NaNoWriMo 2022: My Favorite Technique for Starting a Novel

Do you fear the blank page when you sit down in front of a new document? Starting a new novel can be terrifying, but I have something that might just make the process less scary – even, dare I say it, fun!

Let me introduce you to one of my favorite Tarot spreads for starting a novel.  I created it a few years back and it’s been super helpful for me and my own writing. It allows me to get clear on my main character’s actions and motivations, who else is in the scene and what their motivations are, and any conflict or problems that need to be addressed within the scene.


If you’d like to see me go through the process using my own NaNoWriMo novel, click here to watch this week’s YouTube video.


Before you start, grab your outline and notes so you have that information handy. Grab your favorite Tarot deck, something to write on, and a beverage!!  Let’s go…


Once Upon A Time Tarot Spread

  1. What is your main character doing in this scene?
  2. What is your main character’s motivation in this scene?
  3. What is the problem or conflict that your main character is going to encounter in this scene?
  4. Who else is in this scene?
  5. What is their motivation?



Things to think about


If you already know who’s going to be in your scene, you could skip over question 4 and pull multiple cards for question number 5, one for each other character in the scene – that totally works!


And the beauty of this spread, it can be adapted to work with other scenes.  Yes I created it as a beginning your novel spread to help with that blank page issue, but if you get to a point in your outline or writing and you don’t know what to do, grab your cards and ask who’s in the scene, what’s their motivation, and what’s the overall conflict or problem and see what comes up

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