Demise of the Antagonist(s)

Day 21 – Demise of the Antagonist

Okay, finally a Demise that I’m looking forward to. How will our antagonist(s) be defeated? Or, as KarmaStarTarot.com puts it – what will be their downfall. Thankfully I’m not writing a tragedy, or at least I hope it doesn’t turn into a tragedy, so I do plan on having my Protagonist succeed at the end of the book – even if it’s considered a small victory. 

Upon reading about today’s spread, I’m doing things a bit differently. I need to have at least half of my deck reversed for this one. So there’s more to the set up this time around. Not to mention after the set up, I’m to find my signifier card in the deck and see if it’s upright or reversed – that’s to indicate if my Protagonist succeeds in the first meeting/fight, or if it only appeared that they win but the Antagonist has more strength for a second round later on in the story. So let me take a moment to get myself ready here.

So as with the other posts, I’m using the Death card as my signifier of the Antagonist. Amber’s father. In the deck my Death card is upright – meaning that Amber appears to succeed, or feels like she won, but her father isn’t defeated yet and will be showing up again later in the story. This feels fitting as I have her father as this veteran warrior – I doubt one fight with Amber would be enough for him to defeated all at once. Now on with the rest of the spread.

Card 1 – Scene – what’s going on at the time of the Demise – 8 of Pentacles – Reversed

Some of these cards really have me stumped. So the 8 of Pentacles reversed deals with misdirected action, self development and Perfectionism. How do I relate this into a scene? In the picture on my card there’s wheat, flowers, and a basket of supplies. This is also in relation to my Antagonist, and what’s going on when he has his downfall. Maybe this could mean a season? Autumn? He could be catching Amber by surprise, if she’s focused on something else and doesn’t see him – the bigger picture – coming? I’m not sure, but I might lean towards the imagery on the card instead of the card’s meaning for this potion.

Card 2 – Secret weapon of the Antagonist – Knight of Cups – Reversed

A secret weapon huh? This is supposed to be something that hasn’t been seen by the protagonist yet, a card up our Antagonist’s sleeve so to speak. Having the Knight of Cups appear, even reversed is curious. Could it be the father manipulating Amber into something?  Or a person being used to manipulate Amber for the father? I feel like this secret weapon is to played upon Amber’s overactive imagination, increasing her vulnerability for penetrating attack during the climax. I’m wondering if this has more to do with a mole next to Amber, another betrayal? Though I’ve had a lot of those already appear. I’m going to have to think more on that.

Card 3 – Antagonist Weakness that results in the demise – The Priest – Reversed

So this is an interesting card. Throughout my spreads, I’ve pictured this father figure as someone strict to the law and order of the Crown. There is no deviation away from it, as he desires to gain more sway and power in the court. Here, though we see some of his weakness… I almost want to think that he has an internal thought that he is a better ruler than the king – an inner desire to overthrow the ruling elite. It could also be that when the going gets tough, he casts asides his chains of honour, the rules of war – and goes out and gets the job done in brute, horrific display of unbridled strength and tyranny on a battlefield. Maybe he thinks everyone is being too soft, and he wants to change the status quo and finally turn the tides of war into his favour. Internally this father figure is a barbarian, a fighting machine, who can loose control if things aren’t going his way and constantly struggles to keep the collective self he appears to others as. If he goes berserk, there could be weakness there Amber can exploit.

Card 4 – The position of the MC – 9 of Wands – Reversed

So this is extremely fitting given what we found out recently with the Demise of both the Mentor and the sidekick. Amber is not in a good place right now. She is struggling with her powers, overwhelmed at the responsibility that seemed to be thrusted into her arms, with very little support behind her. Not to mention the paranoia she might be fearing now that she’s alone and been betrayed several times. She is extremely vulnerable, but still defensive enough to at least try to keep her ground. 

Card 5, 6, & 7 – Read together to get the Details of the Event 

6 of Pentacles, 7 of Cups, 2 of Swords

I’m completely lost on what to do with these three cards. Two of them deal with choices and making a difficult decision in the end. This could be how our Father figure survives and manages to escape. Amber is indecisive on how to deal with her father, knowing what she knows now and the life he gave her. I think she ends up getting clouded by personal memories of the past, and not wanting to do the nasty deed herself – which she’ll regret later when he returns. 

