Can’t start a story. Don’t have any ideas. Or got writer’s block. Here is a method that will help. Use the Tarot. Select the Rider-Waite Deck. It is the most popular and the one that many other tarot decks refer to with their symbols. For interpretation: A copy of Eden Gray’s A Complete Guide to the Tarot.

Remember that there are a number of ways to interpret the cards. Be free with your interpretation. Go with the first thing that comes to mind.

Step One: Protagonist.

Start with the Protagonist. Draw two cards. One will be a Court Card. This is for the Character’s Physical Appearance. The second card will be from the Major Arcana. This will tell you the identity of the Character.

Example: Court Card is the King of Swords. Character is male. Red haired. At least, in his early forties. He is successful. Could be a lawyer, a judge, a general, a professor. Some sort of intellectual. Because the Swords represent Air, Intelligence.

Major Arcana card. The Hanged Man. He is always sacrificing himself for others. Putting other people first.

Step Two: Situation.

Now for the Situation that the Protagonist finds himself in at the beginning. Draw three cards.

Example: First draw: King of Swords. A major decision must be made. Possibly a law suit.

Second draw: 2 of Swords. Tension in relationships.

Third draw: 2 of Cups. The beginning of a love affair.

Interpretation (you the writer will decide what this means). My interpretation is that this man is trying to decide whether he will get a divorce so that he can be with the woman he has been having an affair. Either way there will be consequences.

Step Three: Setting

Draw one card for the setting. Six of swords. The Protagonist and his wife and child are on a boat.

Step Four: Plot

If a Short Story:

Do a Celtic Cross. Each position is described in Eden Gray’s book.

If a Novel:

Do four Celtic Crosses: One for Act One, one for Act Two Part One, one for Act Two Part Two, and one for Act Three.

When you have completed this exercise, you should have a complete plot for your story, your novel, your play or your screenplay.

Have fun.

6 thoughts on “Plotting

  1. This is amazing, thank you! I have used tarot cards off and on a long time and have recently taken up with consulting them again regularly. I never thought to use them for my writing and this is precisely the connection I needed to make as I’ve been struggling with the problem of getting started on something longer. What a strange coincidence! I have enjoyed your other posts on writing as well. They are very clear and get right to the point. You must be a teacher? Thanks again.

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