Thursday, March 19, 2015

Writing Tarot Cards

I have studied and read Tarot cards for over 20 years now (I can't believe it's been that long, which makes me feel old). It annoys me when the Tarot is misrepresented in entertainment, like movies. As a writer, I know it's done for dramatic effect, drawing on stereotypes and often misinformation. As a reader, it furthers misinformation that my clients often believe and can make it difficult to do readings for them.

If you would like to accurately depict Tarot cards in your work, here's a few tips:

1) The Death card does not mean death. This one drives me crazy. The card actually indicates a change that is coming or needs to be made and it won't be easy. The death of something - a habit, a relationship, an endeavor - not a person. In letting this aspect go, you are opening yourself to new potential.

2) Not everyone who reads cards (or does other forms of divination) is a psychic. When you are reading anything (cards, tea leaves) you are reading symbols. Readers trust that the Universe has put what the client needs to know out there for us to interpret. Often, readers are highly intuitive and that intuition grows as they practice. We are not all psychics able to predict the future or mediums that can deliver messages from those who have passed on.

On that note...

3) Tarot cards do not always predict the future. There's a difference between fate and destiny. Fate is changeable, destiny is not. Few things are destined in life. The cards may indicate something is coming, but you have the power to change your course or work towards it. Pulling cards for predictions any further than three months isn't always useful because so much can change in that time, rendering the prediction void.

So what are the cards for?

4) Tarot cards are for guidance, to help you see another angle to a problem, information that may be hidden from you at the moment, or help you find your path. Most questions that I pose to the Tarot start with, "What do I need to know about...?" or "How can I...?"

5) Not all Tarot readers fit the typical New Age stereotype. You will not come into my home and find an abundance of crystals or New Age music. People from all walks of life read Tarot. Try to avoid stereotypes.

6) There are many types of decks though the most common one is the Rider-Waite. If you want to view some decks, check out the website Aeclectic Tarot. The site features a wide variety of decks and reviews.

Those are some of the basic things that are misrepresented when it comes to the Tarot. If you are using Tarot cards in your story (or are just curious), I will answer any questions.

If you read Tarot and have something to add to the list, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comments below.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

I Don't Read The Same Way I Did

I have always been an avid reader. I love my books and have been known to tote around the book I'm reading to work and sometimes to family functions. When I take my kids to an activity (dance, gymnastics or swimming), you'll find me in the corner, face buried in a book.

Since coming back to writing my own stories, the way I read has changed. I've learned so much recently that it's hard not to read differently. I still read for pleasure and get lost in the stories, but now I'm looking at things differently.

When I pick up a book , I'm noting the way the author has put together the story, how characters and places are described, use of language and all the other fun stuff that makes a story. I notice the way I'm relating (or not) to the characters and try to look at why that is. How is the author invoking this response from me (or not)?

Heck, I even watch television different now. While watching Elementary, I've been paying attention to the way the mystery unfolds and the way they put the clues together. I've been looking at the tension between characters and how the episode unfolds and forwards the larger story while some of the sub-plots are wrapped up or also moved forward.

I've always enjoyed thinking about stories and characters on a deeper level. Now I can analyze what the author did to bring a story and characters to life and hopefully use some of that in my own work.

Monday, March 2, 2015

Music Makes My World Go Round

Music has always been an important part of my life. Certain songs can transport me back to moments in time or make me stop to dance or sing (not very well). So it's no surprise that music has played a role in my writing.

Listening to music not only blocks out the television my husband watches across the room while I write, it also helps put me in the right mind frame. Sometimes it can be hard to reach certain emotions or mind sets and, for me, music helps.

I was delighted when I saw Lilith Saintcrow had posted playlists for her Dante Valentine series, which I enjoyed. I've also seen many other people on Twitter discuss or mention their writing playlists.

For my first novel, Shadowed Soul, and the sequel, I listened to a lot of heavier music. Godsmack was great for the aggressive scenes, while Nine Inch Nails and Marilyn Manson were perfect for the darker scenes. I even have a playlist titled 'Sad' for when I need to write depressing scenes like deaths or breakups.

It's interesting because I don't choose the music. While I'm writing, I put my tablet on random. During the process I notice what music pushes my creativity along, keeps me in the frame of mind I need for the work in progress, or generally connects with the tone.

Do you have a playlist for your writing? Do you use the same songs/artists/albums or do you tailor it to your current work?