A Journey through “Tarot for Writers” – Part 1 the Exercises

So, I just picked up Tarot For Writers by Corrine Kenner from the library (amazon link) and I already love it – seriously, it’s going on the To Buy list. 
I got Tarot cards this past Christmas and started learning all about the cards and how they were organized, Major vs. Minor Arcana and the different suits – Wands, Pentacles, Swords, and Cups. I started pulling cards in the morning and journaling. I started doing simple 3 card spreads for various questions I was thinking about in my life. This book though, takes the tarot cards and my creative life, to a whole new level.
The book is divided into three parts. Part one is about how the cards are organized and how to read them (simply and quickly). Part two is the writing exercises dealing with character, plot, settings, descriptions, and beating writer’s block. Part three is a guide to the cards with keywords, writing prompts, and things to think about for each card in a standard deck.
For fun, I thought I would go through two of the exercises – Character Creation and a 3-card spread for Beginning, Middle, and End. I’ll show you the cards I pull, what I write for each answer, and any other insights that come up. Then I will take what I write during these two exercises and I’ll compose a short story (1000-1500 words) and post that in a few days.  Okay, it sounds like fun to me. Lol  
Exercise 1: Character Creation (page 40 in the book)
Use the cards to answer the following questions. You can pull as many as you like to determine the answers. Note, I’m going to pull one card per question and I’m going to create a protagonist and an antagonist. If I need any further characters after doing Exercise 2 (the plot portion) then I’ll go back and do that on my own. Also…I named the characters after I pulled the cards, but put it at the top for easier ID.
PROTAGONIST – Elijah, goes by Eli
1. Is your character a man or a woman?
Card – Four of Swords
Notes – Man
2. How old is your character?
Card – Seven of Wands
Notes – 27 years old
3. What does your character look like?
Card – Ten of Cups
Notes – Medium height, brown hair, brown eyes, likes colorful clothing – oranges, blues, reds
4. What does your character do for a living?
Card – Ten of Swords
Notes – He was just fired, over a suspicion of wrong doing – the company he had just started working for says he stole proprietary information, he didn’t do it but he knows who did – but wouldn’t snitch
5. How does your character spend his or her free time?
Card – The Hanged Man
Notes – Carpentry, using his hands building things – it’s his passion
6. Does your character have a spouse, children, or a pet?
Card – Five of Wands
Notes – No, but he has a very tight-knit group of guys that have been friends since grade school
7. What are your character’s hopes and dreams?
Card – Two of Cups
Notes – A loving relationship, marriage even. Security and companionship.
8. What does your character fear most?
Card – Queen of Pentacles
Notes – Disappointing his mother and lack of money, he grew up poor and his Mom worked two jobs to make sure he got what he needed throughout his childhood. 
ANTAGONIST – Pansy was her given name but she changed it to Patricia to sound more lawyer-like
1. Is your character a man or a woman?
Card – Queen of Wands
Notes – Woman
2. How old is your character?
Card – Four of Cups
Notes –  40s-50s
3. What does your character look like?
Card –  Six of Cups
Notes – Younger than her years suggest, most people assume she’s 30 but she’s pushing 50. Bright colors look good on her, pale skin, blonde hair.
4. What does your character do for a living?
Card – Ace of Swords
Notes – Lawyer, Eli’s old boss, the one who accused him of stealing
5. How does your character spend his or her free time?
Card – The Chariot
Notes –  She secretly loves car races, like the Indy 500 and Nascar. She always wanted to be a race car driver, but her father wouldn’t hear of it – it was too dangerous for his only child. She was smart and her father knew she could go places with an education and a career.
6. Does your character have a spouse, children, or a pet?
Card – Ace of Cups
Notes –  Had. Past tense, now divorced. He slipped through her fingers. She was working all the time and they were too young to really appreciate what they had. He has since remarried and has children with his new wife.
7. What are your character’s hopes and dreams?
Card –  Knight of Cups
Notes –  State Supreme Court Justice…for now
8. What does your character fear most?
Card –  Two of Swords
Notes – Dying alone, never feeling love again – having to choose between love and her career again
Exercise 2 – Beginning, Middle, and End (page 69 in the book)
Just lay a card for the beginning, middle, and end of your story. Note, I laid all three as if in a regular 3-card spread with Beginning on the Left, Middle in the middle, and Ending on the Right – as shown below in the picture. Also, I used what I had gathered from the above Character creation exercise…meaning, this is the beginning, middle, and end of their story – not just a random plot. Okay, then here we go.
Card – The Devil
Notes – The day Eli gets fired. We see him being grilled by his boss, Patricia about the stolen information and although he didn’t do the deed, he knows who did and he won’t budge. She uses all of her lawyer tricks on him, thinking since he’s just a lowly paralegal he’ll crack. Although she’s pissed off that he won’t tell her what she needs, she’s oddly attracted to his reserve. Eli confronts his friend, the one that got him the job, the one who is actually stealing information and begs him to come forward for his own sake.
Card – Judgement
Notes – Eli can’t convince his friend and starts to pull away from his group of friends. While visiting his mother he accidentally lets it slip that he lost his job and why. His Mom is both proud and saddened by his actions, and gives him some advice: do what’s right for his friend. Tell the truth. But will Eli just give up 20 years of friendship that fast, even when he feels betrayed?  Will he have to think outside the box and come up with a different alternative to help himself and his friend and his ex-boss out?
Card – Page of Cups
Notes – Our young hero has decided and with it has totally turned his whole world upside down. He is on his own for the first time in forever and must learn to fend for himself. He must decide what’s best for him and him alone without worrying about his Mom or his friends. He has to realize that his needs are just as important and how he feels about himself needs to come first. He talks to his ex-boss, Patricia – gives her just enough information to figure out the pieces for herself and decides to look into carpentry type jobs instead of corporate money-making opportunities.

Final notes from me….in all honesty, this was fun but I’m nervous. This is not something I would normally write about – which is some ways is exactly what I need, but in other ways I feel completely out of my element. I hope I haven’t given myself too much information for a short story. Right now, I have a lot of interesting ideas about how to proceed and how to write this story.  I’m going to jump in, like the Fool card might do, and just start – shitty first draft and then clean up a bit before I post. Part 2 coming soon!!!

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