There’s a next step to this spread, about going back to Day 8 and finding a Trial this can line up with. I’m not sure how to work this out yet, none of that seem to really work with this interaction as of yet, then again my brain may be needing a break from the cards already. I’ll end the post here for today. There’s a lot for me to consider and work out still before I can figure out a trial this can line up with. 

Tomorrow we’re working towards building the Climax. Hopefully I can get some answers to my many plot holes and questions soon!

Demise of the Sidekick

Day 20 – Demise of the Sidekick

Yikes! I can’t believe I’m already on Day 20. I will admit I’m starting to feel the drain. By Act 2 I start to feel exhausted – always. No matter how passionate I am about my writing, there’s something about Act 2 that really gets me down, well not ‘down’ but the feeling of not wanting to write anymore. It usually coincides with a writer’s block moment where I don’t know what to do with the characters. But this drain is a little different. I do have my own tarot cards, but i’ve only ever used them a few times in the years that i’ve owned them. By doing this challenge I’m using the cards on a near daily basis, for weeks now. I’ve never done that before, and I haven’t realized how mentally exhausting it can be to constantly search for meaning within the cards. If I could take a week off and return, I’d appreciate that, but I know if I do that, I’ll never finish this challenge! On the plus side – I’m grasping the meaning of the cards more clearly than ever before. I might actually memorize the basic interpretations of each card by the end of all this!

So on to today’s challenge. We’re focusing on the Sidekick’s demise. Sad… since I’ve made Amber’s BFF the sidekick and I really don’t want anything too terrible to happen to her. But alas, we see what the cards give us.

We start once more picking out a signifier card for our sidekick. I’m sticking to the Knight of Wands here, as that’s the only card I’ve been using to represent them.

Card 1 – Sidekick & MC’s Dynamic at time of Demise – Wheel of Fortune – Reversed

OH! Well this is ominous. We see this amazing friendship strain and perhaps even break at this point. Maybe there’s a fight, or our Sidekick is unable to follow her best friend Amber any further down this new path she’s following. Maybe they’ve reached an impasse, our Sidekick can no longer accept this change of believing their kingdom was in the wrong and their enemies are not really their enemies. This could go back to her youth, why she was abandoned, maybe she was orphaned and she always believed the enemy magic was at fault.

Card 2 – Scene in which Demise takes Place – 2 of Swords

Well, this card is all about making difficult decisions, as to how this could be interpreted in a scene is unclear. They group could be at a crossroads, or my card showcase a garden with a castle in the background. Or it could mean that whoever they are, the Sidekick chose this time to voice her deepest concerns to Amber in hopes of steering her back onto the right path – away from magic.

Card 3 – Event of actual Demise – The Magician

Okay, this card is interesting. So far, when the Magician shows up, I interpret that to represent the magical side of this world. However in this case I’m wondering if I should intreat it differently. Maybe there’s a slight of hand going on, a trick, or possibly illusion taking place. During the Antagonists 2nd Display of Power from Day 18 I thought the Best Friend could either betray Amber, or be taken captive. This could represent that moment when Amber feels tricked by the events happening around her. This card could also mean Inspired Action, as in the Sidekick takes her own action and slips away from Amber unawares. The more I look at this card, the more possibilities come to mind. A final thought would be they are within the magical kingdom at this point, our Sidekick is overwhelmed and flees? I’ve got options here at least.

Card 4 – Why the Demise Happens – Ten of Swords

So this card helps clarify our Card 3. Why does the demise happen – well we get betrayal here with the Ten of Swords. Painful endings, deep wounds, you get it. To me at least the sidekick is unable to let go the pains of the past, she’s been harbouring deep wounds throughout the adventure and she can take it no more. She can no longer follow Amber down her path and must leave and make her own. This could mean returning to the Antagonists side – which could manifest even more deep wounds if the two are faced against each other.

Card 5 – The Emotional Impact the Demise has on the MC – The World – Reversed

Given everything else going on, it’s no surprise that this betrayal and demise of our sidekick would cause Amber to sulk, and fall behind on her own magical training/skill development. She’d want more closure, to understand why her Best Friend would leave so suddenly like that that she’ll loose focus on the bigger issues at hand. I feel that Amber will defiantly sulk and mope around after all of this.

