authors, blog, blogging, books, brainstorming, character development, guest blogger, Jane Seymour, Jenna Reynolds, Live and Let Die, movies, Nova, plotting, Raelyn Barclay, Roger Moore, Samuel R Delaney, tarot, The How To Write Shop, world building, writers, writing
Greetings! My name is Jenna Reynolds, and I’m delighted to have been asked as a guest blogger on Raelyn’s blog. She’s done a fantastic job of integrating the tarot with creative writing, and I’m thrilled that she’s given me this opportunity to speak to you. So, first off, let me pose a few questions.
Do you want to be more inventive and creative when it comes to your writing? Are you willing to take inspired and imaginative leaps in order to generate electrifying concepts for your short stories, novels, or screenplays? Do you want to not only avoid writer’s block, but to quickly come up with ideas for characters, plots, scenes, and settings?
If the answer is yes, then the tarot can help you. As you’ve seen on Raelyn’s blog, the tarot is an amazing tool for generating ideas and concepts for your stories.
I picked up my first tarot deck in the late 1980’s. I had seen the tarot in movies such as Live and Let Die, in which Jane Seymour plays a character named Solitaire, a tarot reader. The tarot features rather prominently in the plot, although the screenwriters, like so many others before and since, tended to see the Death card as literally meaning death. Cue the ominous music.
The cards used in the film are from a deck called The Tarot of the Witches and are even offered for sale at a website called Bond Lifestyle that sells all sorts of Bond accessories, gadgets and clothing.
I also came across the tarot even earlier in Samuel R. Delaney’s space opera novel Nova, but I had no idea at the time that the cards the futuristic characters were using were based on the tarot.
However, since then I’ve read dozens upon dozens of books about the tarot and collected over a hundred tarot card decks, but it wasn’t until I began to seriously focus on my writing that I saw the tarot as a tool for generating ideas.
I presented my first workshop on using the tarot and writing in 2008 for my local writers’ group. This year I will be offering my first online course on the tarot and writing at the How To Write Website.
Not only have I studied the tarot, I’m also a student of narrative structure and archetypal mythology, and I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and mulling over the tarot when it comes to writing fiction and screenplays. What I’ve discovered is that when we use the tarot in our writing, we are limited only by our imagination and, since the imagination is limitless, that means the possibilities for using the tarot with writing are also limitless. Especially when there are so many amazing artists who devote time and effort to come up with such beautiful, evocative decks.
There are hundreds upon hundreds of tarot decks, with more being published every year. They deal with themes and subjects ranging from aliens to baseball and from housewives to vampires. This bounty of tarot decks means that no matter what genre you’re writing in, whether it’s fantasy, science fiction, mystery, romance or erotica, there’s probably a deck out there that you can use to brainstorm plots or create characters.
In my workshops, I encourage participants to not only open their minds when it comes to working with the tarot, but to open themselves up to their own creative possibilities. I think sometimes that we all are a bit hard on ourselves when it comes to what we can accomplish as creators, whether it involves fiction, dance, art, music, or our own lives.
Yes, the tarot can be used as a means for personal growth or even for the telling of fortunes, if that is your interest. But where I think the tarot’s greatest strength lies is in its ability due to its striking imagery to free ourselves creatively.
For example, in one of my workshops, which was held at a science-fiction convention, tables were not provided so that the participants could lay out their own cards, so I decided to lead the group in a brainstorming session. I used my over-sized Rider-Waite deck so that everyone in the group could see the cards.
Using the handouts that you’ve seen on Raelyn’s blog, I selected a card for each position on the layout. I even had someone read out the meanings of the card as I walked among the group and showed the card I had selected. We managed not only to create a rather interesting and complicated character, but also to plot out a pretty exciting science-fiction mystery.
Are you interested in learning how to use the tarot to enhance your brainstorming abilities when it comes to writing your stories? Do you want to learn how to tap into the archetypal symbolism of the tarot to explore not only the creative potential of your stories but of yourself as a writer?
If so, I invite you to sign up for my workshop, Plotting and Brainstorming with the Tarot. The online class starts Sunday, October 23rd and will run through Saturday October, 29th. During that week, I will guide you through the process I have taught at my in-person workshops for using the tarot in your writing and, once the workshop is over, you should, at the very least, have an idea for a main character and the beginnings of a plot.
This could prove especially helpful if you’re planning on participating in National Novel Writing Month or what is generally known as NaNoWriMo. I’ve participated in NaNoWriMo since 2003, and the three years that I’ve “won” (meaning I finished a 50,000 word draft in 30 days) were the years I prepared beforehand. Some people prefer to just start from scratch on November 1st, with absolutely no idea what they’re going to write. And that’s perfectly fine.
But if you’d like to at least have some idea of who your characters will be or your what your plot is going to be about, Plotting and Brainstorming with the Tarot can help you with that. And even if you’re not planning to do NaNoWriMo this year, the tools and techniques I teach in the workshop can help you no matter when or what you’re planning to write.
You can sign up for the workshop at the How To Write Website:
How to Write Shop: Plotting and Brainstorming with the Tarot
The fee is $20. If you have any questions, please enter them in the comment section.
Thanks, Raelyn, for having me as a guest on your blog. You’ve done a fantastic job with the tarot as it relates to writing fiction, and I look forward to your future postings on the topic.
Priestess Image from Art Nouveau Tarot Deck by US Games Systems
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Jenna Reynolds writes paranormal, erotic, futuristic, mystery, and romantic fiction.
She also writes short erotic fiction under the name Anna Black.
She physically reside somewhere in the Midwest, but in her imagination she has worked in an elegant brothel in the distant future on a faraway planet, ventured deep into the darkness of a vampire’s dungeon, and raced across the golden plains of the Old West.
She plans to take even more exotic and exciting trips in the future.