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Tarot for Writers

Tarot for Writers

Tarot for Writers

Once reserved for mystics and seers, the tarot is one of the best tools for boosting your creativity and shifting your imagination into high gear. Famous authors such as John Steinbeck and Stephen King have used the tarot deck to tap into deep wells of inspiration, and you can enliven your own writing the same way—whether you craft short stories, novels, poetry, nonfiction, or even business proposals. This book on reading tarot cards and applying them to your writing will guide you through ea

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3 comments on “Tarot for Writers

  1. 48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
    4.0 out of 5 stars
    A Great Resource for Writers, February 24, 2009
    Janet Boyer “Snowland Deck Creatrix” (JanetBoyer(dot)com) –
    (TOP 500 REVIEWER)

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    This review is from: Tarot for Writers (Paperback)

    “As a writer, you already know what it’s like to hold the power of creation in your hands. With a few strokes of a pen, you can forge a universe or start a galaxy spinning in space. You can mold brave new worlds and planets, complete with mountains, plains, and seas. You can even establish nations and cities, and populate them with culture and history. Like a living god, you can determine the future of an alternate reality. When you hold a tarot deck in your hands, you have an additional tool at your disposal–on that can make your job as a creator infinitely more rewarding.” – From Tarot for Writers

    One of the go-to authors for making the cards incredibly accessible, lively Tarot author Corrine Kenner focuses her sparkling wit and breadth of knowledge on equipping writers with a handy tool for their creative endeavors in her newest book, Tarot for Writers.

    From mapping out the Hero’s Journey with Tarot to producing character profiles, busting through writer’s block to constructing that all-important first line, Tarot for Writers serves as both an introductory lesson in fiction writing and a first-rate primer on the cards, especially since Kenner provides detailed information on all 78 cards in the second half of this 358-page book.

    With literally hundreds of practice exercises, writing prompts, and helpful lists accompanied by black-and-white card images, Tarot for Writers is the only book on the market showing how the mysterious imagery and symbolism of the cards can be applied to conflict (inciting and resolution), characterization, dialogue, description, metaphor, pacing, scenery, introducing unpredictable elements and so much more.

    In fact, one of my favorite tips in this book (in the section on breaking writer’s block) is where Kenner suggests writing an impromptu story based on a card’s title or keyword. She writes “Feel free to play: you don’t have to take them seriously. Perhaps when you see `Stagnation’, it’s time to send your character to a bar called `Stag Nation’.”

    I also loved the prompts from the Eight of Cups card, especially the last one:

    Write about:
    * a pilgrimage
    * a return from a hunt
    * a shepherd
    * a scavenger hunt
    * ….or take a break from writing and go for a walk

    As a writer, that’s a great piece of advice! Many of my breakthroughs come while on the treadmill or spending time outdoors.

    Another neat writing practice, Fill in the Blanks, encourages writers to imagine the responses a character might have to simple, fill-in-the-blank prompts, such as “I am _____. You would never guess it by looking at me, but _____” and “I am _____, and I always say _____”.

    Using card imagery from the Universal Tarot by Roberto DeAngelis (Lo Scarabeo), owning an actual Tarot deck isn’t required for using Tarot for Writers, which is fantastic. However, Kenner provides enough tips and prompts to show writers how to cull similar inspiration from virtually any Tarot deck on the market (provided the Minor Arcana contains animation of some sort–people, action, scenery, and so on).

    There are a few sticking points with this book, however. For one, Kenner sends writers through the whole “make a sacred space by dispelling negative energy with sage” spiel, including laying out a spread cloth, cleansing, centering meditation, grounding visualization, and so on. Personally, I feel this is highly inappropriate because not all writers are spiritually inclined, wanting only to use the cards as a practical tool for enhancing the writing experience. (Yes, I realize Tarot for Writers is categorized in Body, Mind & Spirit, not Reference, but still…)

    Also, Kenner does a great disservice to writers completely new to Tarot by not providing a list decks with imagery that would be appropriate to use with her exercises. As many of us familiar with Tarot darn well know, trying to find a Tarot deck as a newbie can be incredibly overwhelming. And, if a writer is shopping in a brick-and-mortar store–which often doesn’t have opened Tarot decks for perusal–how would they know if a particular deck has an illustrated Minor Arcana as she recommends (especially since many Tarot boxes, even box sets, conveniently leave off pictures of the Minors)?

    And a Bibliography, showing the books that Kenner referenced when writing? Non-existent. Um, sorry, but no matter how knowledgeable a Tarot author might be, no one has everything memorized to the point of instant recall, especially historical facts, writing theory, traditional symbolism, etc. To her credit, Kenner sometimes says, “Waite says this card…” (This isn’t an isolated incident, though. I’ve seen quite a few reference books spanning various publishers that don’t seem to require a Bibliography, which I find inexplicable and exasperating).

