The end of October is upon us, and aside from pumpkin muffins & crisp leaves, this means it’s time to prepare for National Novel Writing Month! This will be my fifth time participating in NaNoWriMo, which happens every November. Participants vow to write a 50,000 word novel during the thirty days of the month.

If you’ve always wanted to write a novel but been daunted by the magnitude of the task, NaNoWriMo is for you. It’ll set your pants on fire and force your inner critic to shut up. The point isn’t to write an articulate, perfectly pruned novel. The point is to just… WRITE. Words. Fifty thousand of them. It’s exhilarating, terrifying, and everything in between.

Maybe you have zero ideas for a story, or perhaps you have a general concept that needs to be fleshed out. Either way, with a few clever tarot draws, you can sketch the foundation of your novel. There are countless spreads and methods already available to help facilitate this process (I own and recommend the book ‘Tarot for Writers’ by Corinne Kenner). I’m going to add some more spice to the pot by sharing three spreads I’ve created. I hope you’ll find them useful!



What am I even writing about?: A spread to
establish the theme of your story.

I’ve found that identifying the theme of my story early on is crucial. The theme provides an anchor for other elements of the novel. This spread will help you evoke and explore your novel’s theme.

  • Cards 1 and 2: The overarching theme.
  • Card 3: Feelings and thoughts this theme might evoke in a reader.

  • Card 4: Why this theme is important.

    Multi-faceted Characters: A spread to introduce your cast.

    I’m a sucker for good characters. An interesting crew of people can keep me hooked even when the story has other weaknesses. This spread will help give your characters depth and intrigue.

  • Card 1: initial development state. This card, contrasted with the last card, will help determine how the character grows during the events of the story.
  • Card 2: Who they are within

  • Card 3: Who they are without (or what aspects they show to the world)

  • Card 4: Greatest Strength

  • Card 5: Greatest Weakness

  • Card 6: final development state. How the character has transformed over the span of the novel.

    What actually happens? A spread to hash out the plot.

    It has come to my attention that once you begin writing a novel, things need to happen. This spread will help you explore what those things might be.

  • Card 1: Introduction, how the story begins.
  • Card 2: Inciting incident, how the action starts.

  • Card 3: Challenges, what gives the plot complexity.

  • Card 4: Darkest hour, where things hit rock bottom.

  • Card 5: Triumph, how the previous card is transcended.

  • Card 6: Ending, how the story winds down.

    Have you ever used tarot for writing? I’d be interested in hearing your thoughts.
    Write on,

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