Card 6 – Impact of the Sidekick’s Demise on the Plot – Seven of Cups

So with this final card, we have to ask what is the meaning behind this sudden absence of our sidekick in relation to the plot. The Seven of Cups is interesting and a little confusing to me at the moment. The basic meaning is wishful thinking, illusions, and even new opportunities. Doesn’t sound like a lot of negative aspects upon first glance. However I could see this as Amber wishing or even hoping to change her Best Friend’s mind. It could lead to hesitation on a battlefield if they ever meet again. I think if anything Amber could be vulnerable by the Best Friend near the climax scene. She’d hesitate like I already said, and fall into an illusion of what it was once like. It could also cause Amber to wonder at her other friendships around her and how real they are. Is she following other illusions?

Well… that’s the end of the spread. I almost feel like crying right now! Part of me can already feel the emotion building up within Amber when her best friend ditches her and returns home. If this happens after the demise of her Mentor, wow, such a double punch! But again, if I can find a way for Amber to pick herself up after this, she’ll definitely be a lot stronger and determined to end the pain in this world!

Join me tomorrow where we’ll be discovering the Demise of the Antagonists!

The Fall of the Mentor

Day 19 – Demise of the Mentor

Today’s spread is all about the demise of my Mentor character. Working out how it happens, how the Mentor fights back, and how my MC deals with it and moves on. I’m getting closer to the Climax, but first it looks like we’ve got to dig my MC – Amber – into a hole. Have her fail until near the end where she’ll triumph over the odds.

To start today’s spread I need to find a signifier for my Mentor, as well as going back to Day 5 to grab Card 7 which represented our Mentor’s Demise. So, in that Day 5 spread, I had the 5 of Wands to represent who my Mentor will be, however I’m going to use the Fool as my signifier card this time around. I like the idea that this mentor is a bit of a free spirit and does what they like. I feel there is more at play there then the other card. As for my Card 7 – the 2 of Wands – to represent my Mentor’s demise. I’m not sure how this spread will work… so let’s get on with it.

Card 1 – Mentor’s Weakness that is Exploited – 3 of Cups

We once again get the 3 of Cups showing up within a spread. I don’t want to think that friendship is the weakness that will exploit them in the end. Instead I like the social aspect of this card. The Mentor likes parties, maybe gets carried away too much. They could be a womanizer as well. Having their demise happen while intoxicated, or with a group of women for sexual pleasures might be a better exploitation for our Mentor.

Card 2 – The Scene – what’s going on at the time of the Demise – 6 of Wands

I feel like this is an achievement card. Our Mentor, or even our group of heroes have overcome something big, or have reached an important milestone that is worthy of a celebration. If our Mentor’s weakness is an active social life, then it would make sense that there’s some sort of party going on – maybe in their honour when this demise happens.

Card 3 – The Fight the Mentor puts up against their Demise – The Moon

It’s interesting that I’ve got the Moon card to represent how the Mentor fights against their demise. Illusions, magic, subconscious, and intuition. I think our Mentor pulls out all the stops against their demise, throwing every bit of magic they know at whomever is after them. But all is in vein, maybe it turns out to be an illusion in the end?

Card 4 – The Demise of the Mentor – The Devil

I always get nervous when the Devil card shows up in any of my spreads. Here, I feel if our Mentor has a drinking problem, or some other sort of addiction, this is where the addiction takes control and destroys our Mentor. Maybe this was some sort of secret from the MC? The more I look at the Moon and Devil cards, the more I get the use of some sort of illicit substance that wrecks the mind. Perhaps a source of power for our Mentor, but by overusing it, or over indulging in it, he is lost in the illusion and their mind is destroyed.

Card 5 – The Impact on the MC – The Lovers

Another interesting card. The Lovers turned up in the Day 5 spread too to represent their overall dynamic between Mentor and my MC. Here we have it representing the impact of this demise on Amber. There’s something powerful here, a strong relationship that formed between the two that is now challenged and forcing Amber to make a very important and difficult choice on what she has to do next. It could also signify her holding on to the Mentor as he dies, embracing them one final time. Maybe they could be lovers after all? Or it might signify leaving our drunken, intoxicated and mindless Mentor behind to face something much bigger.

Card 6 – The Lesson the MC carries with them – The Sun

I feel like this is a bittersweet card for this moment. Of course any apprentice would carry forward their skills and lessons from a Mentor, but here we see Amber carry something else forward, a warmth, happiness and joy she had felt with our Mentor figure. Amber is filled with confidence, with a knowing that things will get better. It’s as if the Mentor taught her to ‘always look on the bright side of life’. She is able to present her authentic self now to others with an inner power that is all thanks to our Mentor helping her find herself in her journey.

