I’ve noticed that one of my most viewed posts on this blog is the Fiction Writing and Tarot post. Since the response was so strong for it and because they’re fun to do, I’ve decided to make a part two! For this exercise, instead of using a tarot deck I’m going to be using an oracle deck. The Halloween Oracle deck is really beautiful and it’s one that I haven’t used enough since I received it. Oracle decks are sometimes easier for people to use since they don’t carry as much stigma around them as Tarot cards seem to. Today this post is less about exploring my characters and more about a fun activity that could help to inspire you write your own stories. Ready to get started?
The setting is the first part that you are going to focus on for this spread. Where should my story take place? When I drew my cards, the setting card was death and it was symbolized by a butterfly in front of the moon that has a skull projected onto the face of it. So what do you think the setting would be? Since the tip was for us to look at the landscape of the card, maybe I could say that the setting will be someone looking at the night sky. (Hopefully your cards won’t be as difficult as mine were!) Maybe the character is on a plane contemplating a change in their life. Underneath the death card is the caption the eternal cycle starts here so maybe it is the beginning of something new. Maybe a baby is being born at night or outside? The possibilities are endless.
Next we have an action or motivation. What should my character do next? The card I drew was Invisibility and the description in the oracle book talks about both being afraid of something we can’t see, feeling like we’re being watched and also feeling like we would desire to be invisible. So maybe the character is feeling paranoid about being watched and they go somewhere public as a result. Maybe they go somewhere that they feel safe. Maybe they are the ones who are invisible (literally or metaphorically) and decide to stalk another character because of suspicion or obsession. Do they have something in their past that they are trying to hide from? Are they in danger? Are they dangerous? Maybe they are protecting someone by watching over them.
Many of those questions can be asked by characterization, thinking about your character or giving your characters traits (good and bad.) What do I need to know about my character? Hello, Hearth card. The hearth card is of a blazing fire in a stone fireplace with some candles lit in front of it and baked loaf of bread off to the side. An angry looking stone gargoyle decorates the mantle. The caption for the hearth card reads, happiness in our hearts and homes. So my character would have a happy home life and is generally a happy person. Isn’t that interesting, considering in the previous card we have the character being watched or watching someone else for reasons we don’t know. My story is getting more interesting by the minute!
Still, there’s one thing that is a part of any really good story…a plot twist. How can I add a twist to the plot? My answer was the Cauldron card. Since its caption is about synergy and healing maybe my character is fighting an illness or is suddenly diagnosed with something. That could either be good news because they’ll be in a public place where it will be harder to be watched by the mystery person (or not, I watch a lot of Pretty Little Liars) or bad news because they are forced to stop watching whoever they were watching. Maybe even protecting that person.
Either way, it creates conflict, which is a vital element to writing a story. This bring us to our next setup…Now my character is in trouble! How do I get them out of it? Here kitty, kitty. It’s the Black Cat card. Lucky for the character the black cat’s caption says fortune and opportunity. Maybe someone comes to see the character in the hospital or gives them a ride to one if they need it. Maybe a doctor releases the character from the hospital. Maybe the person the character was watching over or stalking happens to work at this hospital. What do you think?
Everything will be so much clearer now that we’re reaching the end of the story. What type of ending should this written work have? My card was the Apple, a card about risk and reward. There’s a heart shaped bite mark in the center but dripping from the hand that holds it is something that looks like blood. Do you like happy endings or sad ones? Will the character complete their goal? Regardless of the type of ending you like, this is a question that has to be answered.