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Creating a 3-Act Structure with Tarot Cards


I’m back for part two of my writing exercises using the Tarot for Writers book and my tarot cards.  Last week I created a new character, named Leo, and this week I’m using an exercise on page 72 about creating a three-act structure with two plot points.  I did not pull a card for the climax (seen in the book example) because I’m not actually writing this whole book.  Have a look-see at what cards I pulled and what I came up with for my beginning, middle, and end.   At the end of this post, I’ll tell you my thoughts going forward and what I’m going to write based off this reading for you guys! 



Act I – King of Swords
Leo, under the thumb of his father – a former MLB player, has played baseball his entire life from little league on through High School.  It is just expected that he will either go pro or play during college.  His father left baseball because of an injury and then became a professional agent.  He is powerful, successful, and charming.  Women love him, men want to be him – he never married Leo’s mother, but they co-parent as a team fairly well.  Leo’s father has high expectations of him and demands perfection above all else.  Leo must be the best! 

Plot Point 1 – The Moon
Leo, unhappy with the choices his Dad has made for him, has a dream one night while camping with his buddies.  He wakes up and walks under the full moon to the nearby lake where a young woman sits on a rock.  They have an amazing conversation about life, love, and the journey one must take for themselves when starting college. 

Act II – Nine of Cups
A college orientation party finds Leo in new surroundings.  Here no one cares about his Dad or sports at all really, but higher pursuits – science, literature, religion.  Leo must stand on his own two feet, as it were.  He wants to enjoy his time away from family and old friends, especially as he pursues this new life, but he’s finding it hard to figure out exactly where he stands and what he stands for.  He can’t seem to make up his mind about a major and starts having panic attacks that cause him to break down, sometimes going through a major depression for days/weeks at a time.

Plot Point 2 – The Sun
Leo is having trouble making new friends and starts to wonder if he somehow screwed up his entire life by walking away from his Dad’s plans.  He decides to take a long walk one beautiful Sunday to a public park that’s close to campus, to get away from his troubles.  He sees a group of guys playing ball for fun – no jerseys, no real official teams, no coaches.  Just a group, playing with a ball and a bat, having fun.  He asks if he can join them, which they immediately welcome and he plays for hours.  Sweating from the hot sun, he grabs a water and starts talking to one of the young men who goes to his school.  During their conversation, he realizes what he wants to study and finds a hobby that he’s good at and can enjoy for life.  He and his new friend walk back to campus together. 

Act III – The Hanged Man
After his day of fun, Leo chooses a major, settles into college life and meets the young woman from camp at a dance.  She’s the daughter of the Dean and just graduated from college the year before. She’s only a few years older, very taken with our Leo and they start dating.  Leo finally feels like himself.  He feels confident and has the courage to call his father, who he hasn’t spoken to in months and they start hashing things out on their way to redemption and a better, more grown-up relationship.   Leo feels like he’s on the right path – he has a handle on his shiny object syndrome, knowing that he can read and study anything without losing focus and he has matured into a bright young adult. 



Here’s what I’m thinking – I love the scene where he’s camping and meets the young lady by the lake so I think I will write that scene (2-3 thousand words) and post on the blog in a few weeks – I will get this one done quicker than my last tarot short story, I promise.  Does that sound like a good deal?  Or…if you guys like another scene more, comment and I’ll decide in a few days (maybe…Mon or Tues next week).  Thanks!

What do you think?  Would you read this book? Does it sound interesting?  What kinds of things do you see in these cards – seriously, give me your ideas, I might incorporate them.  I enjoy these exercises, but I’m not sure if I would use tarot cards to plot out a full book – but who knows.  I’m working on a novella right now that I plan on giving away for free when I get my newsletter ready so maybe I’ll pull a few cards if I have issues or run into plot problems.

Have you ever used the tarot cards for creative inspiration? Show me – I’m always trying to think of fun, new ways to use my cards.  

Published inBooksTarotWriting

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