That’s my spread for today. I am very curious about my cards. I’ve pulled 4 major arcana here, with a pair of opposites too. Overall I feel this fall and failure of the Mentor is vital for Amber’s growth and movement forward in the book. I alway seem to pull powerful cards for my Mentor. I’m going to have to go back and figure our more of their background and relationship with Amber to know for sure how to use this spread to it’s max. 

Tomorrow we’re facing the demise of our Sidekick. 

2nd Display of Power

Day 18 – Antagonists 2nd Display of Power

Today we’re tackling the 2nd Display of Power by the Antagonist. From what I’ve read about this spread by KarmaStarTarot.com, this is to be a more personal event in the story. This is to spur on our hero into facing and defeating the Antagonists at any cost. So this needs to be bigger than the previous display of power that we dove into on Day 15. 

Going back to Day 14 – when we outlined Act 2 – Our card signifier for this was the 8 of Swords. The trapped, imprisonment, victim mentality card that seems pretty drastic and hopefully fits right into the story. We are going to use a Signifier Card for both our Protagonists – Amber (The Hermit) and the Antagonists, which I’m going to use the Death card to represent her Father.

Card 1, 2 & 3 – The Event – 8 of Pentacles – Reversed, Knight of Wands, Knight of Cups 

I didn’t now how to read these three cards until after I looked at the rest of the spread. From what I can tell, this is the antagonist, either society or most likely Amber’s father luring or charming her best friend (Knight of Wands) away from her. We know that the best friend had a challenging childhood and dreams of advancing in the military life. Her loyalty to Amber kept her by her side throughout the story, but the father managed to sneak in and convinced the Knight of Wands to leave, to return to their fold.

Card 4 – Direct Effect of the Event on MC –10 of Pentacles – Reversed

That is why the direct effect of the Event on Amber is loss, and the dark side of wealth. For all we know the father lured her friend away with money, wealth and bribed her to possibly betray her and all that Amber has achieved so far. Or… maybe he’d kidnapped her? We did have the 8 of Swords to represent this event as a whole… it might make more sense of the the best is captured and forced to reveal things instead of outright betrayal, something I don’t see this character ever doing to Amber.

Card 5 – MC’s initial response to the Event – King of Swords

So… I’m thinking with this card and this part of the story, after loosing her closest friend to the Kingdom, she her best friend will divulge what they’ve learned so far. This could be about her power or her new connection to the opposing kingdom. Amber has enough clarity of mind to know that they must reach the opposing faction as soon as possible. She takes charge for the first time, and gains the respect of others in her party in the process.

Card 6 – MC’s understanding after the Event sunk in – 3 of Wands

This coincides with the previous card. With that mental clarity of the King of Swords, Amber has a foresight to know what the Kingdom is planning and is ready to act to protect her new friends and family. This could possibly be a race on who can reach the opposing kingdom capitol first to prepare for an all out battle and war.

Card 7 & 8 – The Antagonist Next Move – The Tower, Knave of Wands 

With the Knight of Wands now back under Amber’s Father’s command, he knows the next move to take to end the war once and for all. Attacking the opposing kingdom’s capitol directly – using the route or what they learned from the Knight of Wands. He has new ideas, inspiration and discovers they are not as imposing as they first assumed. He knows their weakness now and is ready to pounce.

Card 9 – How the MC recovers from this Event – Judgement

The inner calling and rebirth is probably the best way to describe how Amber recovers from this event. After loosing her best friend, she’s lost the last tie to her homeland. This is a rebirth for her, and that inner calling she’s been following all along becomes stronger than ever. She puts aside her materialistic ways, her selfish attitude to become a mage, a sorcerer, a warrior she was meant to be all along.

Card 10 – The MC’s next step towards Overcoming the Antagonist – Knave of Pentacles – Reversed

This leads to the last card, which is what next step does Amber take to overcome her father (and the kingdom). The only thing that seems to work with the Knave of Pentacles Reversed is that Amber learns from her failures. She has the knowledge of their strategies, she’s learned from her failures with magic to know what to do now. In the end, she is becomes stronger after learning from her mistakes.

I was a little worried at first that I might have to scrap this initial card spread and try again, but I think it worked out. Of course, I feel my Knight of Wands character arc is now at odds at what I’ve uncovered here. There are a few inconsistencies at play that won’t be figured out until I start properly outlining my story here. But, in the end, I’m happy I managed to make sense of the cards today! 

