Cocktails, Characters & Quirks

I love creating stories. One thing I loathe in my own writing, though, is characters who lack depth. They are cardboard cut-outs with no imperfections. These characters bore me to tears. What about you? If you were going to introduce them to your friends, what would you say?

“This is my heroine, Joie. She heals animals. She loves her godmother. She’s pretty.”

Yeah. I won’t want to hang out with her. She comes across as perfect, right? Nobody is perfect. At least not in my group of friends. I want my characters to be real not cardboard cutouts.

Now what about:

“This is my heroine Joie. She heals animals. She thinks she’s too short. She has a jealous streak a mile wide but she is a loyal friend.”

So she sounds far more real to me. We all have things we don’t like about ourselves. We have flaws as well as strengths. I think she is someone I could be friends with now. Moreso than the cardboard perfect Joie from before.

Okay, but how do you get those quirks? How do you develop a character who is 3-D…believable? One way that I do it is with a simple three card Tarot spread. Try this out for your next character and let me know the results.

Cocktail Spread

The premise is that you are going to a party with your character as your guest. You are going to have to do a short introduction when you get there. Draw three cards for the following positions.

Personal Life

Using the award-winning Ghosts And Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt (U.S. Games Systems, INC 2012) I drew the following cards for a different character:

  • My character’s job requires them to be a mentally focused warrior. He can’t let his guard drop ever. (King of Swords)
  • My character’s personal life has too many ties to his past so he really doesn’t like to talk about it. (5 of Cups)
  • His quirk is that he parties so he can be one of the guys but he really wants one of the guys. (4 of Cups)

So, from this, I realized my character is a gay soldier who has rejoined the military to get away from a bad relationship. 😀 It’s my story so I get to let my brain wander wherever it likes. King of Swords is a warrior. When I saw the 5 of Cups next, I immediately wondered about his past relationships. Why would he be a warrior with a broken heart. But the 4 of Cups showed me he had a bunch of regrets but ignored them by indulging in the drink too much.

Or, if I were going a more paranormal track, I might say that he was an eternal warrior(job) who was haunted by all the loves he’d lost(personal life). He avoids water because that is how the ghosts of his past connect to him(quirk). And there’s nothing worse than being nagged by a dead ex!

This is a good spread for the main characters and the villain.

So what are your cards? What is your take away? I’d love to hear what you think. You can use any deck. A deck of playing cards (look the meanings up online) can work as can any oracle deck.

This exercise is from a workshop I used to teach online. I’ve turned that month long Hero’s Journey (a Tarot for Writers workshop) into an eCourse. Now you can take advantage of all the lessons, handouts and writing prompts whenever you like. No more waiting for me to set up a workshop. It’s my secret weapon for NaNoWriMo.

Some great books are:

  1. Vogler, Christopher, The Writer’s Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers
  2. Campbell, Joseph, The Hero with a Thousand Faces
  3. Pearson, Carol, Awakening the Heroes Within: Twelve Archetypes to Help Us Find Ourselves and Transform Our World

A more extensive bibliography comes with the eCourse.

If you like, I’ve got a video here. It is on YouTube but was on Periscope first. It’s not great quality video wise…it was my first one. 😀 I do a few exercises including this one. 😀

If you are doing NaNoWriMo, I’m there as TarotByArwen. I do it every year.

Please note that links included may be affiliate links which means I get a small monetary payment if you buy via them.

Originally posted in 2012. I've updated the post and republished.

Are Ghosts Really Invisible?

Remember that disengaging isn’t running away–it can be a safety valve.

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Ghosts and Spirits Tarot Four of Swords
Ghosts and Spirits

#affirmation Sometimes the Tarot is scary. That’s just all there is to it. Today’s blog challenge was to discuss invisible illnesses. I picked up my phone to look at my Tarot apps.

Using the simply gorgeous Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, I tapped it open. The app is set up so that you get a card right away. I got the Four of Swords. Scary, Tarot. Scary!

A more perfect card for this subject I cannot imagine. Here we see a figure who has vines and branches growing from her head to create what looks like a briar hedge.

One sword is a beam of energy that comes from the one spot of light to pierce her. The other three swords lay beneath her but she can’t seem to reach them.

I have an invisible illness. One that isn’t always so invisible when I have to use walls to walk. That’s my back. I joke about it. I keep it light. I tell people that my back has taken a vacation without me. But it hurts. Oh it hurts.

I am exercising now to lose weight. That will help my back in the long run. I am also doing Reiki with a dear friend, Michelle. Her business is Happy, Healthy Life. I recommend her!

One of the main things about the Four of Swords is that it can be a reminder to let our minds rest. That disengaging isn’t running away–it can be a safety valve.

When I am mentally stressed and in physical pain, like most people, I turn into a grouchy bear. I used to lash out because it made me focus less on my own pain. I’ve curtailed that now because I honestly didn’t like that woman I’d become.

