Tarot and the Art of Putting Words in Characters Minds, pt 1

Good Morning, Macketeers!

Today I’m gonna babble briefly about my plans to revise my TAROT (Teller of Accessible, Resonant, Organic Tales) system, which was originally implemented on little slips of index paper in a nice font called Showcard. It was a lovely idea, but the longer I tried working with it, the more unwieldy I found it, because I had over two hundred little slips of index card arranged increasingly haphazardly and sandwiched between two or three large sketchbooks. The project I was working on was languishing, and I found the whole thing far too confusing to use with any accuracy.

So I’m going back to square one, and I’m going to use select a new series of words that help me to define story dynamics and character developments, and I’m going to design full sized Tarot cards, which I will then arrange in a Tarot-like pattern of my own devising, signifying the relative shape and size of the story in progress.

This is NOT a dedicated writing tool for devising any and all future works; I don’t think random selection is appropriate for every situation. However, I have been trying to devise schemes for writing interactive stories, and it seems to met that, with just enough cards and a large enough surface to arrange them on, I can eliminate some of the problems I’ve had with keeping my ego out of the equation, and speeding up the development of the various plot threads.

In the end, it won’t be quite as random as all that, the words will have been selected ahead of time, and the parameters for the story will have been set. What will be different is that each plot point or bisecting plot thread will have variance, which I will then have to labour to make ‘work’ in the context of the greater story experience. I’m thinking the deck I will use will actually be a handful of different decks, with each deck devised to assist in meeting certain story ‘sentence’ components. There will be catharsis cards and dilemma cards and reaction cards and that sort of thing. I’ll spend some time on it, so that it works of its own accord without my having to break my own rules to make things fit.

Then, if and when I ever get a working system, I’ll have them printed off and see if I can’t see a few to my friends who claim they wish they could write but can’t, for whatever reason. This will be a teaching tool for them, but in the application I have in mind for myself, it will also free me to do the kind of interactive writing I’ve been talking about while still allowing my authorial instincts to thrive.

So that’s where TAROT (Teller of Accessible, Resonant, Organic Tales) is at right now. I’ll keep you posted when I get the system sorted out, and show you different strategies for making it work.

Eddie.

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