Tomorrow it’s going to be about the Demise of the Mentor. 

Data Dump!

Day 17 – Data Dump

Hello and welcome to day 17. Yes, I’m a bit behind and no longer line up with the days of the month. Surprisingly it’s my weekends that have me swamped. However, I am back and I’m still determined to finish this challenge – no matter how long it takes me. Today is an interesting spread. We’re using the Background Cards from the previous day and figuring out what and how to share those tidbits of the characters background into the main story. I’m curious how this spread is going to work. I know it’s important to sprinkle bits of any character’s background throughout the story when it’s necessary, and I do find that part of writing a little challenging. Also, because I’ve only done two out of the four characters backgrounds so far, I’ll be limited on what I can show you at the moment. 

So, we start with a Signifier card for Amber, which I’m still keeping as the Hermit. We are also going to pull the “C” cards from yesterday’s spread that correspond to how that particular part of the character’s background is related to the main plot. Using only the Family, Romance and Professional rows. After that we’re pulling a new card next to the each to figure out the “What” and “How” this part of the background will be revealed in the story.

Family Card C – Empress

Card 1 – 3 of Cups

So we start off with Amber’s Family life, which ended on the Empress yesterday as how the family is relevant to the plot. I referred to this card to mean Amber’s wealth and luxurious living arrangements that she’s used to. How we relay this in the book is represented by the 3 of Cups. This my friendship card, or how I’ve interpreted it since the beginning. I like that meaning in itself, we see this wealth shown through her friendships. Perhaps she is popular in the court, has an active social life that is due to the prosperity of her father and success in his career and connections to the royal family.

Romance Card C – 7 of Wands

Card 2 – Ace of Pentacles

On to the romantic department. We ended her very active romance life with the 7 of Wands, which I took as her denial of the Prince’s proposal, some inadequate feelings towards the proposed marriage arrangement and her own challenges facing her that made her feel like this union wasn’t for her. We get the Ace of Pentacles as the card to relay this bit of information to the story. The Ace of Pentacles has always related to the start of her journey. New beginnings and the manifestation of her goals. I get the impression that once Amber makes her final choice on exploring her new skills in magic, we see how that negatively impacts her union with the Prince and the love life she might have had.

Professional Card C – The Chariot

Card 3 – Ace of Swords

Now we enter the Professional life. The Chariot was pulled to represent how this part of her life relates to the main plot. She’s taken charge of her own life, moving forward with a firm direction in mind and willing to sever the ties that have held her back for so many years. The card we get to relay this to the plot is the Ace of Swords. Another new beginnings card. However, we also get the interpretation of mental clarity here, breakthroughs, and new ideas. I think it’s clear that once she breaks away from her family ties and their expectations of her, she blossoms into the person she’s destined to be. Perhaps Amber has always been a bit headstrong, and open minded to new ideas outside of the norm. I think she’s been nervous about voicing them too loudly in the past – until now when she has a reason to voice them.

I’m not sure if I’ve done this challenge correctly or not. I get the feeling that this is all supposed to relate to Amber’s background and mindset. Sort of setting up her behaviours and personality traits. Like I said, this isn’t the typical method I use when forming a character’s backstory or personality traits. It’s helped me to gain some perspective, but not as much as I would hope. I could also be hitting a mind block with the cards at the moment too. I’ll repeat this exercise with Amber’s Best Friend, and see if I fair any better.

Best Friend – Knight of Wands

Family Card C – King of Pentacles

Card 1 – 8 of Pentacles – Reversed

Okay, so we start with the Family life which ended with the King of Pentacles. After a rough childhood, this Best Friend eventually lands in Amber’s household where she is given a lot more opportunities and experiences that gives her a new purpose and dream for her life. What we relay out of her family life is represented by the 8 of Pentacles Reversed – Self-development, perfectionism, and possibly misdirected activity? The first two seem to really fit well. As much as she’s friends with Amber, this character is focused on herself, her own advancement, training and skill development. She doesn’t have a family to fall back on, no wealth or court influence to help her get ahead. What she does she has to do for herself.

Romance Card C – Queen of Pentacles

Card 2 – The Moon

Her romance life spread was pretty rough as well. In the end we got the Queen of Pentacles, due to her abandonment issues, she’s extremely attached to Amber and is focused on protecting her. It’s interesting we get the Moon card to explore the what and how parts of her romantic life get revealed in the story, fear, anxiety, illusions… I don’t think it helps her love life one bit. But again, if she’s got abandonment issues, I can see how that would turn towards fear of loosing her friend, and illusions behind what love is and the cost it has.

