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Writing With Tarot

First, in case you missed it, I’ve added pages for both Golden and Return to Shanhasson with links to excerpts.  I also have some good news:  Vicki is officially going to Samhain!  I don’t have a release date for Yours to Take yet but the contract is signed and I’ve got a few edits I need to work on.  We’re shooting for FRIDAY for Return’s release, but I’ll make an official post once it’s up and available.

Now, the meat of this post.  Since I finished the first draft of The Bloodgate Warrior, I switched my attention to preparing the next WIP, either a new contemporary erotic novella (longish) or Lord Regret’s Price, a follow up to Lady Wyre.  Since I have the most notes on Phantom, I decided to whip it into shape first.

So I’m going through my folders and notes, and there’s something wrong.  Something’s missing.  It’s small, but the project doesn’t FEEL right yet.  It needs to be more than a retelling, more than an erotic menage.  Something had me not wanting to write yet but I didn’t know what it was.

Before getting too frustrated, I pulled out my tarot cards.  My good friend Jenna Reynolds has taught me several tricks to use tarot for inspiration.  I started out by writing down my concerns on a sheet of paper.  Then I pulled a card at random and thought about what it could mean.  What was missing?  What did I need to figure out?

The first few cards were generally encouraging but nothing seemed to speak specifically to the solution.  The Fool.  Sure, my protagonist must take that leap of faith to start the story.  Ace of Wands, inspiration, the spark that starts the fire.  Yes, that’s exactly what I’m looking for!  But WHAT IS IT?

Where things started clicking:  The World card.  Something about the circle, neverending story, circle of life.  I drew a circle on a clean piece of paper and started doodling. 

Of course the next card I drew:  The Wheel of Fortune.  Again, with the circle!

Before too long, I realized that I’d missed the heart of my story.  Yes, I had it plotted on 4 spreadsheets.  I had character maps.  But in the end…  I didn’t have a solid THEME, around which everything should revolve.  That one little picture suddenly unlocked everything I needed.  My characters are the spokes in a wheel.  They’re all either trapped inside a vicious circle of their own making… or they thought they’d broken the circle, only to realize they’d broken themselves instead.

I need to break those circles, and then come full circle to heal them at the same time.

It doesn’t change my plot much, but it gives me that extra emotion I needed that will take this from a pleasant retelling to hopefully a killer emotional ride.

Do you have a favorite trick that helps you gain insight or inspiration when you’re stuck?

3 thoughts on “Writing With Tarot

  1. Love this! I’m going to try this when I get back to that fantasy piece I got stuck on and set aside…after revisions though 😉

    Yay on Return!!

  2. YAY for Return’s release!!! And For Vicki!!!

    I’m abusing exclamation points lately, but well, it’s been a good month for you so far, and I get excited!

    Sounds like I need to talk to Jenna, I’ve been dying to pull out my Tarot cards but I have no know-how.

  3. […] my friend Joely Sue Burkhart talked about in her post, Writing with Tarot, Jenna Reynolds has taught her several tricks to use Tarot for inspiration. Recently, Joely was […]

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