Tag Archives: Tarot

The fine art of Tarot reading, deck creation, and other goodies collected from over 10 years of reading the cards. And, Tarot cards and writing, and how they intersect.

#ROW80 Check-in 1/6/19

It’s my first check-in of the round! Yay!

This week was pretty productive. I was able to knock a few things off my list. I also had a great conversation with my accountability partner on Friday. ūüôā

So, here’s how I did:

~Loosely plot Immortal Faeborn
~Book ads for Gain with Pain, Reaper Girl, and Fey Touched. Put together a tracking system. ~Created a spreadsheet in Google Sheets.
~Start manifestation journal (first entry: 1/5/19)
~Put together modified Kanban board for Q1 ~Turned it into a journal instead; also added a section for Tarot readings.
~Purchase Energy Oracle deck. Start pulling cards daily and journaling.~Started last night as planned.
~Progress on Oubliette or finish
~Do All The Things related to TDP Anthology (to be released sometime in Q1)
~Begin rewrite of Survivor. Continue working on it on Sundays.
~Catch up up on ARCs ~Finished and reviewed #1 of 7
~Take Sundays off work when possible ~Today I have to work on one thing, but after that I’m done!
~Start back on MyFitnessPal. Log food 5x a week minimum. Need to fix a password problem first.
~Water 5x a week ~So far, so good!

Here are some pictures of my Kanban and Manifestation journals:

kanbanj   kanbandone manifestj tarot r

 

Chocolate consumption report: I am currently attempting to diet again, so I may end up eating less chocolate. ūüė¶ This week I had a few dark chocolate minis, which I love, and also s’mores flavored hot chocolate. Oh, and a few chocolate-peppermint cookies.

#ROW80 Check-in 1/25/15

I had an entire post finished and was putting in my tags when poof! It disappeared!¬†(ETA: I’d somehow made¬† it a page, so when I looked¬†at all my posts, it wasn’t showing up!) ¬†And it wasn’t saved, and I am now retyping it from scratch.¬† Ugh.

So…I’m doing fairly well on my projects.¬† Here is the rundown:

Project: Fireborn
Words written since last check-in: 3,388 words (12,489 total – getting closer to my goal!)
Words remaining: 2,511 words
What’s happening: Leliel dreamed of a second murder
What’s next: Uncomfortable conversations. Learning the identity of the victim.

Project: Survivor
Work done since last check-in: Printed off the outline of the first 5 chapters and made notes.  Still noodling.

Project: Ever Touched
Work done since last check-in: Still noodling.  I want to do a Tarot reading to see if something shakes loose.  I think I may have a premise, now.

Feeling: Okay.  A bit sleepy.
Eye report: Twinge-y
Back report: Terrible yesterday, better today.
Chocolate consumption since last check-in: Oh boy. WW chocolate-caramel thingies, M&Ms, Mini Twix bars, chocolate zucchini bread.

In My Dreams With You

“In My Dreams With You” by Steve Vai is becoming Natasha and Luke’s theme in Alpha Female.¬† When I started it, it was one of the songs that I continuously played.¬† Along the way, I sort of moved away from it.¬† But today, once I painted myself into a corner with the plot, I put it back on and bam! It started working.¬† Beautifully, in fact.

Part of the reason, I believe, is this song’s personal significance to me.¬† Let’s just say that I have some pleasant memories associated with it, and I believe they helped fuel the process.¬† I find it fascinating that as a writer,¬† feelings evoked by a specific song and channeling that onto the page (or, the screen) is a really cool thing to be able to do.¬† I remember Holly Lisle saying something about using parts of yourself and your life (very little, not everything) in your fiction would make it more real to the reader.¬† But oftentimes, I as a writer need it to feel real to me.¬† And I think attaching a significant song to it made it more real, at least in my mind, enough so that I could write the scene fairly well.¬† It’s an interesting thing.

This is why I almost always have some type of theme song for characters, worlds, and books.¬† Alpha Femle reminds me a bit of Flamebound, because the music is influencing the plot in unexpected ways.¬† Queensryche’s “No Sanctuary” inspired an actual part of the world of Flamebound, and “Take Hold of the Flame” (also by Queensryche) inspired the entire thing.¬† And it’s both songs that drove the plot, drove the characters.¬† Music is very, very good for me and my muse.

