Sunday, 1 February 2015

Tarot For Writers - Three-Card Spreads For Story And Character Development

three-card spreads for story and character development
Create awesome stories with the Tarot
“You can't wait for inspiration. You have to go after it with a club.” 
Jack London

The Tarot can be an excellent writing coach.

Let the magickal scenery of the cards fuel your imagination and help you with plot and character development.

Once you are familiar with the basic card meanings, you can use spreads to help you generate ideas.

Start off with 3-card spreads to keep it simple.

Character Development

You can explore a character’s
  • Past – Present – Future
  • Job – Love Life – Ambitions
  • Strength – Weakness – Potential
  • Goals and Motivations – Stakes – Internal conflict
  • Dreams and Desires – Hopes and Fears – Inspiration

sharman caselli tarot three card spread
Sharman-Caselli Tarot

Job: Five of Cups - Funeral Director, Bereavement Counsellor
Love Life: The Devil - In a co-dependent relationship; sex addiction
Ambitions: Six of Wands - To escape the current rut and become a travel rep

Story Development

Develop a plot simply with
  • Beginning – Middle – End 
  • Dilemma – Action / Climax – Resolution 
  • Action – Reaction - Movement 

Beginning: The Star - recovering from a serious illness
Middle: Queen of Wands - living life to the full 
End: Seven of Cups - new possibilities; dreams, desires; crossroads; an open ending

In order to get more specific ideas, you can pull one or two sub-cards for each position. 

For example, how does the Queen of Wands live life to the full?

Sharman-Caselli Tarot
Answer: Knight of Cups, Nine of Pentacles - She falls in love with an artist 10 years her junior, and together they take on a smallholding to convert into a bird sanctuary and B&B.

You can also adjust your ideas to a specific genre such as sci-fi, fantasy, crime, chick lit, horror, romance etc.

For example, in sci-fi terms, the Star could indicate a journey into space heading for an earth-like planet to find new living space for the human race.

The Queen of Wands suggests a charismatic female commander of the spaceship, whose task it is to explore the planet to see, if it is suitable as a new home for humans....

But how does the story develop according to the remaining cards? Now it's up to you to let your imagination run wild :)

I must stress that I'm not a fiction writer, so what I've come up with in this exercise may not be that brilliant, but the cards certainly made me think and challenge my imagination.

If you would like to learn the Tarot in order to use it as a story-telling tool, then consider enrolling on my correspondence course to unblock your blocks and accelerate your creative writing power.

Warmest wishes,


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