Professional Card C – 5 of Swords

Card 3 – 8 of Swords

On to her professional life, we got a 5 of Swords here to represent how it relays to the Plot. Her dreams of becoming a warrior on her own merit is countered by the desire to protect Amber and clean up her messes, creating some disagreements and hardships within the relationship. What and how we can relate this past in the story is represented by the 8 of Swords – that trap card once again. I think it’s obvious that we can see the Best friend putting self-imposed restrictions on her life in order to keep Amber safe. It may come across as some sort of imprisonment as well, that she is limited or can’t achieve her true self – when Amber’s still in her life. This is a nice challenge and struggle that I can’t wait to write about. Of course, I plan to have friendship win out in the end, but I can see this side story getting very messy in the meantime.

It’s strange how I can do better on the side characters than I can on my MC with this spread. I’m not sure if it’s the cards, or my own mind blocking me on purpose when it comes to the MC. It doesn’t help that I’ve already started creating her personality beforehand, and the cards are mostly contradictory to how I picture Amber. I will have to deal with that when the day comes. In the meantime, tomorrow’s post is going to be about the Antagonist 2nd Display of Power. See you then!

Creating the Background

Day 16 – Character Backgrounds

I sort of feel that I’m going backwards with this spread. I’m the type of person who loves creating backgrounds and backstories for my characters from scratch. It’s the first thing I typical start workington when a new novel idea is blossoming in my mind. I need to know my character as much as possible before I start to write. So, being halfway through the challenge and only now dealing with the background feels a bit off for me. Thankfully I’m waiting for this challenge to be over before I go back and work through all these posts and notes to reorganize and write the story I feel that’s being told here. 

One good point is that this spread can be used for each of the important characters. And so far I’ve got 4. My MC Amber, her best friend (Knight of Wands), the Prince (Knight of Swords), and her father (Death). So far, through all my spreads, these three characters besides Amber has risen to the top to becomes more important characters than I ever thought possible when I first created them in Building the Cast spread on Day 3. I’m not sure if I should include the Mentor or not. I’m still debating on who this Mentor is, so might wait until much later to try this spread out with them. Besides, doing this for 4 characters is going to be a lot of work as is. 

Amber (Hermit Card)

Card 1 – Family Life – 5 of Pentacles

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing – 2 of Cups

Card B – Success or Fail of Card A – Knight of Cups (Success)

Card C – How this Area affects Plot – The Empress

Starting with Amber’s family life, it’s not the best. There’s a disconnect between the Father and Amber which fits with the card crossing it, which is the 2 of Cups – union and partnership. The difficulty of Amber’s family life is a lack of union between father and daughter. Like I said before, a disconnect. Interestingly this difficulty is overcome successfully by Amber. I feel that as she ages, and her beauty and charm grows with her, their divide is smaller, as the father sees the potential of a good match in his favour with her. To Amber, she’s getting a better connection with her father, which she always wanted. How this affects the plot however is a bit difficult for me to interpret. I got the Empress in that position, I think this relates to the abundance and luxury of wealth Amber lives in. Her relationship with her father maybe not the best, but she has a secure and wealthy household behind her. This could relate to their status and as help with the connection to royalty and the Prince.

Card 2 – Romantic Life – 8 of Pentacles

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing –Ace of Wands

Card B – Success or Fail of Card A – The Lovers (Success)

Card C – How this Area affects Plot – 7 of Wands

Now on to her Romantic life, she’s either training or learning the ways of how to date and maintain a romantic air around her, or she’s already a master. I’m not sure which route to take here. Her difficulties in her love life is that she follows her heart more than her head. Maybe she got into some nasty relationships in the past, and is still learning how to connect with someone else in a meaningful way. She could just be a major flirt and not settle or go to the next step with a lot of boys. The Lovers show up to say she is successful in her romantic life. This might relate to the Prince and the proposal of marriage being sent her way. Or she trusts her values and won’t accept anyone who doesn’t live up to them. How this relates to the plot, could be her denial of the Princes’ proposal, she’s being challenged or feel inadequate in becoming the Prince’s wife. This would ruffle even more feathers especially in court with the royal family.

