Using Tarot To Write a Novel

For NaNoWriMo this year, I’ve decided the answer is in the cards… the Tarot cards, that is. I will write 15 chapters, each averaging about 3334 words (2 days of writing for NaNo per chapter). I will draw one Tarot card per chapter, and that will help me figure out what is going to happen in the story. It’s also a challenge to make a coherent story that will still fit with the cards drawn for the final chapters.

Here are the cards for each chapter. The way they will be incorporated will be flexible. They might describe a character, a setting, an event or complication, a mood… whatever strikes my fancy.

1. 7 – The Chariot
2. 6 – The Lovers
3. 5 – The Hierophant
4. 4 – Four of Swords
5. 3 – Three of Swords
6. 20 (2) – Judgment
7. 19 (1) – The Sun
8. 18 (9) – The Moon
9. 17 (8) – The Star
10. 16 (7) – The Tower
11. 6 – (6) Six of Cups (Reversed)
12. Page of Wands (Reversed)
13. 10 (1) – Wheel of Fortune
14. Knight of Wands
15. 9 – The Hermit

It looks like the cards may not have been fully shuffled. But the rest of the deck looks sufficiently shuffled (not a lot of big runs of cards like this), so I don’t feel the need to redo the “spread.” Just when I thought I might have to, after the first three cards were 7-6-5 of the Majors, then the Universe plays a joke with the 4-3 being a switch to Swords. Continuing we go back to the higher set of Majors for (reduced) 2-1-9-8-7, then another switch to Cups for the 6. Interesting the way the numbers could indicate a reversal of some kind, a de-evolution, or going back in time… Could THIS be a backwards story? Maybe the Cassandra myth told backwards won’t work but a fresh story idea might? Definitely want to play with this. Whatever the case, I am fascinated by the first 11 cards going backwards in numerological value… what are the odds, especially with the fact that different suits come together in just the right way for this?

Okay, so how about a keyword or phrase for each card that can help my plotting and characterization…

1. Stubborn
2. Community
3. Teacher
4. Retreat
5. Heartbreak
6. Jumping to the Wrong Conclusion
7. Parade
8. Advice
9. Christmas
10. Walls Coming Down
11. A Break From the Past
12. Being With Others
13. What Goes Up Must Come Down
14. Eagerness
15. Lessons Learned6

I want to point out that these words and phrases are just whatever struck me as I looked through the list and at the cards. They might seem weird – how is the Page of Wands “being with others” you might wonder? Well, I saw the desert in the card and noticed the Page is alone. But the card is reversed – thus, being with others. These keywords and phrases are not set in stone and can be altered at my whim, but the cards must not change. (I can, however, use additional cards to clarify while I’m plotting OR writing.)

That’s all for now. Will continue my plotting journal as I go along.