7 issues at the root of character problems

Whether you study the ancient seven planets, the seven invisible energy centers known as chakras, or the seven groups of Bach flower remedies, there’s a clear message:  

Seven is the ancient number of human completion along ancient spiritual paths.   Each of those seven steps along the path is rich with character strengths and flaws.   

Complex stories arise when characters come into conflict because they are

Whether you study the ancient seven planets, the seven invisible energy centers known as chakras, or the seven groups of Bach flower remedies, there’s a clear message:

Seven is the ancient number of human completion along ancient spiritual paths.   Each of those seven steps along the path is rich with character strengths and flaws.

Complex stories arise when characters come into conflict because they are:

  • Facing the same external issue while facing separate internal issues.  If the issue is a missing child, for example, one could be coming from fear (root chakra) and another investigator could be committed to solving the case only because of personal power issues (navel chakra).   Even as allies, they won’t feel connected until each grows through the issues of the chakra or emotion.
  • Or they may be facing the same core problem, but with important differences.  Bach’s fear group, for example, includes fear of loss of control and four other kinds of fear.   In a thriller, people experiencing different fears would have similar lessons and still find it hard to relate to each other until each learned his or her particular lesson.

Seven is a good base number, just as Bach’s full 38 is a full, complete list of character types.   Astrology, numerology and tarot contribute their own lists, as does the Hebrew alphabet.  

What every author needs is a reminder list that stirs memories and rouses the ghost of Agatha Christie’s Miss Jane Marple within your soul–a system that makes you say, with Miss Marple, oh that reminds me of so-and-so from my village (my life or the gossip I’ve heard) and the way that went is…