Card 3 – Professional (Social) Life – 8 of Cups

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing – The Magician

Card B – Success or Fail of Card A – 4 of Pentacles (success)

Card C – How this Area affects Plot – The Chariot

Next we have Amber’s Professional or social life. I’m using professional here as the cards seem to really connect with it. Her work life is disappointing, she’s not nearly half the warrior knight as her father was. She’s trying to live up to his image and failing. The real difficulties come with the arrival of her magic, an unknown power to her that only makes things worse for both her professional and social life. She succeeds here when she realizes position and wealth isn’t everything and there’s no use pretending to be someone she’s not. Reacting to the plot, Amber uses these lessons to help her sever her ties with her family and the Prince in order to find her true self. This is a sign that she’s ready for action.

Card 4 – Ideology that Carries on into the Story – King of Cups

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing – 6 of Cups

Card 5 – How character reactions to Ideology being challenged – 7 of Cups

Card C – How this Are affects Plot – Queen of Swords

On to Ideology of Amber. I’m using the compassion, and diplomacy of this card for Amber. She may not be the most emotionally matured person, but she does hope to reach that point someday. The difficulty is her childhood memories, what she’s been taught as a kid runs deep. Her reaction when her ideology is bing challenged, due to war, and the like – is wishful thinking. Falling into an illusion, almost waving the challenges away hoping they don’t really matter. Coming out of this, and how it relates to the plot, I feel that when pressed and forced to grow, she’ll become much more independent, and use more unbiased judgment in her actions. 

Best Friend (Knight of Wands)

Card 1 – Family Life – Hanged Fae

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing – The Hermit

Card B – Success or Fail of Card A – 7 of Wands (success)

Card C – How this Are affects Plot – King of Pentacles

So, the Best Friend’s past family life was built upon surrendering. I feel that this girl’s life was turned upside down when her parents either left, or surrendered her to a wealthy family to raise. The difficulties facing her here is not knowing who she really is, soul- searching as well as being alone. She succeeds over this when she meets up with Amber and her family who protect her. From living with Amber, she gains a bunch of new opportunities and experience a new level of wealth that propels her future forward to become a great warrior like Amber but also to repay her family back by protecting her.

Card 2 – Romantic Life – Death – Reversed

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing – Knave of Pentacles

Card B – Success or Fail of Card A – The World – Reversed (Fail)

Card C – How this Are affects Plot – Queen of Pentacles

As romance goes, she’s not the best. She doesn’t like change, and probably doesn’t trust others. She’s resisting against any and all romantic approaches. What’s making this difficult is her focus on her skill training, she’s too focused on her career and protecting Amber to think about romance. She fails in the romance department due to her issues about being abandoned or given up by her family. This just makes her more attached to Amber and willing to follow her when she leaves.

Card 3 – Professional (Social) Life – Temperance

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing – 8 of Wands

Card B – Success or Fail of Card A – The Fool (success)

Card C – How this Area affects Plot – 5 of Swords

So this Best Friend’s professional and social life is all about finding her purpose next to Amber. She keeps herself in balance and moderates her self-indulgence to always be there to help her friend. The difficulties here is Amber’s swiftness. She’s quick to act and this Best Friend is left to follow in her wake and do her best to clean things up. She succeeds against this difficulty when she becomes a free spirit herself, catching pace and enjoying the spontaneity that come with Amber. This pull back and forth between Amber and the Best friend comes with some disagreements and competition between the two. Each has their own goal to become a great warrior, and at times the Best friend things Amber is pulling her down.

Card 4 – Ideology that Carries on into the Story – 7 of Swords – Reversed

Card A – Difficulties presented in the Card it’s crossing –Ace of Wands

Card 5 – How character reactions to Ideology being challenged – The Tower

Card C – How this Are affects Plot – The Chariot

I think part of the Best Friend’s ideology – or what she holds on to as belief is that she’s an imposter, unable to really hold her head next to Amber and the other knights knowing she comes from a more lower background. What makes this difficult is her growth and potential as she trains and hones her skill and finds her own talents coming out. Trying to get pulled out of this imposter syndrome causes several other aspects and ideology to collapse around her. She is forced to re-examine and put the pieces back into a better ideology in the end, something more uplifting. The Chariot is a good final card here, the Best friend is lifted high and moving forward with strength and determination to find a life she makes for herself. 

