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Wednesday, May 25, 2011


Hey Baby, What’s Your Sign?

Recently I went out for Chinese food. The restaurant was nothing fancy, just a little hole-in-the wall type of place. The kind where there’s bottles of soy sauce on the table and you just know the food is loaded with MSG. Mmm, delicious.

The paper placemats were printed with the Chinese Zodiac and while we waited for our food, my friends and I amused ourselves by figuring out our signs.

For those of you that don’t know, the Chinese Zodiac is a 12-year cycle with an animal representing each year. Those born under the sign of a particular animal are said to share some of the characteristics of that animal.

I was born in the Year of the Rabbit, which has cycled around again for 2011. So, being a Rabbit, I’m supposed to be creative, articulate, compassionate, reserved, a bit of a homebody and have a tendency to avoid conflict. That’s not too far off, especially the homebody and conflict avoidance parts. Apparently my ideal partner is someone born in the Year of the Dog or Goat.

According to my placemat, Dogs are loyal, honest, kind, trustworthy, stubborn and sometimes selfish. Okay, so not everyone’s perfect.

Goats are creative, intelligent, calm, like to travel, may be high-strung, can need a lot of love and support and sometimes suffer from insecurity. Hmm. I don’t think I’m partial to Goats.

Just for fun, I decided to check my two characters, Shawn and Graham, from my recent release, Scent of Attraction, to see which animal they might be and if those animals are compatible.

I’d describe Shawn as shy, reserved, career-oriented, and a little awkward in social situations. That would most likely make him an Ox. Oxen are most compatible with those born under the signs of the Snake or Rooster.

Snakes are intelligent, analytical, charming, generous, somewhat materialistic and rely on gut instinct. Apparently a lot of artists are born in the Year of the Snake. This doesn’t sound like Graham. He’s smart, but he’s not motivated by material possessions and he admits he doesn’t always have the best instincts, especially when it comes to dating. 

Maybe he’s a Rooster. They’re confident, motivated, practical, resourceful, organized, and conservative. Roosters make good accountants and bankers. This sounds a lot more like my lawyer, Graham.   

Then, right in the middle of my chicken chow mein, it hit me. Maybe I could use the Chinese Zodiac as a starting point for personalities and characteristics for my characters. I could choose two compatible signs. Since each animal has both positive and negative characteristics, the negative characteristics might even suggest conflicts for my potential couples.

Let’s see. I could pair a warm-hearted, naturally dominant, hot-tempered and independent character born in the Year of the Dragon with a clever, charming, curious and aggressive man born in the Year of the Rat. There’s lots of potential for the sparks to fly with those personalities. Hmm, just thinking about that gives me an idea…

Pender Mackie lives in Canada though she spent her childhood years in England. An imaginative child, Pender wasn't a willing student and didn't learn to read until age nine when her father -- deciding some incentive was needed -- promised her a pony as soon as she could read a newspaper. Properly motivated, Pender picked up a book and discovered the joys of fiction. Though her infatuation with ponies didn't last, she still loves a good story. A technical writer for almost twenty years, Pender spends her daily commute making up characters, romantic plots and daydreaming. Pender has been writing M/M romance stories for three years but Scent of Attraction is the first submitted for publication. She is busy putting the final touches on several others.


Lindsay K. said...

Awesome place for inspiration among the MSG! LOL

Sloan Parker said...

Great post, Pender. Love that you were able to find something for your writing on the placemat. I use descriptions from the Zodiac Signs as part of my character sketches. Now I'm definitely going to have to work the Chinese Zodiac info into it too. Thanks for sharing!