    Additionally, it would have been nice if Kenner listed some additional books…

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  2. 29 of 34 people found the following review helpful
    2.0 out of 5 stars
    A Great Concept Falls Flat – Does Not Live Up To Its Bold Promises, January 22, 2011

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    This review is from: Tarot for Writers (Paperback)

    When I first saw that someone had written a book about Tarot specifically for writers, I was so excited. What an amazing concept! Of course Tarot cards would be an excellent way to help generate exciting plotlines, interesting characters, and fascinating life situations! After all, the Tarot is the story of the Fool’s journey to spiritual enlightenment and the interesting “characters” he encounters along the way. Although Tarot For Writers does contain good information and some interesting interpretations of the cards, it does not live up to its promises to “kick-start your creativity.”

    Tarot For Writers opens with a very generic history of the Tarot, a few pages on the basics of reading Tarot cards, and some simple spreads to lay out and interpret the cards. For those new to Tarot, this is hardly comprehensive, as the entire section covers only about 30 pages of the book. However, for those looking to use the cards for nothing more than a bit of writing inspiration, this may be sufficient.

    My biggest complaint overall is that although this book is titled Tarot For Writers, the actual section devoted to using cards in writing practice (what the author refers to as “the real heart of the book”) covers less than 100 pages of this 350 page book. Corrine Kenner does go into basic use of Tarot cards to help create characters and storylines along with setting and description, but these chapters run about 10 pages each and barely skim the surface of all the possible methods through which the cards could be used to help writers. In the early chapters, the author makes some bold promises that are not kept. Directly, she states, “You’ll even explore ways to boost your success at editing, revising, and promoting your work.” This reader did not find any relevant advice as it relates to editing and revising, and I found absolutely nothing related to promoting your work.

    The bulk of this book is its individual description of each of the Major and Minor Arcana cards in the Tarot. This section makes up more than half of the book. Although I did find some interesting interpretations of the cards, Kenner’s thoughts on the cards are nothing new, and much better interpretations can be found in more comprehensive books. Particularly disturbing, though, is Kenner’s ability to interpret much of the imagery in the cards as phallic symbols. I am not sure that every long, thin image in the cards is intended to subconsciously represent the male genitalia. Also, this book promises “over 500 enjoyable writing prompts.” Here are examples of writing prompts from Ms. Kenner’s description of the Four of Wands: “Write about: a wedding, a celebration, a marriage, your first home, your parents.” These are hardly writing prompts alone, let alone “enjoyable” or original ones.

    Tarot For Writers, although conceptually a great idea, is a huge missed opportunity to explain the many possibilities when using Tarot cards as a tool for writers.

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  3. 25 of 29 people found the following review helpful
    5.0 out of 5 stars
    Not Just For Fortune Telling Anymore…., February 20, 2009
    L. A. Sorgaard “MN Book Bug” (Minnesota, USA) –

    This review is from: Tarot for Writers (Paperback)

    Most people think of tarot cards as a fortune-telling device–but they’re also an excellent tool for writing and creative thinking. Writers from John Steinbeck to Stephen King have used tarot cards for inspiration, and novelist Italo Calvino went so far as to call the tarot “a machine for writing stories.”

    With Tarot for Writers, you’ll discover how an ordinary deck of tarot cards can help you break through writer’s block, generate story ideas, and develop multi-faceted characters and plots. You’ll also learn how tarot cards can help you hone your dialogues and descriptions, whether you’re generating new material or breathing new life into a project you’ve already begun.

    Tarot for Writers will guide you through every stage of a writing project, from conception to execution, and later through the rewriting and editing process. You’ll even learn how tarot cards can help you market, publicize, and promote your work.

    I anxiously waited for this book to be released and bought it the very day it came out. That’s not something I usually do. It was due in part to intrigue: I have a tarot deck at home that I am learning about and was curious about this new use for; but mostly to try something new to aid me in my quest for writing a book of my own.

    I rushed home with it, got my hot cup of coffee, my blanket, a notebook, my tarot cards and my dog and dug in. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I can say that this book contained a lot more than I thought it would. What an invaluable resource for writers, and a great resource for those just wanting to learn more about the tarot cards themselves!

    Corrine Kenner sets out, very simply and thoroughly, how to use one card at a time to develop a story. From creating characters to enhancing dialogue to creating conflicts, this book tackles every conceiveable topic. It will definately give you a new way to look at your project or start a new one.

    It’s my understanding that Ms. Kenner is in the process of preparing a workbook to go along with this book, and I can’t wait for that to come out too. I highly recommend this book to any writer, experienced or not, as I think it will become one of the most valuable tools in your writing tool box.

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