Here are the books I’ll be using for this year’s NaNoWriMo.
Here are the books I’ll be using for this year’s NaNoWriMo.
You know what I always say: If you can’t judge a book by its cover, it’s not being marketed correctly.
Here’s a sneak preview of my next release, Astrology for Writers. Isn’t this a fabulous cover design?
I wrote the book knowing that it would appeal to a lot of the same readers who bought Tarot for Writers — and Kevin R. Brown, who designed both covers, obviously kept that in mind, too.
Astrology for Writers is going through editing and production now, and Llewellyn has it scheduled for publication next May.
Have you been thinking about crafting a short story? Here’s a free excerpt on character creation from my book Tarot for Writers.
When you’re ready to start assembling the cast of your next story, deal yourself a starting hand. Begin with one card for every character you’ll need. Typically, you’ll want to include:
A Protagonist. The protagonist is the hero of the story. He sees the most action—and the most conflict. The word “protagonist” is Greek; it used to mean the first actor to speak on stage in a drama. Since the protagonist is the star of the show, you’ll want to develop a detailed character profile to use as a reference while you write.
An Antagonist. Every hero has an opponent—the anti-hero, or antagonist. Even though the antagonist isn’t the main attraction, he or she should be just as interesting as the protagonist.
Foils. Because everyone needs a friend, many literary characters have foils—sidekicks who illustrate their strengths and weaknesses. Don Quixote’s foil was Sancho Panza; Sherlock Holmes had Dr. Watson. Fred had Barney, and Lucy had Ethel. Even bad guys have henchmen, minions, and lackeys: Captain Hook had Mr. Smee, for example, and Dr. Evil had Mini-Me.
Supporting Characters. Figures who pop up throughout the course of a story without taking lead roles themselves are supporting characters. They usually have names and at least some explicatory background; you can develop character sketches for them, too.
Stock Characters. Almost every story includes stock characters, such as bartenders, taxi drivers, and mail carriers. They’re usually nameless, but they step in as needed to keep the story moving.
You might be tempted to develop a proverbial cast of thousands—especially when they come so readily through tarot cards. Don’t succumb. Remember to keep your minor characters locked into minor roles. Consolidate their parts when you can, and make sure that their presence adds to the story without detracting from the major players.
. . .
Photo by Katrina Brown; licensed by Corrine Kenner
This still makes me laugh every time I watch it.
Be sure to watch all the way through to the stunning surprise ending.
While tarot might seem like a visual medium, you can — and should — use all of your senses during a tarot reading.
Here’s a sample “five senses” reading from my book Tarot for Writers.
Try pulling details and imagery from five cards — one for each of your senses. Take, for example, these impressions:
As you develop your ability to sense what’s going on in the cards, you can consolidate your efforts and use all of your senses in a single card, too.
Diane Chamberlain blogs about tarot for writers today on her Red Room blog:
I’m not much of a believer in the occult, but I do love Tarot, not in any small part because the 78 cards in a Tarot deck can be so beautiful. There’s something undeniably fascinating in the symbols and images, and it’s easy to get caught up the magic.
My first reading was done by a real pro: author Nora Roberts. We were at the Washington Romance Writers’ annual retreat at the fabulous Hilltop House in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and Nora was doing readings for her friends. I think she told me my marriage was destined to last forever. The next reading I had was by another fellow writer, the late, beautiful Virginia Ellis, shortly after my divorce. Ha! So as I said, I’m not much of a believer, but I do believe in taking brainstorming help wherever I can get it, and a good Tarot Card reading–for a writers’ characters rather than for the writer herself–can jumpstart a scene, or even an entire book.
Like Nora, Gin Ellis was a generous reader. At a Novelists, Inc conference in Santa Fe one year, she read for every major character in my work-in-progress. I learned one character’s deepest, darkest secret, why another was afraid to be a mother, and why yet another chose his particular career. There are many, many other ways to brainstorm, but none as intriguing or fun as Tarot.
I’m aware of one book on Tarot specifically for writers (Tarot for Writers, by Corrinne Kenner), but I’m sure there are more, because writers have turned to Tarot over the years (over the centuries, since Tarot’s been around that long) to help them develop characters and story lines.
Tarot came into play with my upcoming novel, The Lies We Told. I didn’t use it to help me brainstorm, but my characters themselves use it to. . . well, I’ll wait until the book comes out to tell you!
