Hi everyone! Vanessa here to welcome my friend Rhea Rhodan to the blog today to talk about tarot and her new paranormal romance “The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing.” Welcome, Rhea! ~V
10 of Coins, 9 of Swords. If they means anything to you, you have at least a passing acquaintance with the tarot. If not, don’t fret. I’ll try to keep this post in Kansas (though I do use it on the yellow-brick road too). Broadly speaking, the 10 of Coins represents the attainment of material success and security. The Nine of Swords reflects overwhelming anxiety.
This particular pair of cards, drawn at random and employed as writing prompts, gave birth to the first scene of my new release,The Legacy of Buchanan’s Crossing(click here to read the scene). Alas, Clint languished in a file waiting for a proper heroine to save him from his grim fate. After he finally caught Cayden’s fiery eye and she presented herself to me, I agreed she would be perfect for him. I wrote over a dozen scenes scenes for the book employing (random) tarot card pairings, though not all of them were used in the final manuscript.
Conversely (or perversely), it was writing vignettes as a way to familiarize myself with a new tarot deck that gave birth to my fictional writing career. Though I’d told myself stories since before I could read and I’d pursued a journalism degree in college, I didn’t combine my imaginative inner life with a non-fiction writing life until those tarot vignettes. Once unleashed though, my stories refused to stay locked in my head.
I was a teen when I bought my first tarot deck, but I was around 30 before I began collecting decks and studying the tarot in earnest. I was living in Germany at the time, trying to improve my language skills so I could get a decent job (while amusing myself with little stories in my head at the boring jobs available to me). Books in English were expensive, so I translated German versions of tarot books. My understanding of the tarot improved and so did my German, even if I did have a somewhat unusual vocabulary.
So by now, whether you fancy yourself a writer or not, you might be wondering how to use tarot cards as writing prompts. You don’t need to be familiar with the tarot to use them this way (or any other way, for that matter). You might want to have a reference handy though. Most decks come with at least a little white book. Or you could just use the artwork to prompt you. No matter how you intend to employ them, select a deck that speaks to you in some way, whose artwork inspires you and/or reflects your inner life. I favor Rider-Waite themed decks myself and change decks regularly, especially for a new story or new ideas.
There are some great websites which offer a few images of various deck to help you choose. I like http://www.aeclectic.net/tarot/. This site also provides some excellent resources for further exploration of the tarot.
Each standard deck has a suit of 22 Major Arcana cards representing the major themes of life, along with four suits of pips one through ten (daily situations), and face cards (personalities). You could write a scene using just one card, but I quickly found that too static. By using two cards, or even three, you open yourself to interaction—between characters, character and situation/self, character and setting, etc. You get the idea. There’s no need to interpret the cards, at least not beyond what you need to spur your own imagination. Spend a few minutes considering the images and how their themes might interact and write whatever comes to you.
While I stumbled on this use of tarot cards all by myself, I was hardly surprised to discover many writers use tarot cards in their writing. One publisher I know of had a whole tarot sub-line with each book by inspired by a single card.
As writing tools go, tarot decks are relatively inexpensive. And fun. Contrary to popular belief, writing is hard work. Why not add a little play now and then? Don’t fancy yourself a writer? Give it a try. You might be surprised.
If you have any questions, feel free to ask them here, or contact me privately through my website.
What price will destiny demand?
Warding the Crossing has always been Cayden Sinclair’s destiny. With her beloved Gran growing weaker, it’s time the little witch took her place. Juggling substantial curves for her frame and an inconvenient inability to control her power has always been a serious challenge. But not until discovering her fated Keeper is the extremely hot, tragically clean-cut insomniac who’s ignored her for months, does she truly fear failing her legacy.
Now that he’s finally on the road to the top with an offer from a big developer, Clint MacAllen can’t allow his struggling construction company to be threatened by a vicious nightmare, or his inexplicable attraction to a goth clerk working the graveyard shift at HandiMart—no matter how potent they are.
J. Milton Developments has its own agenda for Buchanan’s Crossing, and they’ll spill blood to get it.