Zodiac Posts 2.0

Blog Post Prompts

Back in 2014 I had this idea for taking the traits assigned to a zodiac sign and using them as prompts for blog post themes.

It was good for a bit but life, work and my mental health got in the way of my writing, so the blog was the first thing to go. I loved the series and the concept, though, so now I think the time has come to revive it!

This post is basically me re-blogging the original concept with the ideas I had for each post. I got as far as Gemini before.

I started with my own sign, Capricorn. See below for the links to the previous posts!

Capricorn [1] - Capricorns are known for their down-to-earth mentality. So I blogged on being down-to-earth in the sense of being realistic, and how realistic character development can be achieved if you're writing the same characters over a long period of their lives. 

Capricorn [2] - Capricorns are meant to be mature, so I took this theme and made it about age and representation. Ageism in Fiction came up because I noticed that while families like mine - where the grandparents did the majority of the childcare - are very common in the UK, positive portrayals of mature/older/elderly characters in KidLit and YA are not as common. So I blogged about my thoughts on that. 

Aquarius - I found a description of Aquarians that claims they are good at consciously and unconsciously absorbing information. I applied this to a recent book I'd read (The Silkworm, Robert Galbraith), and thought about how different in tone it was to Cuckoo's Calling, where J. K. Rowling was trying to disguise her style. In Silkworm, she had been outed as Galbraith, and she hadn't bothered to hide her Harry Potter voice as a result, even having one character paraphrase a key message on [her views on] murder from the later books. The conscious disguise of style versus the unconscious revealing of style was something that had bothered me a bit, so I discussed it in a sort-of review. 

Pisces [1]: Pisces are 'emotional souls' according to one source, so I thought first about emotional and psychological issues that might affect characters, and mental health in fiction. This blog post was a collaborative effort, looking at main characters [MCs] who fitted certain criteria. I had a bit of a personal reflection here, in context of the Time to Change campaign that took place across Britain (it says England in the original post, but it was more widespread than that). Thinking of MCs who fit the criteria was a bit of a struggle but we got a good list, I think. 

Pisces [2]: The Interview with Maya Starling. Taking the theme of 'emotional souls' a bit further, I interviewed author Maya Starling about one of her then- works in progress on Wattpad, and her protagonist Etta, who struggled with mental health issues. Her interview includes extracts from the story and her inspiration for the novel, as well as the challenges of writing it. 

Since Aries is a dynamic sign, I took the basic theme 'A is for Action' and considered a number of ways that could be interpreted with the three authors I interviewed. I asked each author about their work specifically, but I also asked them about their ways of building up to a climactic moment in the narrative, their views on writing dynamic scenes, and the energy it took them personally to get to this point in their writing careers. 

Aries [1]: The Interview with Kara Jorgensen. 

Aries [2]: The Interview with Charlotte Ashley.

Aries [3]: The Interview with Jaycee Ford.

Moving on to Taurus, I considered the obvious characteristic of the bull: strength. 

Taurus [1]: What is strength? This is a big question, and the post is LONG. The main inspiration was a question that deeply resonated with me, in the form of a headline: ...if I have PTSD then how can I be strong? I got a few author friends to let me know what they thought, including Lisa Gillis and Alys Arden. Then I mused in usual rambling fashion about what people thought about strength, and how many different ways a protagonist could look and still be 'strong'.

Taurus [2]: This was the follow-on post, where I used the tag #WhatIsStrength to muse about my own writing and the patterns there are within it. I was reading about Strong Female Characters as tropes rather than fully-formed three-dimensional people, and that inspired the more personal reflection on what sort of characters I write. 

Taurus [3]: Who is strength? This one was my favourite, as it was a collection of people's ideas of strong characters. I looked at my own three fictional role models (Miss Marple, Granny Weatherwax and Diana Trent) and asked people to give me theirs. Everyone had a different idea: from Anitmony Carver (Gunnerkrigg Court) to Albus Dumbledore (Harry Potter). 

Gemini: My last post was also the most recent and I posted out of guilt for not posting for so long!! I didn't really put much effort into this one. Inspired by the twins, it was a reflection on my double life in writing fiction and academic non-fiction.  

This was my original list of ideas for the signs, and some of them were pretty good ideas, so for my Zodiac Reboot I think I will give some of them a shot.

