Character Development with Tarot

I tried to do this without a script and realized I missed a few things. So this is my third attempt at this podcast, with a script in hand and no interruptions. Let’s see if I can do this in one take, shall we?

Hey, Nanowrimoers and welcome to Season two, Episode 3a of the Dark Mystic Quill podcast.. I am your host, L.A. Jacob.

I was up at five this morning and got my word count in by six-thirty. The story I’m writing is about a Latino band singer who is trying to make it into the big time. I don’t plan on publishing this story because I would have appropriated the Latino culture, which I am not a part of, nor am I deeply familiar with it. In short, I don’t want to insult anyone.

When I started, I only had the line, “She’s a band singer.” I had the first line, “Lena didn’t usually answer the phone if she didn’t know the number, but she was bored.” It’s supposed to be a mystery, but it’s moving so slowly right now because I’m stopping to describe everything in detail to get the word count up.

But this podcast is not about what I’m doing, it’s how to  help you with what you’re doing. 

Because I write character-driven books, I have a habit of throwing in characters to get plot moving. Maybe you do the same. If you do, then I have a magical tarot card layout for you. You won’t find this in my book, “Real Magic For Writers” – you’ll find it only here on the podcast. 

First, you need a tarot deck, or even an oracle deck if you don’t have a tarot deck. the difference between an oracle deck and a tarot deck is usually the number of cards, and the oracle deck usually has a theme around it. For example, I have multiple oracle decks that I use to supplement the tarot readings.

Next, you need a character. If you’re like me, you have a name and not much else. I look up names first using the Social Security website for baby names in different states. In this case, I’m looking up names in Puerto Rico.

Shuffle the deck concentrating on your character. Ask the cards, “What should I know about this character?” You will chose four cards.

Deal the first card. This is a “visual” of your character. this could be what your character looks like, or a discerning physical feature. I’ll give you an example I just did this morning. 

Jean is the percussionist in the band, and he’s a friend of Luis, the main character’s ex-boyfriend. Jean has suddenly appeared at a club that the main character, Lena, is going to. What is Jean like?

The visual card I chose was the Ace of Pentacles. Someone who is pentacles is usually dark. So I gave him dark hair and dark eyes. then the muse suggested, “Why don’t you make him Dominican?” So now he has darker skin as well.

The second card is the character’s strength. The one I chose here was the Ace of Cups. He’s a loving, caring person with a big heart. That made me wonder, does he like Lena?

The third card you pick is the character’s weakness. In this, I chose The Fool. Jean is a sweet person, but he’s naive. He probably does like Lena, but doesn’t have the courage yet to ask her out. 

The last card is the character’s relationship to the main character, and in this case it was the Knight of Cups. Her new lover! That will be toward the end of the book because right now Lena has to deal with work, her ex, probably her family, the band, and someone who’s going to kill her.

Hopefully that helps you with character development. Next week I’ll be in a virtual write-in sponsored by Paper Angel Press. You can join me and some of the other authors and editors from Paper Angel Press, like J Dark, Nancy Wood, Steven Radecki and Laureen Hudson. The website is, all one word. I’ll be there on Friday night, Saturday afternoon, and Sunday morning and afternoon. You can log in and talk to me or other authors and editors. We’ll be more than happy to answer any questions you might have about publishing, editing, writing or even just to chat. Come join us!

That’ll do it for now, and I hope you have a productive week with NaNoWriMo. Stay tuned for an update next week.