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Tell Me a Story in 30 Days

This post was written by Barbara Moore
on October 20, 2009 | Comments (16)

We all know that you can use tarot for readings. But did you know that you can use tarot for writing? You can! Corrine Kenner wrote all about it in Tarot for Writers. It is a perfectly logical extension of the traditional use of cards for readings. What is a reading, after all, but a story we tell about the possible future? Even if we don’t read predictively and prefer to use the cards for advice, we are still playing out possible plot lines. Corrine teaches us how to use the tarot as a tool for character creation, plot development, and setting. In addition, she gives great ideas for using tarot for blowing away writer’s block. For each card, Corrine gives fun writing prompts, that can work for journaling as well. For example, for the 8 of Cups, she suggests writing about: “a pilgrimage, a return from a hunt, a Shepard, a scavenger hunt, or take a break from writing and go for a walk.”  tarotforwriters

Do you know what month is just around the corner? November! And do you know what that means? NaNoWriMo! That’s fun to say, but what does it mean? National Novel Writing Month. The organizers call it “thirty days and nights of literary abandon!” I call it a chance to play with the cards in a new way. It doesn’t matter if you can write or not. The goal isn’t the end product. The NaNoWriMo website says one reason to participate is “to write without having to obsess over quality.” For us tarot lovers, it is also a reason to play with our cards every day for a month.

Even if no great fiction comes of it, think of all that you can learn about the cards as you consider them in new and different ways.

I’m seriously thinking of participating, even though I’m not really a fiction writer. Anyone else in with me? Come on, let’s do it! Crazy loves company. Which deck or decks should I use? Which ones will YOU use?

PS Don’t forget to enter the Tarot of the Sweet Twilight drawing!

Reader Comments

Written By Lisa
on October 20th, 2009 @ 7:46 am

Ohhhh… tempting!!! I’m in love with my Legacy of the Divine Tarot, so I wouldn’t have to think twice about the deck choice… Go on then, which deck are you thinking about using?

Written By Barbara Moore
on October 20th, 2009 @ 7:53 am

I’m going to post my game plan in the comments later today…so stay tuned!

Written By Elysia
on October 20th, 2009 @ 10:24 am

I am doing NaNoWriMo for the first time this year, and yes, I have been thinking of using Corrine’s book to help me through it! My first plan of action is kind of, well, um, automatic writing. Well, let’s rephrase that. When I do automatic writing, I’m not channeling some outside being or spirit – I am channeling my inner writer. Shrug. It’s worked for me in the past!

But yes, I fully intend to use tarot cards whenever I hit a roadblock, and I guess the deck I use will depend on what my characters tell me to do. : )

In prepping for NaNo, I have been looking to some of my favorite authors, and feel I want to emulate or capture some of the feeling of Serbian writer Milorad Pavic. Doing an Amazon search I was reminded of a book I read by him long ago that is based on the Major Arcana cards and can be read in any order (i.e. you can do a spread, and then read the book in that order, or you can read it straight through, or whatever). It’s called _Last Love in Constantinople_. It’s not his best work (that would be Dictionary of the Khazars!) but I think anyone with a tarot connection would find it entertaining.

Written By Daisy
on October 20th, 2009 @ 11:41 am

I’m taking part! Will be using tarot to help though, of course 🙂 I’ve got a Deviant Moon tarot on the way which I think will be marvellous… but Sweet Twilight, Legacy and Bohemian Gothic will also be awesome.

Looks like fun! See you all over there!

Written By Corrine Kenner
on October 20th, 2009 @ 2:40 pm

Thanks for the mention, Barbara! I also run a Tarot for Writers Meetup group that meets on the Internet … A lot of us will be encouraging each other to write novels this November. The web address is http://www.meetup.com/tarotforwriters.

Written By Mary Howard
on October 20th, 2009 @ 8:40 pm

What a great idea! I’ve signed up for NaNo and had an idea in mind, but hadn’t thought about using my tarot. I think this is an excellent notion and will definitely use it. I’m also going to join Corrine’s meetup group. 🙂


Written By Lindsey
on October 20th, 2009 @ 9:13 pm

I’ve actually used my cards to create stories before, but I used the whole deck. It’s amazing how the cards tend to create flowing stories that actually resolve themselves. Sadly, my first deck has chosen my boyfriend to be its reader so I’d use the Revelations Tarot since its imagery is more bold and vibrant than that of the Gothic Tarot.

Written By sinaz
on October 21st, 2009 @ 12:29 am

This will be my 5th year for NaNo. I used Tarot spreads to help me decide which direction to go when I hit a roadblock in my story line last year. This year, in The Song of the Ancients, I will be writing separate scenes in which my main female and male characters each answer a question with the Tarot. For Nicholas, the interpretation of the reading will cause serious trust issues. But then, he has those issues already.

Written By Michelle
on October 21st, 2009 @ 7:54 am

Corrine’s meetup group is phenomenal, as is her book of course. For anyone using Tarot as they write for NaNoWriMo, please come join us on the forums at our Tarot for Writers thread: http://www.nanowrimo.org/eng/node/3265179

Written By Ron (Bulal)
on October 21st, 2009 @ 8:56 am

Hello Barbara,

Love the post. I use the tarot to write poetry very frequently. The most fun I’ve had with it is writing predictive poetry on twitter. Squeezing nineteen cards into 140 characters makes for a great learning experience. I haven’t written any in about a week as I have been trying to get some material together to launch my blog, but I invite you to come check out the work sometime. I am @Bulal. Again, great post and I’ll be looking forward to more…

Love and Light,

Written By Barbara Moore
on October 21st, 2009 @ 11:09 am

Sorry I didn’t comment yesterday about my plan. I’ll say what decks I’m using and tomorrow hopefully post some details about my character creation, which I am working on today.

I’m using the Lo Scarabeo Tarot for basic foundation stuff–general character identification and general plot.

The Fey Tarot for character development.

The Sweet Twilight for detailed plot creation.

Haven’t decided on a deck for the setting yet.

I plan on letting the cards shape the entire story.


  1. Monogamous or Polygamous?  on October 22nd, 2009 @ 8:42 am
  2. Creating a Character with Tarot  on October 27th, 2009 @ 8:03 am
  3. To Crop or Not  on November 12th, 2009 @ 9:14 am
  4. Tarot and Creativity  on December 1st, 2009 @ 9:03 am

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