So, that was a good writing session.¬† 1,439 words, almost double my quota.¬† I’d had a migraine since last night that finally went away, and lamented to the beloved that I was out of the mindset because I’d skipped last night’s writing.¬† And it was a bit difficult at first, but Iron Maiden, believe it or not, got me through that part.

So I’m on my way.¬† My next task is to do a Tarot reading to generate a few plot twists.

Reassessing and making decisions.

Whilst on vacation, I did alot of thinking and brainstorming and figuring.  I did a bit of writing and a bit of revision, but mostly kept things open because it was vacation.  Luckily, the Inner Slave Driver was actually in agreement with me this time.

I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to work on one book at a time.¬† Working on three wasn’t difficult, but it was cutting into the time I could be working on Pirouette (we’re back to Pirouette now, no third draft or 1.0).¬† While it was good to take a break, I’m now starting to feel the urge again.

Considered doing another rewrite for the sheer amount of stuff that needs to be changed or fixed.¬† A lot of people I asked about it strongly suggested against not doing a rewrite because I should learn how to revise.¬† Flamebound is the first novel/novella I’ve attempted to revise since a failed attempt in 2004ish.¬† Unfortunately, with the amount of work I still have yet to do on Flamebound (before even making the changes and such), it won’t be ready by the end of the year.¬† I just can’t see it happening.¬†

With Broken, that can be done whenever.  I have no set deadline or timeframe.  When I can, I will continue work on it.

However, my one big goal was to get something out THIS YEAR.¬† With the year half gone, I need to get moving.¬† And I feel the urge with Pirouette.¬† I’m using a mix of methods for this.¬† Some HTRYN methods and some of my own.¬† Also Holly Lisle’s One Pass Revision methods.¬†Going to be notecarding soon, to figure out how the scenes are working (or not working).¬† I need to get a handle on Alisia and Lucien’s relationship arc.¬† Also Raelan’s (the villain).¬† I may go through them separately and then string it all back to together once it’s good.¬† I’ll be rewriting some things.¬† Refiguring others.¬† I’m also going through every single crit I got and making notes.¬† I thought I’d remember and I didn’t remember alot of it (this is from last year on the 2nd draft).¬† Some things I fixed in the 3d draft, but there’s still alot that’s messed up.¬† I’m also going to be doing some Tarot readings and some journal entries in Alisia’s voice.¬† I might write some in longhand.¬† Basically, I’m using a bunch of things that¬†I think will help.¬† And I want to get through this rather quickly (not crappy, mind you, just quickly) so I can get it to my critiquers.¬†

I hope this will be it (ha, I said that last time) and I can move forward.¬† My idea is to get it to be the best it can be, using all of the things I’ve learned and using my critters’ insight.¬† I’m hoping I can nail it, or at least come close, this go-around.

I made a discovery while reading one of my critter’s notes.¬† The 2nd draft sucked.¬† Yeah, it had its good points, but most of it was awful.¬† Granted, I wrote it in 2007 almost completely with voice recognition software (and, despite my fearsome editing skills, I still missed a ton of mis-recognitions ūüė¶¬† ) and well….I’ve gotten better over the past 3 years.¬† I think I can do a better job.

But I believe in the story.¬† I wouldn’t be working myself into a tizzy if I didn’t.¬† Sure, I could move on, but regardless if this book gets published, I need to learn to revise/edit.¬† Although I might be one of those writers that just does multiple drafts.¬† Hopefully, I’ll get a clue.¬† Meantime, I’ll be plugging away at Pirouette.¬† It needs to shine.

DONE!!!!

Pirouette is officially done!!!!¬†¬† I just finished the final edit 2 days ago.¬† It feels really strange to not be working on it.¬† I’ve worked on it for almost 5 months solid.¬† Now, I’m thinking, now what?¬† It’s out to my critiquers, so now I just have to wait to see what they say.

Currently, I believe it’s good, but not necessarily ready to submit.¬† Why?¬† Because there are things that I’m not sure about, bu I didn’t want to get into an endless loop of rewriting/editing, and some of it just might be me.¬† I can’t be objective any more.¬† After a total of 5 passes, I’m not even sure what end is up.¬† So that’s why I need critiquers. To show me where I may have faultered, to assure me about things that might be okay.¬† So, after I get the crits back, and if there are things that need to be addressed, I will do another edit/rewrte/whatever.¬† For now, I’m going to try to put it out of my mind.

