"Sun Signs for Writers" by Bev Walton-Porter

Pros: Advice relevant to your personality; very attractive and fun-to-read book
Cons: Section on character creation doesn’t include suggestions for avoiding stereotypes
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Review book courtesy of F+W Publications/Writer’s Digest Books
Visit the author’s website

“Sun Signs for Writers” by Bev Walton-Porter is a fascinating concept. It uses the basic sun signs of astrology to address some of the various personality issues writers face when it comes to such issues as rejection, criticism (giving and receiving), and trying to get published. It also includes a section on using the personality profiles of the sun signs to create interesting characters for your stories.

The book is colorful and attractive, and certainly a unique and interesting approach to handing out writing advice. My first thought was that it would be little more than a curiosity, because I don’t particularly believe in astrology. However, after reading through the first few signs, I realized it has a strong value even to people who scoff at such things. Because it addresses issues such as criticism and rejection based on personality rather than some attempt to give universal advice, you can look through the book for the bits and pieces that fit your personality and use the suggestions given regardless of whether they fit your sun sign. There are many different suggestions depending on how you tend to handle various situations, and you’re sure to find something in here that’s relevant to your own issues and abilities.

Each sun sign’s section addresses that sign’s personality as it pertains to writers in specific. The author includes several suggestions for breaking through writer’s block, rejection do’s and don’ts, thoughts on how that personality type gives and receives criticism, personality-specific publication hints, and a couple of writers’ exercises. Each ends with a list of famous writers born under that sign. This is one of the first times I’ve seen an effort to tailor advice regarding rejection, publication, criticism, etc. to such a wide variety of personality types, and I think many people will find this invaluable regardless of whether they care about astrology at all. Read through for the tips that you believe pertain to you, and try things until you find something that works out. The suggestions are creative and thorough, and, I believe, quite helpful.

Finally, the book ends with a section on creating characters using sun sign personality sketches as archetypes. Each sign’s notes include tips on professions that might suit a given sign, motivations and flaws, and sun signs they might well be paired with or oppose. The suggestions here certainly could help spur some creative material. However, I wish that each sign had included a few thoughts on details that could prevent stereotyping. These are old personality archetypes, and because of that it’s all too easy to end up with stereotypes when using them if you aren’t careful.

This book would make a fun gift for any writer. It’s an attractive curiosity piece, but it has a great deal of valuable advice tucked within its pages.

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