound
G. Spiral – the evolution of the universe, orbit, growth, deepening, cosmic motion, relationship between unity and multiplicity, macrocosm, breath, spirit, water
A. Air – activity, creativity, breath, light, freedom (liberty), movement
B. Ascent – height, transcendence, inward journey, increasing intensity
C. Center – thought, unity, timelessness, spacelessness, paradise, creator, infinity,
D. Descent – unconscious, potentialities of being, animal nature
E. Duality – Yin-Yang, opposites, complements, positive-negative, male-female, life-death
F. Earth – passive, feminine, receptive, solid
G. Fire – the ability to transform, love, life, health, control, sun, God, passion, spiritual energy, regeneration
H. Lake – mystery, depth, unconscious
I. Crescent moon – change, transition
J. Mountain – height, mass, loftiness, center of the world, ambition, goals
K. Valley – depression, low-points, evil, unknown
L. Sun – Hero, son of Heaven, knowledge, the Divine eye, fire, life force, creative-guiding force, brightness, splendor, active awakening, healing, resurrection, ultimate wholeness
M. Water – passive, feminine
N. Rivers/Streams – life force, life cycle
O. Stars – guidance
P. Wind – Holy Spirit, life, messenger
Q. Ice/Snow – coldness, barrenness
R. Clouds/Mist – mystery, sacred
S. Rain – life giver
T. Steam – transformation to the Holy Spirit
U. Cave – feminine
V. Lightning – intuition, inspiration
W. Tree – where we learn, tree of life, tree of knowledge
X. Forest – evil, lost, fear
A. Feathers – lightness, speed
B. Shadow – our dark side, evil, devil
C. Masks – concealment
D. Boats/Rafts – safe passage
E. Bridge – change, transformation
F. Right hand – rectitude, correctness
G. Left hand – deviousness
H. Feet – stability, freedom
I. Skeleton – mortality
J. Heart – love, emotions
K. Hourglass – the passage of time
1. The Hero – In its simplest form, this character is the one ultimately who may fulfill a necessary task and who will restore fertility, harmony, and/or justice to a community. The hero character is the one who typically experiences an initiation, who goes the community’s ritual (s), et cetera. Often he or she will embody characteristics of YOUNG PERSON FROM THE PROVINCES, INITIATE, INNATE WISDOM, PUPIL, and SON.
2. Young Person from the Provinces – This hero is taken away as an infant or youth and raised by strangers. He or she later returns home as a stranger and able to recognize new problems and new solutions.
3. The Initiates – These are young heroes who, prior to the quest, must endure some training and ritual. They are usually innocent at this stage.
4. Mentors – These individuals serve as teachers or counselors to the initiates. Sometimes they work as role models and often serve as father or mother figure. They teach by example the skills necessary to survive the journey and quest.
5. Hunting Group of Companions – These loyal companions are willing to face any number of perils in order to be together.
6. Loyal Retainers – These individuals are like the noble sidekicks to the hero. Their duty is to protect the hero. Often the retainer reflects the hero’s nobility.
7. Friendly Beast –These animals assist the hero and reflect that nature is on the hero’s side.
8. The Devil Figure – This character represents evil incarnate. He or she may offer worldly goods, fame, or knowledge to the protagonist in exchange for possession of the soul or integrity. This figure’s main aim is to oppose the hero in his or her quest.
9. The Evil Figure with the Ultimately Good Heart – This redeemable devil figure (or servant to the devil figure) is saved by the hero’s nobility or good heart.
10. The Scapegoat – An animal or more usually a human whose death, often in a public ceremony, excuses some taint or sin that has been visited upon the community. This death often makes theme more powerful force to the hero.
11. The Outcast – This figure is banished from a community for some crime (real or imagined). The outcast is usually destined to become a wanderer.
12. The Earth Mother – This character is symbolic of fulfillment, abundance, and fertility; offers spiritual and emotional nourishment to those who she contacts; often depicted in earth colors, with large breasts and hips.
13. The Temptress – Characterized by sensuous beauty, she is one whose physical attraction may bring about the hero’s downfall.
14. The Platonic Ideal – This source of inspiration often is a physical and spiritual ideal for whom the hero has an intellectual rather than physical attraction.
15. The Unfaithful Wife – This woman, married to a man she sees as dull or distant, is attracted to a more virile or interesting man.
16. The Damsel in Distress – This vulnerable woman must be rescued by the hero. She also may be used as a trap, by an evil figure, to ensnare the hero.
17. The Star-Crossed Lovers – These two characters are engaged in a love affair that is fated to end in tragedy for one or both due to the disapproval of society, friends, family, or the gods.
18. The Creature of Nightmare – This monster, physical or abstract, is summoned from the deepest, darkest parts of the human psyche to threaten the lives of the hero/heroine. Often it is a perversion or desecration of the human body.
The following list of patterns comes from the book How to Read Literature Like a Professor by Thomas C. Foster who teaches at the University of Michigan. If you are serious about literary analysis, then it is highly recommended that you buy this book. It goes into detail what is just briefly mentioned and is written in such a lively, witty voice that it does not read like a textbook at all! It will be well worth your time and effort to read it.
Ø Trips tend to become quests to discover self.
Ø Meals together tend to be acts of communion/community or isolation.
Ø Ghosts, vampires, monsters, and nasty people and sometimes simply the antagonists are not about supernatural brew-ha-ha; they tend to depict some sort of exploitation.
Ø There’s only one story. Look for allusions and archetypes.
Ø Weather matters.
Ø Violence and be both literal and figurative.
Ø Symbols can be objects, images, events, and actions.
Ø Sometimes a story is meant to change us, the readers, and through us change society.
Ø Keep an eye out for Christ-figures.
Ø Flying tends to represent freedom. What do you think falling represents?
Ø Getting dunked or just sprinkled in something wet tends to be a baptism.
Ø Geography tends to be a metaphor for the psyche.
Ø Seasons tend to be traditional symbols.
Ø Disabilities, Scars, and Deformities show character and theme.
Ø Heart disease tends to represent problems with character and society.
Ø So do illness and disease.
Ø Read with your imagination.
Ø Irony trumps everything!
Ø Remember the difference between public and private symbols.
MLA Citation (7th Edition)
Lawrence, Lisa. “Archetypes and Symbols.” West Morris Central High School. West Morris Regional High School District, n.d. Web. 23 Jan. 2013. <http://central.wmrhsd.org/FACULTY…/Archetypesandsymbols.pdf>.