The people born under the Zodiac Sign Aries are curious, energetic and enthusiastic individuals, who want to initiate and make things happen rather than being mere spectators. The need for excitement push them into new territories and makes them extremely action-oriented.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/aries/aries-traits.action)
 > Writing action and dynamic scenes
> Drama and the dramatic event: how do you write that pivotal moment?

Known for being reliable, practical, ambitious and sensual, the people born under the Zodiac Sign Taurus have an eye for beauty. They tend to be good with finances, and hence, make efficient financial managers. However, like everyone else, a Taurus also has both positive and negative traits.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/taurus/taurus-traits.action) 
> Making a living from writing: is that a practical dream? 
> How do you handle rejection and keep on trekking?

All Signs have dark sides as well as the bright sides, and the Gemini is no exception. People born under the Zodiac Sign Gemini have some distinct positive and negative traits. For example, they are clever and intellectual but they can also be tense and restless. To understand a Gemini it is essential to understand his/ her traits.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/gemini/gemini-traits.action) 
> The Twins: a trope in fiction 
> Doppelgangers: representations and tales

The Cancer-born are quite complex individuals, but fundamentally, they are conservative and home-loving people. They love to be in familiar surroundings and nurture their relationships.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/cancer/cancer-traits.action) 
> Writing about familiar surroundings: finding magic and inspiration where you live 
> Writing who you know: confessions of a writer (or two!)

Warm, action-oriented and driven by the desire to be loved and admired, the Leo have an air royalty about them. They love to be in the limelight, which is why many of them make a career in the performing arts.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/leo/leo-traits.action) 
> Writing royals: best depictions of royalty in fiction? 
> Writing royalty: who makes the top 10 best authors of all time?

Quiet undemonstrative and introvert, the Virgo are the waters that run deep. Wise, witty and well spoken, the Virgo have a good understanding of human nature and can effectively help people solve their problems.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/virgo/virgo-traits.action) 
> Deconstructing human nature: conveying personality through dialogue 
> Literary Fiction: what is it?

Kind, gentle and lovers of beauty, harmony and peace, the Libra-born are attractive people. However, in their bid to please everyone, they can rarely say no to anyone, and as a result, end up stretching themselves.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/libra/libra-traits.action) 
> The Scales of Justice: why should characters find redemption, and should your antagonists ever 'get away with it'? 
> Regaining equilibrium: how do you resolve conflict in your plots?

Mysterious and strong willed, the Scorpio-born easily grab the limelight as they have what it takes to accomplish their goals. Besides, they possess a magnetic charm that not many can ignore.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/scorpio/scorpio-traits.action) 
> Romantic heroes and brooding bad boys - how (not) to write them 
> Secondary characters who steal the show - good, bad, or really annoying?

The Sagittarius enjoy travelling and exploring what life has to offer. Adventurous that they are, the Sagittarius are always willing to take risks and keep the excitement levels in their lives alive.(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/sagittarius/sagittarius-traits.action) 
> Travel writing in fiction: when you can't write 'what you know' 
> The Quest Novel: what makes a good one?

Capricorn is the Sign of stability, calmness and maturity. People born under this Sign are sensitive, sensible and secure in their own space. They not take mindless decisions but at the same time they will take well-calculated risks to get what they want.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/capricorn/capricorn-traits.action) 
> Writing family sagas - how do your characters cope with the passing of time? 
> Ageism in fiction and fictionalizing ageism

The Aquarius-born are strong and attractive individuals, who can think abstract and at the same time be practical as well. Their willingness and capacity to accept people as who they are make them sought-after company.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/aquarius/aquarius-traits.action) 
> #WeNeedDiverseBooks - how important is diversity in fiction?
> How can fiction help/hinder perceptions of people groups and individuals?

These are generous and emotional souls. Quite popular in their social circles for being a genuine friend to everyone, a Pisces-born values human relations the most and puts the people he loves above everything else.
(see: http://www.ganeshaspeaks.com/pisces/pisces-traits.action)
Spotlight on LitWorld - helping people through the power of literacy
>  Serious Fiction: Changing Lives through the Power of the Story

I may be adding ideas to these - and I'll be getting guest bloggers in on this too! Looking forward to interviews, features, general ramblings, and other cool stuff. 

Anything you want me to add, let me know!