I like me now though. I really really do. I’m still in pain. It’s a rare day that i don’t have some pain. So I exercise. I’m going to be adding in yoga to my routine. I’m going to continue to learn to live with chronic pain.

So here is today’s affirmation.

Today I embrace my need to withdraw. I honor the solitude that brings me relief. I open up to the opportunities to disengage more. I create space for my own needs. Loved and loving, I love each of you. Seek joy, y’all. Pass it on, please.

Four of Swords, Ghosts And Spirits Tarot, U.S. Games

What Did I Use To Believe In?

GhostsSpirits_10WheelHere’s a somewhat macabre take on the Wheel of Fortune. The very talented artist is Lisa Hunt. If you don’t know her name, you should. Besides being one the best known Tarot artist, she is a really nice human being. She even illustrated my Fairy Tales Tarot Spreads ebook! 😀 Enough bragging on Lisa though.

When the Wheel of Fortune shows up, even one with ghosts flowing down and out, I remind my clients that if they want the brass ring life is offering them, then they are going to have to lean out. (Wow. Faulkner would be so proud of that sentence. LOL)

It’s not a matter of whether or not the brass ring is there–of course it is.

The Universe is not setting you up to fail. Promise!

But you are going to have to stretch. You are going to have to take a chance.

If the Fool is the zero card, here he is again at 10. It’s a new beginning for the Fool but it’s not the end of his/her journey. What about you? Where are you on your journey?

This isn’t the end, you know. It’s only another beginning. If the actors knew that when the final curtain fell, that would be their last time on the boards, do you think they would ever start?

Why do any of us start? What makes us believe in stretching? What stops us from believing?

Your journal prompt today is, “What did you believe in that you don’t now? Why?”

Wheel of Fortune, Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, Lisa Hunt, US Games {aff}

#Seekjoy, y’all. Pass it on.

October 2012 Tarotscope Podcast Is Ready

This month brings you messages from the amazing Ghosts & Spirits Tarot(USGames 2011) by Lisa Hunt. Join me as I interpret the cards for your signs to give you some guidance for your month. What suit showed up the most this month?
Swords! Was your sign one that received a sharp-edged message or did you get a thump from the Major Arcana?

This podcast is 24 minutes and 32 seconds in length. Don’t forget to follow @Tarotscopes for your weekly tarotscopes as well. And if you like a daily message, join me on Facebook for my daily message about seeking joy and chasing bliss.

I do love hearing from you so I’m going to bait the trap. Leave a message here to be in the running for an hour reading for only $40. That’s right! You could win an $80 reading for half off just by leaving a comment.

AND, do you want to advertise your product on this podcast? Check out how!

advertise on podbean

Fairies, Ghosts & Victims

Today’s is with Lisa Hunt when she participated in my interview by drawing cards from her then new Fairy Tale Tarot. She now has the gorgeous Ghosts & Spirits Tarot out so I suppose I need to get her to do that one as well. Hmmm, wonder if she will!

For the first of these interviews on my blog, Lisa Hunt has offered herself up as a willing vic…errr, participant. I wanted to share a bit of what she said about this process.

Lisa Hunt on the process of doing this interview-by-deck: Lisa_grin

Read the interview.

Ghosts, Community & Pimps

Today’s card reminds me that community must be built, yes, but it must also be maintained. We all have responsibility to one another. We really are a global village. If you fall down, I will help you up. If I fall down, I will hold out my hand for your aid.

It’s what community does. A vibrant, growing community supports one another. I’m blessed to be a member of the professional Tarot community. Part of my goal as the president of the American Tarot Association is to promote this community. Sadly, not all are capable of being productive members.

But this is about those who are. Here we have the Three of Pentacles which comes from the amazing Ghosts & Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt. I can’t recommend this deck highly enough. It’s more of the same from Lisa Hunt. You know…gorgeous, lyrical, moving. I swear. Can that woman do anything else? I’ve never seen anything come out of her that is anything less than stunning.

But I digress! Look at these spirits. They are representatives of the Roman pantheon’s Manes who were guardians/ghosts of tombs. Even when you die, your community remembers you and supports you.

Each disk, to me, represents the work the spirit honors. They are slightly playful to me which seems to say that they have learned how to balance work with play.

Let’s honor community today. Who has taught you how to be a better person? A better business owner? A better parent? How do you honor your community members today? Feel free to leave a note for someone else below. You can pimp them out (but not yourself, grin.) Make this about raising up someone else.

My pimp is going to the creatrix of this deck. I know Lisa only through Facebook and her work. She and her husband designed my alter ego, Marilu Mann, logo. Working with Kort and Lisa was one of the smartest moves I ever made. They made it super easy to get exactly what my writing partner and I wanted.

Your turn!

Seek joy, y’all! Pass it on.

3 of Pentacles, Ghosts & Spirits Tarot, US Games, 2012

Seriously, you need this deck! 😀