Believer or non-believer, I think it’s hard to disagree that psychics, astrologers and other people who deal in futures and “shoulds” must be good storytellers. They have to have pithy details that draw people in, and it’s very much to their advantage to be plausibly vague. By that, I mean they present advice that can be interpreted in completely opposite ways – but must never stray into an obvious black and white zone where the consumer of advice says, “That’s ridiculous! You can’t have it both ways!” A fortuneteller lets the listener do the heavy lifting and create a story that suits the listener.
So, let me link you to Teen Vogue’s new horoscopes for the month! (If you come to this blog late, you might try googling “teen vogue monthly lovescopes May 2018” and see if you get a link.) For the first time in weeks, I felt the vague tickle of story while looking at these predictions. “(G)et ready for a deep dive into your heart’s inner workings, astro babes,” the article warns us. It promises us rainbows and shadows, just like a good astrologer (and storyteller) should.
Each sign starts with a “Love Letter” – a pithy statement for the month that promises a good love strategy. Good ol’ Taurus, the first batter up this month: “When I’m willing to open to cycles of change, love’s nectar can reach me.”
Isn’t this the plot of almost every major romance? The characters must change (arc) in order to reach the thing they want most in life (love). But it’s suitably vague. You can take it metaphorically, of course, and have a hero with kisses like honey who helps the heroine overthrow her old boring life for a country bicycle shop and a bike mechanic husband. Or, you could take it quite literally, and do something sci-fi inspired, where bee-creatures fight other bee-creatures to take over hives and lure that one very special drone to migrate and help form a new colony. On the moon. (OK, maybe that last one is over the edge, but I suppose it depends entirely on what moon you are talking about. One with flowers, I guess.)
Libra’s is fantastic for those of us with love for writing the paranormal: “When I’m willing to snack on love’s shadows, I find exactly the right light.” I do admit, we have to do a lot of the heavy lifting on this one. What, exactly, are love’s shadows? However, I bet once we define that for ourselves, the story writes itself.
Scorpio’s is very . . . Scorpian. Not really my cup of tea, but for people who like the dark moment before the dawn in their romance, I think this will ring a few bells: “Airing old hurts lets my heart pump again.” Ah, the second chance! Closure and a new beginning!
But the one I really like is Sagittarius: “Surrendering to what I can’t see sparks my greatest romance.” I never really see where a story is going when I start it. I think that’s one reason why I love writing – I’m as curious as the reader is as to where this story is going to go. One of the big problems with my writing, too, is this. Because when I write myself into an unsatisfying corner, it’s very difficult for me to back up to the last default point (where everything was good and hunky dory) and take the other fork in the road. The alternate version is still junking up my mind. This is a huge problem with my current story, although I like it enough that I’ve gone down the wrong road at least three times, and tried again.
Do my hero and heroine just need to surrender to what they can’t see? Do they need to take a huge leap of faith and watch their love work despite the outside world’s efforts to stress them out? I’m not sure. But this is good advice for me as a writer. Of course I can’t see what’s going on until I write it.
I guess my next step is to learn to purge my mind of the wrong turnings so I can concentrate on the story I’ve got.
How about you? What does Teen Vogue say about your love life, and do you think it could be useful in your story?