But, I am glad that it’s finally done.¬† Never thought I’d get here.¬† One step closer.

Next project up is Survivor, which I promised myself I would try and finish.¬† Right now, I’m currently dead stuck on a plot point.¬† I’ve been thinking about it for the past two days, wanting to write again, but not feeling quite ready.¬† So my plan is to break out the Tarot and do a reading.¬† A bit unusual, but I think that’s what I need.¬† Something to wake my sleeping muse.¬† I think she thinks it’s vacation time or something.

I also have two plotbunnies nipping at my heels.¬† I promised myself one new project this year, so I have to choose between them.¬† One is a paranormal romance, Soulfire.¬† It’s going to be reworked.¬† What I got so far is really cool, and I’m dying to start writing.

The other one, I Wake Up Alone, is based on a poem I wrote a few years back.¬† A situation in my real life prompted this poem and an idea to combine and it turned into a really cool concept.¬† I’m thinking novella length.¬† I’m also trying to decide if it ends happily (which would make it paranormal romance) or a bit sadly (which would make it straight horror).¬† I blame TV tropes for this, because I discovered that there are about a zillion ways to end a book/novella.¬† Mercy me, as Alisia would say.

And finally, here are my final ending stats for Pirouette:

Type in attempts: 3
On manuscript page: 729
Scenes rewritten: 21
Scenes cut: 18
Scenes added: 7
Scene re-rewrites attempted: 3
Final wordcount: 141k
Sanity level: 99.9%

I’m happy, and I’m looking forward to the future.

On the Revision

I’m 114 pages in, and I’m loving it.¬† There is a kind of freedom that comes with this — the freedom to change.¬† Nothing is truly set in stone anymore.

So as I’ve been ripping my manuscript apart, cutting things, adding things, planning things, I’ve been keeping my eye on the prize: the finish line.¬† And a novel that will be one step closer to submittable.

Twenty pages a day (roughly 2 chapters) has been my goal.¬† I started on Jan 1st, to hopefully give me good luck (I’m very superstitious about numbers, and the Ace in Tarot is usually a positive, very new thing, so it worked) and I haven’t stopped since.¬† Every night, I print off 20 ages and I slice ’em and dice ’em and pray.

Part of me worries that these changes I’m making are not for the best.¬† But, I really don’t think that’s the case.¬† I¬† feel positive and empowered and renewed and happy.¬† I always thought Revision would be a sloggy, torturous process.¬† It’s not.¬† It’s actually alot of fun.

As mentioned before, I’m using Holly Lisle’s One-Pass Revision process.¬† I feel that this is a great method and I wanted to give it a shot.¬† I believe that using this process will help make the novel better than if I’d done something else.¬† I feel it.¬† Much how I feel like I’m getting closer to my goal.

So the next 20 pages await me.  Imma gonna fly.

Plotbunnies, Inc.

My writing partner and I were brainstorming a new book idea, and I thought I would talk about my brainstorming process in the hopes that maybe someone out there would find it useful in some manner.

There are a few things I regularly use for plot ideas:

1) Conversations.¬† Any and all.¬† Often, it will be a nondescript, non-writerly type of convo, but something said will spark an idea.¬† For instance, recently a friend of the beloved’s parents was talking about live TB germs still hanging around someplace.¬†¬†Scary huh?¬† So then I wondered what would happen if someone came into contact with them, and then others came in contact with him, and so on.¬†¬† It’s still fermenting, but the wick has been lit.¬† ūüėĬ†

2) News.¬† Not usually the local news, either, although occasionally I’ll find something intriguing.¬† Nope, I’m talking about world news and the Peculiar Postings on MSN.¬† A plot element from What Lies Beneath came from a story about a boy who’d drowned.¬† Sometimes health or science news also gets the gears going, too.

3) Science.¬† On Thursday I discovered Discover Magazine.¬† Found some very interesting information on the sleep cycle (which is always interesting, after having almost¬†been diagnosed with narcolepsy), minimally-conscious states (not a vegatative and not a coma –a cross between the two), and some intriguing news on memories (another passion of mine — memory in some way or another always creeps into my books).¬† Just from persuing the headlines and reading articles that looked interesting.¬† I should have been a scientist, I swear.

