Sunday, April 29, 2012

Yin and Yang Hatch a Plot.

Yin describes the receptive, responsive part of a character’s psyche, the Jungian anima.  
Yang is the opposite, the active, initiatory anima.

Most of us know our Sun’s astrological sign. We also may choose a Sun sign for our hero and heroine. Every realistic character has both yin and yang qualities. Flat, one-dimensional, stereotypic characters have only yin or only yang.

Aries is yang. Aries are exuberant, fiery, impulsive, quick, initiatory, self-starting
Taurus is yin. They are practical, persistent, possessive, sensual, tenacious, retentive.
Gemini is yang: verbal, mental, social, changeable, curious, versatile
Cancer is yin: sensitive, emotional, clinging, protective, nurturing.
Leo is yang: dominant, proud, regal, obstinate, generous, showy.
Virgo is yin: observant, discriminatory, logical, practical, flexible, critical, healing.
Libra is yang: companionable, diplomatic, conciliatory, indecisive, partnering.
Scorpio is yin: tenacious, deep, retentive, passionate, vengeful, sexual, secretive.
Sagittarius is yang: idealistic, expansive, optimistic, unrestrained, scattered.
Capricorn is yin: controlled, ambitious, cold, practical, cautious, responsible.
Aquarius is yang: reasoning, intelligence, stubborn, anarchistic, unconventional, independent, humanitarian.
Pisces is yin: emotional, intuitive, unclear, compassionate, sacrificing, fluctuating, flowing, structureless.

Need sparks between characters? Pair up a proud, obstinate yang Leo with a fiery, impulsive, impatient yang Aries. Yang and yang don’t mix.

Need compatibility? Introduce a yang Sagittarius to a yin Cancer. The Sag wants to try everything while the Cancer is happy to stay home and tend the fire.

Need to complicate things? Make a yang Libra choose between a yin Taurus and an yin Capricorn. Libra can’t ever make up her mind. Meanwhile Taurus is her capable Beta assistant her and Capricorn is her Alpha sky’s-the-limit boss.


  1. Fascinating take on astrological inspired characters!

  2. Now I understand how you plot astrological charts for your characters. Sounds really cool!

  3. Great list of character traits. I like the idea of each person having a combination. Someone with e.g. the Leo yang can also have a Scorpio yin (or whatever other combination you choose) making for either internal completeness or conflict.
    I'm going to print out this list!

  4. It's easy to do plot thumbnail sketches using this trick.
    It's less easy, but definitely doable, to have an idea for a plot, then create horoscopes for the H/H and read as if real people. LOTS of personality details come alive. In advance of the actual writing.