Not for the faint-hearted…or the romantic

Last night I attended my local Romance Writers of America chapter meeting, where the presentation was on tarot cards and how to use them to inspire your writing. The presenter passed around a few samples from her collection of 145 decks, and speaking as someone who has never seen tarot cards up close and personal, I thought they were very interesting.

The deck I looked through was medieval-ish, dark backgrounds, pale faces, mostly rather grim. The deck down the table from me, called the Vanessa deck, was decorated with only female images, including one that closely resembled Sarah Palin and another that was almost a dead ringer for Hillary Clinton–she was even in front of a podium!

Mostly the presentation was a little scattered. She wasn’t teaching us how to read tarot cards in the normal sense, she was basically encouraging us to use the cards to brainstorm and get past the occasional writer’s block. For instance, if you don’t know what should happen next, draw a card. Then use the image on that card (or the traditional tarot card arcana, of which I knew nothing before last night, but which includes things like Death, the Sun, the Moon, the Magician, etc) to inject a new element or direction into your manuscript.

At the end of the evening there was a raffle for a giveaway deck of tarot cards, and guess who won them? Me! I was excited…until I saw them. Now I’m more than a little creeped out.

How do you suppose these cards might inspire a light-hearted, romantic story?

I’m open to ideas…

Can you imagine ‘getting your cards read’ with these cards?? I think I’d be terrified.

Posted in RWA, tarot on 05/19/2010 09:38 pm


  1. Well…unfortunately, you managed to knick one of the taro decks that really wouldn't fit your story. Although, if you could look past the creepy monsters, you might be able to work.

    Say your couple just had a fantastic night on the town and their chemistry is really brewing. Then you draw the creepy gray thing. That could be…the heroine's older brother who let himself in with the key under the mat is helping himself to all of her food in the house. Drama in the home and a strain on the relationship, especially if he starts poking about in it.

    Did that give you any ideas? I guess if you didn't like them you could give them away…either as a gift to one of your friends, or it could be a giveaway contest on your blog or something…

  2. Fascinating way to tackle writer’s block – I might try it but would look for a less horrifying set of Tarot cards. (Do they exist?)
    Rune stones would work, too – much better for romance writing and for a reading!

  3. Green Girl in Wisconsin

    Yeah, I'd skip on the cards–there's enough inspiration in plenty of other places!

  4. wow.. i've never seen tarot cards either and i have to agree, they are pretty freaky.

    i guess i can see how that might be a good exercise to get past writers' block…

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