4) Dreams.¬† I have very vivid, very unusual dreams that I can usually remember in graphic detail.¬† It could be that I’ve trained myself to ponder things unconsciously, or maybe it’s my meds (a certain medication is known for inducing vivid dreams and nightmares).¬† I have at least 3 plotbunnies connected to dreams, and other plot elements that came from a dream.¬† If you find you can’t remember your dreams, tell yourself as you’re drifting off that you will remember.¬† Be prepared to jot down anything upon wakening.¬† Dreams tend to dissolve the more awake you become.¬† I try to latch on to something and more or less “memorize” it before it vanishes.¬† Those few minutes upon waking are the most critical.

Another thing I do is ponder any issues I’m having with a novel as I’m drifting off, which insures that I¬†will dream about it.¬† Recently, a tiny part of a dream spawned the sequel idea for Pirouette.

5) Juxaposing two or more very different ideas.¬† I purposely look for strange or contradictory ideas to combine for novels.¬† I take what I mine from other sources and work it out in my mind, asking myself “what if?” questions.¬† The entire concept of Requiem in Blue was built this way: combining cyborgs, underwater, and mind control.¬† Same with What Lies Beneath — empathy, insanity, and dolphins.

6) Other books.¬† Books inspire me.¬† I don’t ever copy; rather, I twist and bend the core idea (sometimes juxaposing stuff as above) to come up with my own spin on it.¬† This I disocvered from Holly Lisle’s workshop: How to Steal Ideas Ethically (or some such.¬† Can’t remember the exact title).¬† Requiem in Blue was originally one of these.¬† I read Starfish by Peter Watts and fell in love.¬† What I liked the best was the underwater millieu and how the people were modified to live in deep sea.¬† I took that, and ran with it.¬† If you hadn’t known this ahead of time, you probably wouldn’t be able to tell: the plot, combined with the mind control, is completely and entirely different, as are the circumstances as to why these people are living deep in the sea.¬† The only resemblance to Starfish now is the core idea that sparked it.¬†

Same thing with Holly Lisle’s Talyn.¬† If you haven’t read it, go read it NOW.¬† It is awesome, thrilling, terrifying, and beautiful all at once.¬†¬†Well, the idea of enemies joining together (and a few other things too — don’t want to spoil it)¬†intrigued me.¬† ¬†What Lies Beneath has elements similar to that, in the romance end of it.¬† But the similarity ends right there.

7) Song lyrics.¬† Now, I have what I call “movie images” appear in my head as I’m listening to music, pretty much without any conscious control.¬† I’ve always done this, even as a kid, and it helps me brainstorm and get new ideas.¬† But some lyrics will actually inspire plots as well as the imagery.¬† Queensryche’s “Suite Sister Mary” became the template upon which I plotted (ok, semi-plotted) Requiem in Blue.¬† “Silent Lucidity,” also by Queensryche, ¬†inspired a VR plotbunny very recently.¬† A song by the band Creed inspired an alternate reality romance plotbunny I’ve had for gosh, years.¬† Queensyche’s “The Hands” inspired parts of Requiem in Blue (it’s also the protagonist’s theme song).¬† It’s really amazing what cool things happen with music.

I also use music to help me write.¬† Oftentimes if I’m stuck, I’ll just close my eyes and let it do its work.¬† Usually, it’s enough to get me moving again, and that’s what counts.

8) Real-life events.¬† There are a few novels that started out purely as semi-autobiographical, as a way to make sense of something that had happened to me.¬† Usually, they grow beyond that, and take another form, but that’s how some of them start.¬† One such novel, “Transparent Eyes,” started out as a way to get back at someone (fictionally) ¬†who’d hurt me.¬† TE grew beyond that, and is now Footsteps of Ghosts.¬† The original elements are completely gone, and it’s a story in its own right.

Take caution when plucking things¬†from your own life — there’s always the chance of lawsuits.¬† Granted, the law can be a bit ambigious, but it’s always good to hide any real-life stuff behind a good fictional situation.¬†

Another old plotbunny is a multi-generational family story that I’ve been meaning to write, to help cope with some of my own personal issues.¬† It’ll be fantasy or sci-fi, most likely.

And, Dagmar, another plotbunny, came from my grandparents’ love story.¬† War romance, Irish heritage.¬† The rest is completely different, but that was the inspiration.

