Overcome writer’s block and generate new ideas with tarot or picture cards
Ever find yourself happily writing along and then, suddenly, you’re stumped on what should come next? When I start a scene, I usually have a general idea of the direction I’m going and how it will end. But occasionally, my characters take me in a new direction or the ending I had in mind feels insufficient.
This happened to me recently. An ending to a new chapter left me feeling uninspired. And, worse, I couldn’t think of a better ending. Every idea I thought of felt forced.
In my writing room is a set of Tarot cards. I don’t know how to read the tarot, but I purchased them because of their beautiful pictures. Plus, I’d heard another writer say that she used them when she needed inspiration in her writing. At the time, I thought it was pretty silly—am I really going to incorporate a Price of Cups or Queen of Wands into a story?
But that day, I was desperate. I shuffled the deck, closed my eyes and asked for the perfect card for my chapter ending. I pulled the Prince of Cups and, though I had no idea what the card meant, the picture was mesmerizing: a blue prince riding a gigantic eagle. A falcon perches on his crown. In one hand he holds a cup with a coiled snake rising up, while his other hand clutches lotus flowers.
As I studied the card, my unconscious mind brewed an idea.
The first time my protagonist meets my antagonist, she falls into a kind of trance and sees him morph into the blue prince in another dimension. (It’s a fantasy novel). I wrote the new ending and, to this day, it still gives me chills when I think of it. The image was perfect and gave my story an extra layer of meaning. So far, it’s my favorite chapter ending.
Sometimes, our minds need to be opened up. We need to throw in a wild card. I’m now a firm believer in taking inspiration where you can get it.
If you don’t like tarot cards, then find another set of cards—angel cards, animal cards, anything that gets your imagination going. They have cards for everything these days. Below are some examples:
The Zombie Tarot: An Oracle of the Undead with Deck and Instructions
Medicine Cards: The Discovery of Power Through the Ways of Animals
Also, you may want to investigate the book, Tarot for Writersby Corrine Kenner. From the product review on Amazon, “Once reserved for mystics and seers, the tarot is one of the best tools for boosting your creativity and shifting your imagination into high gear. Famous authors, such as John Steinbeck and Stephen King, have used the tarot deck to tap into deep wells of inspiration, and you can enliven your own writing the same way—whether you craft short stories, novels, poetry, nonfiction, or even business proposals.”
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