Creating characters with the help of shining stars and spinning planets © M.C.V.Egan

For writers, many tools can help give depth to our characters, intricacies to the storyline, and shine a light on the settings. I have attended many workshops in the last few years, exploring new angles and techniques to give my characters more depth, my plots more conflict, and my settings more detail.

People are complicated multi-faceted beings; therefore, believable characters need a variety of traits. Settings are more credible when shown, not told; no-one explained that better than Anton Chekov, “Don’t tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.”  And then the much needed spicy ingredient to any story that will captivate the reader – CONFLICT.

Many workshops suggested similar techniques to create the characters.

– Interview your character

– Fill out a job application as your character (Please don’t apply for the job, identity theft of a fictional character is bound to be a crime in most countries).

– Write a bio of your character

– Get an image from a magazine or online of how you visualize your character.

If you write, I am sure you have come across the lot, and frankly, they can all be instrumental. I am pretty sure that if you write, you have also come up with your very own unique ways, I know I have.

I use several techniques to get to know my characters, form them, and give them traits before I infuse them into a storyline.  I love to pretend they are my invisible friends (yes, I did have those when I was a kid) and allow them to hang out with me from time to time. I have used the above techniques; after all, why attend a workshop and not use what you are taught, right?

I do have a favorite technique, one, to be honest, I thought was all mine, and then I googled and found books on the subject! You see, I am an amateur, fascinated by but quite inexpert at Astrology. I also think it is a tool that can be used very effectively by any writer, even those who never before thought to read a horoscope. Still, surely at some point in life, most of us do check the paper to see what a Cancer, Libra or Scorpio should expect.

As one studies the various signs and planets in Astrology, they have keywords and traits; again I am a writer and NOT a professional Astrologer, as such I am not going to go through each sign and describe it; anyone can find that easily today in countless sites or books. To keep this simple, I will stay with just one sign.

I’ll take the very first sign of the Zodiac; Aries Assertive a go-getter, a mover, and shaker, fearlessly forging ahead, a warrior. Okay, that gives you a great basis for traits, now famous Aries in history Thomas Jefferson (April 13) and Leonardo Da Vinci (April 15) and Adolph Hitler (April 20). Nice combination right? Well, every sign has them, traits that can be used for good or evil.

There are countless ways you can use astrology to develop a character, once you give a character a sig you can always read their horoscope. Bad day for Aries as the ruling planet Mars enters… well again we do not need to be master Astrologers, but now you can imagine your character on a very bad day he/she cannot control.

Astrology books are filled with descriptions of the typical physique of any sign, in regards to Aries books will have variants of similar descriptions; strongly defined facial lines, bony structure, triangular shape of a face, and sharp eyes.

Here is the beauty of using Astrology as a tool, as we are all unique we may be reading the very same description and visualizing very different characters. That being said since I have dabbled in astrology for several decades I can play with birth charts and create more defined characteristics that way.

If you are not interested in learning Astrology in any great depth the solution is simply look up famous people in the sign of Aries. That way with a long list you can pick and choose the traits of the famous. For example, the prototypical mad scientist/inventor out to rule the world could be a combination Of Leonardo Da Vinci and Adolph Hitler. Just imagine how many combinations are out there for you to blend and create.

With this fun and simple tool, a writer can easily give a character a distinct look, by choosing any physical traits of famous Arian traits (not to be confused with Hitler’s Aryans) and creating the look you need. Remember Anton Chekov and don’t tell the reader the character has thick hair have him or her struggle in some way with it; brushing it, untangling it.

Creating a personality with the traits described in numerous site you are bound to give the reader a deep and complex individual. This can easily be done again by looking up famous people born under a certain sign, and they need not be historical figures; I just googled famous actresses born in Aries and came up with Emma Watson, Kristen Stewart, Reese Witherspoon, and Elle Fanning. If you Google that as well however you might find that Marilyn Monroe with Venus in Aries (some in Gemini) is the image that pops up the most.

Venus brings me to the spinning planets. That is something we are all familiar with and even if Astrology is not to your liking, another brilliant tool is tapping into the music of Gustav Holst; THE PLANETS, spend time listening to MARS, the Bringer of War ( ) and the Arian traits of aggression and war are sure to flow through your mind! Also, look up Martian traits that should be compatible and complementary to the Aries ones.

