How to Use Tarot and Astrology in Science Fiction
Creating Charisma with Verisimilitude
Previous parts in How to Use Tarot and Astrology in Science Fiction Series are indexed at the bottom of the index post about Astrology
The Tarot posts - Tarot Just For Writers - have been polished up and presented as Kindle books. 5 Individual volumes, or one single collected one (the collected is cheaper).
And we have explored Verisimilitude in the various aspects of Worldbuilding, Theme, Plot, and even Marketing. Seeming "real" at least in some single element, is a novel's most memorable feature. One "realistic" element can make the imaginary elements vivid, real, fascinating, and memorable.
That distinctive element, original and imaginary, will "tag" your Series in the reader's mind, and they will remember your byline, maybe buy more books.
So here are some of the Posts mentioning Verisimilitude.
Here's one about Corporate Greed and the Sex Drive -- involving Pluto transits.
And I did say verisimilitude is essential to Theme:
The HEA is a hard sell to non-Romance readers, which is most of the science fiction readership, so you have to argue convincingly for the verisimilitude of the Happily Ever After ending. Here is a discussion of that task for the author of Soul Mate romance.
And Plot Pacing is paramount.
In fact "Pacing" as a writing technique can be the most important thing you learn to do. Pacing can be the genre signature -- which scenes or descriptions you spend pages on, and which you cut to less than 1 sentence.
A long time ago, Romance novels were required to omit sex scenes, and still they captured imagination and fueled determination not to settle for less than a Soul Mate.
Romance novels sans sex still presented Characters with potent Charisma. You could meet a man whose mere glance would sweep you off your feet.
Love at first sight works like that. After all, it is "first sight" - presumably not after first sex.
Charisma works like that - instant first-sight attention getting, followed by a riveting hint of potential.
Potential for what depends on the problem confronting the person who notices the charismatic figure.
In the era of the "Talkies," film producers were successful if they could recognize a person with Charisma. People could learn to act, could be promoted widely, could be "made a Star" -- if only they had Charisma.
Today, Hollywood has learned to fake Charisma, but still those with natural Charisma shine above the rest. Football players, even golfers, tennis stars, Olympic figure skaters, some of the better ones never get the round of endorsements and personal appearances because they don't have Charisma.
Today, the politicians that get the most votes do it with Charisma (fake and real), not Policies.
So in real life, it is useful to understand Charisma.
In Fantasy Life, only the writer has to understand Charisma to create such an attractive Character.
However, with the main product Hollywood is selling being Charisma, mature readers have noticed "it's all a sham." Everyday readers see the gossamer shimmer of beauty ripped away ("Oh, she is so Botoxed!"), and don't want to buy that product anymore.
Yet, we still feel "seeing is believing." If we see beauty, are attracted by a voice, an idea, a gesture, we respond, and we don't know why.
Likewise, we see ugliness, a disgusting visage, hear an irritating voice, see unacceptable behavior, and we are genuinely repelled.
That repulsion can be created artificially using Hollywood techniques, the same techniques that create Charisma.
That realization is fluttering around the edges of popular consciousness. Charisma is real, and powerful, but the mature reader of Romance and of Science Fiction is coming to realize how Charisma is being used as a tool to manipulate their opinions and behaviors. Nobody likes being "manipulated" but Charisma is sneaky - and only becomes apparent after the action (buying a cosmetic product, voting for the wrong person).
And so Charisma can be the element a writer uses to create verisimilitude connecting the reader to the fantasy world the writer is just imagining.
As noted above, the Happily Ever After ending is a very hard sell. Real life experience tells us that infatuation passes -- it isn't love at first sight. Marriage based on infatuation don't last and break up in real agony.
Infatuation happens when a person first encounters a Charismatic Figure who ignites a deeply personal, individualizing vision of the future. It's usually sugar coated, but reality teaches us the sugar coating hides the bitter truth.
So with age, and experience, we look at Charismatic figures with leery suspicion.
A teen who finds True Love is viewed as Infatuated.
So we have the "second time around" Romance, when a Relationship can proceed to the HEA, while previously it was blocked by the surface illusion of who the other person really is.
Infatuation is a small scale version of experiencing Charisma. The person may not be a Soul Mate, but just connecting with a virgin area of Personality.
We need our infatuations to teach us about ourselves.
Charisma, as used by the media for fiction and non-fiction (yes, top newscaster's get to be top by having Charisma, not just brains), refers to that same lure that infatuates younger people, but instead of affecting just one person, Charisma affects a broad swath of a target audience.
Learning to develop and aim Charisma, to weaponize Charisma (obsessive love) was the shaper of modern civilization.
Those who are the "target audience" of the weapon-wielders armed with Charisma are beginning to understand it is all a sham. That's why the broadest audience now considers the HEA all a sham.
The HEA happens when Soul Mates form a Couple.
Soul Mates often seem infatuated and obsessive as they work toward forming that Couple and surmounting the current obstacles.
The Romance writer of science fiction, fantasy, or paranormal genres has a unique opportunity to explain Charisma to a readership uniquely suited to understanding that explanation.
The explanation the writer chooses has to be embedded in the Worldbuilding behind the story -- at an invisible level of the structure. The explanation has to be woven into the theme, not at the assumption level but at the more blatant symbolic level.
Here is the index to theme-symbolism integration:
Most writers will have developed several solid explanations for the existence of Charisma, but there are always more to be found.
