Friday, May 28, 2010
How I use Tarot in writing
So, yeah. I've kinda taken the past month off. I didn't mean to do it, but--well, it happens.
I think I'm finally getting myself off dead center, though. I let the story ferment in the swamp a while, deliberately not thinking about it. Then I talked about it, a little bit. Mostly about how I really didn't know which scene needed to come next.
This week, I threw down some Tarot cards. I thought I was doing a reading for my heroine, who is the confused one right now in the story, but the first spread--yeah, I went ahead and laid them out in a Celtic cross--seemed to fit my hero better. I didn't write any of them down, but the "You, where you are" card was one of the ones involving heartache--not the 5 of Cups, but maybe the 2 of Swords. Or maybe the 8 of Cups. I don't remember. What I do remember was the "As others see you" card was the 9 of Cups. In that others saw that he had everything he could possibly want--but really, inside, there was heartache. But heartache moving away. And the outcome card was -- dang it, I don't really remember. Either Justice or Resurrection. Justice, I think. Getting everything he deserved.
Then I did another spread, a triangle for my heroine. I wrote these down, and so I remember them better. I don't have the notebook I wrote it in with me, alas. Anyway, in her present, there was the Fool. But for my heroine, it was more like deliberate ignorance and fooling herself than innocence and faith. She's ignoring things she really does know. Then in the near future, there was the Magician, but he was reversed. I know a lot of people don't read reversed cards. I used to turn them right side up, but I usually don't any more. And it fit--though the meaning I got from it doesn't match what I usually read this one as, because in the heroine's story, her attempts to fix things and "make the magic happen," blow up in her face. And then she lets her fears and the lies she's told herself run her right off the cliff (Knight of Cups and Knight of Swords in her later future). There were 2 cards in each side of the triangle, but I mostly remember the Fool and the reversed Magician. (The others fit with these cards. I do remember that.) And the central card, that centers the whole reading was Strength. IOW, the heroine is stronger than she thinks and stronger than she realizes, but she needs to get control of her fears and guilt and grief--and she can.
So, between the two readings, I have decided that I'm going to write the scene I had in mind, rather than skip it. Or at least have the event happen. I may skim over a lot of it, but I think it's going to be a triggering event to kick off the Big Black Moment. Which I will then have to write, but it will get me to the end of the book, and I'm hoping I can have it done by the end of June. There just isn't that much left to write. An emotional blow up. Probably a literal battle scene of one sort or another. And it's done.
What did those readings have to do with my writing? A couple of days ago, I wrote about being stuck. I couldn't decide whether to have this event actually happen, or jump straight into the Black Moment. Either way could work, but I just didn't know. I couldn't make up my mind, even after letting the alligators in the swamp that is my subconscious chew on things.
This is where Tarot comes in, for me. It's a good tool to get the chewed-up bits in the subconscious out where I can get a look at them. The pictures can be symbols, or they can be literal. They don't have to mean what the book, or some class or site on the Internet says they mean. (And that internet link is a good one; it's where I learned Tarot.) It's about what they make me think of when I see them. And the "everyone thinks you have everything you want" card hit me. The scene I wasn't sure about is one where that would happen. People would see the hero and heroine together, and think they have it all. But they don't. The "magic" blows up in her face. That's how the cards helped me see what I sort of knew, but couldn't pull up out of the swamp. The cards themselves are nothing more than tools to help me see what I already really know.
In the meantime, since my writing process includes what you see in the picture above, I am typing in what I already have written, so as to get my head fully back into the story.
We're off to visit the fella's parents this weekend. I haven't been up there since his mom broke her arm back in January, though he has. We also have to get the paperwork filled out so the grandboys can come down and go to Sea Camp this summer. It will be fun. :)