Gustav Holst not only will give you beautiful writing music but just the title of each piece will enhance any Astrological traits for the signs they rule. The Sun rules Leo and of course, those traits shine. The moon rules the sign of Cancer and the traits of the moon vary from light to dark. Pluto was discovered before Holst died and in modern Astrology is used to rule Scorpio, but Mr. Holst chose not to write a piece for it, so enjoy the seven.

  1. Mars, the Bringer of War (Aries and Scorpio)
  2. Venus, the Bringer of Peace (Taurus)
  3. Mercury, the Winged Messenger (Gemini)
  4. Jupiter, the Bringer of Jollity (Sagittarius)
  5. Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age (Capricorn)
  6. Uranus, the Magician (Aquarius)
  7. Neptune, the Mystic (Pisces)


Murder? Stockholm Sleuth Series Book 3 by Christer Tholin Genre: Mystery Crime Thriller

Stockholm Sleuth Series Book 3
by Christer Tholin
Genre: Mystery Crime Thriller
Christina’s idyllic existence with her husband Patrik comes to an abrupt end when Patrik suddenly vanishes from their suburban home in Stockholm. Christina is precipitated into a hellishly desperate and anguished search for Patrik – which after six weeks turns up nary a trace of him.
At her wits end, she contacts local sleuths Lars and Elin, who, after a brief investigation, reach the conclusion that Patrik simply decided to abandon his cushy existence to embark on a new life –without Christina.
Lars and Elin ultimately trace Patrik’s movements to the wooded wilds of northern Sweden, but too late – he’s found dead. The police rule his death an accident, but Christina thinks otherwise – and so she asks Lars and Elin to do a thorough investigation of the circumstances surrounding Patrik’s demise. Was his death really accidental, or was foul play involved? And was the mysterious Natalia somehow implicated?
Unfortunately, none of the countless leads that Lars and Elin follow up gets them any closer to solving the mystery of Patrik’s death. But then they get a startling break that results in Christina having to make a tricky and extremely consequential decision that plunges our three protagonists into a life or death struggle.
MURDER? is the third, standalone book from Christer Tholin’s Stockholm Sleuth Series.
If you like fast-paced action and surprising twists and turns, then you will love Christer Tholin’s sleuth series.
**Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Stockholm Sleuth Series Book 2
“Dammit! She’d made a huge mistake. She’d never make it out of here – they were going to kill her.”
In the crime novella SECRETS?, fledgling private investigator Elin Bohlander takes on what looks like an easy assignment — at first: to determine if her client’s boyfriend is having an affair with another woman. To do this, Elin follows him to a secluded cabin in the woods, where she soon discovers that what’s actually transpiring is stranger than anyone thought. Having ventured too far, she’s stumbled upon a hornet’s nest and put her life at risk. But it’s too late. Can Elin win the unequal fight against a gang of brutal child molesters?
SECRETS? is the second, standalone book from Christer Tholin’s Stockholm Sleuth Series. In the previous novel VANISHED?, Elin and her colleague Lars solve their first case together.
If you like fast-paced action and surprising twists and turns, then you will love Christer Tholin’s sleuth series.
**Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Stockholm Sleuth Series Book 1
“He could only hope he’d get out of here in one piece.”
To come to terms with his recent divorce, Martin, an attorney in Berlin, plans a peaceful vacation – two weeks in a Swedish summer house seem to be the solution. It won’t be peaceful, however, and those two weeks will change his life forever. He takes a liking to Liv, a Swedish woman whom he meets in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, they don’t get to have their first date – Liv disappears under mysterious circumstances. Martin begins his search but soon realizes he can’t find Liv in a foreign country by himself. He hires two private investigators, and their discoveries make everything seem even stranger.
The complexities in this suspenseful criminal case lead to a hunt across Sweden. Martin comes close to finding answers, but his search lands him in very real danger, eventually leading to the first deaths. Soon he‘s wondering if he can get Liv and himself out of this situation alive.
**Read FREE with Kindle Unlimited!
Christer Tholin grew up in the North of Germany, Schleswig-Holstein. Today, he lives together with his family in Stockholm, Sweden, where he works as a management consultant.
Already for ages he has been a great fan of crime stories and therefore, had the desire to write his own crime story with the characters acting in Sweden. This crime-fiction is now available under the title “Vanished?”.
The crime novel starts at a slower pace – like Martin’s holidays, but the tension goes up more and more. It comes to a number of surprising turns giving new impulses to the story. Apart from that, the lovely country Sweden is described with the view of a foreigner.
$20 Amazon
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