Once I get the kernel of the idea, I let it perculate.¬† I have a good memory so that’s not hard, even with multiple ideas (although I have been writing them down as of late).¬† I always ask myself “what if?” questions, and try to tighten the screws on the poor characters.¬† Torture, that’s the name of the game.¬† I’m evil, LOL.

Sometimes I use Tarot cards, using them to answer those “what if?” questions.¬† I’ve come up with some awesome ideas that way.

So now you know my process.¬† It works very well for me.¬† And it’s basically just being aware of things, and always looking at different perspectives.¬† The belief that anything can result in a story idea helps.¬† ūüėȬ† And perhaps that’s why I have so many…..because I see them everywhere.¬† I don’t think I will ever run out of ideas.

Hopefully this helped you in some way!

Let’s hear it for cooperative muses! Or, the power of cards.

*cheerleader pom-poms waving around*

¬†My muse and I have been at a stalemate for the past few days.¬† She’s been giving me some awesome ideas, but whenever I tried to get more detail, she’d stonewall me.¬† Yesterday¬†she showed me¬†an awesome, kick-ass of a prologue¬†and yet she refused to tell me the specifics on the magic –and I needed that to write the scene.¬† *Dr. Evil voice* “Throw me a bone, will ya?¬† I’m the boss.¬† Need the info.” (I love that line).

Yeah.¬† So today, after much musing (heh) over this particular bump in the road, I pulled up Holly Lisle’s Create a Plot Clinic.¬† I needed more scenes — I had a few in mind already — so I figured now would be a great time to try for both.¬† I used a tool in there that involves using Tarot cards (or any type of picture-oriented cards, for the non-Tarot folks out there) to help communicate with your muse — in images, not words.¬† So I followed the excercise.¬† It’s basically taking your character and asking questions, using the cards as prompts for brainstorming.¬† I’ve done this in the past, but using Tarot meanings, and my own meanings from over 10 years of reading the cards.¬† But, I have never used the images themselves to do this.

And being the eccentric chick I am, I tried a hard question.¬† Instead of using a troublesome character, I used the demons’ magic system as the troublesome character (hell, I’ve used the plot itself as the focus in the past…with good results), just to see where that would take me.

Using the Rohrig Tarot, a beautiful, very abstract yet dark deck (that immediately screamed pick me! pick me! when I thought about which of my 30+ decks to use…), I did the reading, except I virtually ignored the Tarot meanings, as instructed, which was tough, which is what Holly said.¬† You can take the reader out of Tarot, but you can’t take the Tarot out of the reader……

So now, thanks to Holly Lisle, I have a very good idea about the magic system.¬† I’ve found out that it involves use of a special magically-infused object, handed down through generations, and that the mind of the victim is virtually obliterated…..with images hitting them like raindrops.¬† The muse says that this is REALLY important, and I’m not clear on precisely how, but I trust her on this one.

I learned other things too, but that would be spoiling things.¬† All I gotta say is….poor Alisia.¬† I put her through the wringer in Pirouette 1.0, but this — this is almost akin to death.¬† It’s not, not by a long shot — she won’t die (so, Chris, if you’re reading this — it’s ok, I promise) , but it will involve a very magical, very messy death of sorts.¬†

But man.¬† What a story.¬† I think it is finally coming together. ūüôā¬† All from a few questions and a Tarot deck.¬† Trust me, this book of Holly’s really works.¬† I command thee to go forth and buy it.¬† Immediately.¬† You won’t be disappointed.

In other news…I’ve moved the start date for the Rewrite of Doom to July 1st.¬† Mainly because I have a few other projects competing for attention (*cough indexing cough* *cough darkroom cough*) and I want to give myself as long as I need to do all the necessary pre-work.¬† I want this draft to be as smooth as possible — no tangents, no weird shit, just what’s in the outline.¬† I will allow myself time to meander — I have to or else I’ll get stir-crazy — but — I will consider these meanderings more carefully then I did before.¬† I will not write another 400k draft.¬† I’m capping it at 120k, which is a bit too long, but still acceptable.¬† Writing 1k a day will take me approximately 4 months.¬† I haven’t written any first draft material in forever.¬† I am getting twitchy, so this week I might take some time and tackle either Survivor or Requiem in Blue.¬†

Not much else going on, except that¬†I took some kick-ass pics of my sister’s flowers in her backyard with my new camera.¬† I’m ecstatic.

Now, it is time for bed.  Me tired.