So how about you? Have you ever had a Tarot reading?
It looks as though a lot of novelists will be using “Tarot for Writers” this November!
by Chris Gladis
Note from the Editor: November sees the beginning of NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month. Anyone can join the thirty days of literary abandon. WTD will run posts to inspire and encourage you on the way.
By Marelisa Fábrega of Abundance Blog
National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) begins in just a few days, on November 1st, and thousands of would-be authors are registering with high hopes of crossing the finish line on November 30th, novel firmly in hand. The objective of writing at least 50,000 words in 30 days doesn’t seem so daunting, until the sobering thought hits that you have absolutely no idea what you’re going to write about. Or perhaps you do have an idea—one that would look great as a blurb on a book jacket cover–but the plot is eluding you, or you can’t see your novel’s characters very clearly. One solution is to prime your creativity pump by turning to the tarot.
Although the tarot is most often used as a tool for divination, tarot cards are also great, practical tools for writing and creative thinking. Corrine Kenner, author of “Tarot for Writers”, explains that well-known writers, such as John Steinbeck and Stephen King, have used tarot cards for inspiration. She adds that Italian novelist Italo Calvino went so far as to call the tarot “a machine for writing stories.”
If you’re thinking of writing a novel, you can apply the imagery and symbolism of the 78 cards of the tarot to help you develop plot, conflict, character profiles, dialogue, and scenery, as well as to introduce unpredictable elements. The cards can even serve as a creativity prompt if you hit a brick wall while you’re writing. With a tarot deck beside you, you won’t be starting out with a blank sheet of paper. Instead, you’ll have a world of imagery as your disposal, which, if you allow your imagination and intuition to step forward, will begin to move, speak, and take action. This article will help you get started in using the tarot to write your novel.
Read more here: The Tarot as a Tool for Writing Your Novel
Writer Kait Nolan is using tarot cards – and Tarot for Writers – as she develops a trilogy for young adults! This is from her blog:
I did a series of tarot readings for my novella hero yesterday. I’ve been slowly going through and doing lots of my characters. Marley, Conall, and now Gage. With Marley and Conall, it was kind of trippy. The symbolism and such in the cards seemed dead on in an eerie kind of way. The one for Gage–didn’t seem to fit. It made me think about how much easier it is to interpret the cards in light of an existing story. There’s a natural tendency to fit the interpretation to a framework you already know. With Gage–well, I’m still kind of learning him even though I know his story. It will be interesting to see when I get down to more detailed plotting on my YA trilogy Totem how the cards work as a plotting tool. I read a bit about it in Tarot for Writers yesterday, but didn’t really have the time to play with it. Overall, I”m finding it very interesting, though I still have loads to learn.
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Michelle has started a Tarot for Writers thread in the NaNoWriMo forum! Thanks, Michelle!
Tarot for Writers
Just thought I’d start up a topic for people in Corrine Kenner’s Tarot for Writers meetup, people who have and use her Tarot for Writers book, and anyone else who likes to use the cards to help them figure out what to write. (For those of you in the meetup group, I’m Michelle.)
Last year I was amazed at how helpful Tarot cards can be when I’m writing. When I get stuck and don’t know what to write, I take out my cards and see what happens. I like doing a simple three card past/present/future spread for plot, but that barely scratches the surface of what you can do. Anyone else using Tarot this year to help plan or write?
The Right Word at the Write Time (my blog)
07: Quest for Serentasia (winner)
08: Swimming in the Garden (winner)
09: The Ultimate Rewind
You can follow it here: Tarot for Writers | National Novel Writing Month
There are some good tarot haikus on the Waking Spirals blog, like this one:
Tarot Haiku-VI of Swords
September 21, 2009
Sailing through dangers
We designed the fraught voyage
so we could triumph
Click on the “tarot” tag to see them all, or try this link: Tarot « Waking Spirals
The amazing Stacey posted a shout-out for Tarot for Writers today! She’s a fascinating person to follow – she’s the mother of five (yes, five) young girls with groovy names, and she writes ghost stories.
When I’m not tripping the tarot cards fantastic, you can find me buried under books or writing them. I’m lucky enough to have found Tarot for Writers to help with some sticky plotlines. November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNo for short) and this method of using the cards to help with plot, character development and challenges will be a great help!
Join me at my writing blog, Flibbity Gibbet, to track my progress or better yet, join me!