Here is one way Astrology can explain both the Soul Mate attraction, where each person affects the other charismatically but nobody else sees what she sees in him, and the Public Figure Charisma that moves the body politic.
Infatuation, which has the same effect as being attracted to a Charismatic Figure, is an effect of the planet Neptune and the Sign Pisces which Neptune rules.
Neptune has a blurring or dissolving effect on structure (on reality), but at the same time reveals a "higher truth" or a more real truth that is totally unrealistic but nevertheless true. The quintessential illustration of the Pisces male is the Engineer. Think Scotty on ST:Tos.
Obsession is all about Pluto. Remember Pluto is the "upper octave" of Mars, where Mars creates a bar-brawl scene, Pluto creates World War. Pluto rules Scorpio, the sign notorious for secret sexual obsessions and even perversions. It is not the sexuality and love depicted by Venus which is so often paired with Mars. Pluto is the raw staying power of life itself.
Pluto magnifies whatever element it connects to, and so it magnifies Neptune's infatuation effect into full blown Charisma, where life itself depends on cleaving to the glamorous object shrouded in Neptune veils (and thus never what it appears to be.)
The reason understanding of Charisma is so illusive is that Charisma is the product of two difficult to understand forces (symbolized by Astrological planet and sign), Neptune/Pisces and Pluto/Scorpio.
How this works between two individuals, Soul Mates, is how the two Natal Chart positions, aspects, signs, houses, midpoints, of Neptune and Pluto relate to each other, and what transits to the natal charts are in effect during the infatuation.
How it works for whole populations lured into following a Charismatic Figure (sometimes to salvation; sometimes over a cliff) has to do with the Figure's natal chart and transits as they relate to the generational positions of Pluto and Neptune.
The third element that determines how Charisma affects actions (Plot) is the notion of Soul.
Soul is a concept that has to be woven into the worldbuilding. Either souls are real in your fictional world -- or not. Once you make that choice, you discard one set of themes, and lock into another (maybe a genre, too). It is a basic choice, and determines which audience (and thus which publisher and which editor) you submit your book to. For audiences that accept Soul as real in everyday life, you would have to work hard to convince them that Souls are not real in your universe, but Love is real.
So if you opt to build a world where Souls are not real, you eliminate the audience that understands the real world through the concept of Soul.
You would have to convince those readers that a world where humans (or Aliens) have no Soul is better than their world, or can be fixed to be as good as Reality.
That argument generates your Themes.
So Theme and Plot become one via the element of Charisma.
THEME: Souls choose to override the infatuating lure of Charisma and break free of Obsession by using (insert a tool, fictional or not, such as Religion, ESP, Magic Glasses).
THEME: People, humans and Aliens, can not choose to override the infatuating lure of Charisma and so become the hapless victim of Obsession at the behest of their "betters." Kings, Queens, Army Generals, Sorcerers, Moguls, Alien Overlords.
Either theme can be subordinated to the Romance Genre envelope theme of "Love Conquers All." With or without Soul Mates, Love can muscle through any situation (at least to a HFN ending).
With the Soul Hypothesis, you have an HEA potential, but without Soul, you get a predominance of HFN endings.
Learn what your potential readership knows is real, pick one thing that readership bases their life-decisions on, and incorporate that into your worldbuilding. Be absolutely consistent with that one thing, and let imagination loose for the rest.
In science fiction writing, mix an element your readership knows for a fact is not real with elements they know are real.
Science Fiction is all about "What if ...?" And basically what goes into the ... of that question is something that is widely known and accepted by all the experts suddenly turning out to be wrong.
Being wrong delights the scientist in the SF reader because finding out what has been wrong brings the "If only ..." of potential happiness into view, and makes the "If this goes on ..." prediction subject to revision for the better.
Being the dynamic force in re-creating your own world is the most fun anyone can have in life.
When the Neptune and Pluto transits bestow life-long, innate Charisma in a person, that Charisma attracts followers simply because the person is having fun living.
Charisma just sits there seething until FUN is added.
Charismatic figures enjoy being the center of attention, which makes them the center of attention.
On the smaller scale, of one-on-one relationships, one person can see an infatuating delight in another and become obsessed by it, joining the Charismatic individual in his obsession.
Being obsessed is actually FUN. It feels good, which is why people don't struggle to break free until the obsession has almost run its course.
So if Charisma is the topic of your Theme, what it is, where it comes from, why it is good, why it is bad, and whether it is even real or just an insanity of the moment, then you need to introduce your reader to a Character who would enthrall them in real life.
Spock was such a figure for ST:ToS (and still is). But note how many fans of Star Trek never found Spock interesting -- and instead were obsessed with Kirk, McCoy, Scotty, or even Chekov or Sulu.
Each individual fictional character was Charismatic and obsessive to different segments of the audience.
As the characters interacted with each other, the audiences melded together into a social force to be reckoned with by a Hollywood which had, hitherto, looked down on their victims.
Yes, Hollywood thinking disparaged fans (of anything) because those Execs knew the tricks of artificial Charisma that had fooled those fans.
Knowledge is Power.
The fans learned. Now the fans rule. Or do they?
Star Trek created an audience (out of pieces that would never have come together into a social force) using Charismatic Characters.
Study the audiences (fanfic reveals all), then study the Characters, and don't forget to study the writers, the producers, and especially those who supply the money (studios - read the Credits). Study how Charisma has been used, and find a new way to use it to explain the Happily Ever After is real, and not an ending but a beginning.