I’m going to end the post here. This has already wrecked my brain up with just these two characters. As I said, this isn’t how I build my character’s background so i’m having a harder time working through the cards and their meaning and how to relate them towards the story. I do want to try this again with the two antagonists characters and see what shows up. If you’re interested in the outcome, let know.

As for the spread itself, I don’t think it fits well with me and how I do backgrounds. There are tidbits here and there that may be fun, but as a technique to use in future novels – I’m not sure it’s going to make the list. Yet, this was fun and I’m all for trying new ideas, techniques and other ways to work on an outline. Our next Spread is titled “Data Dump”… so we’ll see what that is all about tomorrow.

Outlining the 1st Display of Power

Day 15 – Antagonist 1st Display of Power

This is it, the halfway mark of the challenge. Day 15, and we are going back to yesterday’s spread and diving into the Antagonists First Display of Power as part of Act 2. I’m excited to see how this particular event is going to shape up. So far, this challenge as a whole has opened up my imagination and thought process on how to create an interesting story. It’s also broken down events and scenes more than I’ve usually outlined. So hopefully by the end of the month, I’d have at decent outline to write from.

So for today, we’re pulling 2 signifier cards, one for my MC – Amber, and the other the same card I drew yesterday to signify this event – the 3 of swords.

Card 1, 2 & 3 Outline of the Event (Display of Power)

The Fool, The Magician & The Sun 

Wow, okay, I start with three Major Arcana cards to explain the event of how the Display of Power comes about. Individually they don’t seem that distressing or even related to my signifier card the 3 of Swords (pain, sorrow). Review yesterday’s post, I’m wondering if these three cards are meant to show Amber’s foolishness, and innocence by telling someone she shouldn’t her magical powers – having them betray her in the end. I feel the Sun card is the person who eventually betrays her. I’ve seen the Sun card come up in the past in reference to the Prince’s mother (Queen). My Tarot Cards do display a mother and child together. It could also be another mother-type figure to Amber, someone she trusts completely, making the betrayal all the more painful.

Card 4 – MC’s Initial Response – 9 of Swords

I think only after telling or even accidently showing her powers to this person of power and influence, Amber is immediately regretful. She is anxious, worried and fears what would happen if others discover this secret of hers. This card has shown up in the past in regards to Amber’s internal struggles. It makes me wonder if the Sun card is the Queen, someone high enough in power to really make her life miserable if they wanted to.

Card 5 – What the MC comes to Realize – Justice

I’m wondering if this is sign that Amber’s been arrested, the betrayal has happened, and maybe the previous card is more about her suffering in a prison cell than just waiting to be arrested. Or, this is what Amber realizes what would happen to her if she sticks around any longer. Perhaps she trusted the Prince or her Father to keep her safe, but even they are not as powerful as the King or Queen in this situation. She realizes the truth that she is unwelcome in her home kingdom.

Card 6 – How the Event Threatens the MC – 5 of Wands – Reversed

By having those she trusted turn on her, Amber is wrecked with turmoil over what she currently believes. She was raised a certain way, but new information, her magical abilities has caused to rethink several key features of her education. I think she’s also tried to avoid the differences, pleading to those that she’s still who she is, but it is hard to change a lifetime of negative thoughts about anyone with magic. I think this inner conflict of who she is causes her confidence to break down, and even her magic to become more chaotic or uncontrollable. 

Card 7 – Next Step Towards the Turn – Ace of Wands – Reversed

I’m taking this card, as part of the whole spread. Amber doesn’t feel welcomed anymore, her home and many of her friends have turned their backs on her. So, why would she stay? She’s learning more about herself, that there’s a part of her that belongs out in the bigger world and the community around her is making it easy for her to choose to walk away from it all and leave on her adventure. There are still delays, a trail perhaps, the Prince still trying to hold on to her, a father who’s lied to her. The ties are hard to break, but are becoming easier.

***

I found this a challenging spread to interpret for me. Having those three major arcana show up at the beginning really threw me off guard. I really hope I’ve deciphered it correctly for my story… though I might have to fudge things when the time comes. Still, as with all the other spreads, it gives me a starting point to jump off from. Hints of ideas, thoughts on where things might go, a general view of the possibilities at play. The real challenge will be how to fit it all together cohesively. 

That’s it for me today, tomorrow we’re tackling the Character Background.

Outlining Act 2

Day 14 – Act 2

I can’t believe I’ve made it 2 weeks so far! This adventure of outlining and creating a novel through Tarot has been amazing! I might do this again in the future. Part of me wants to take a breath, and review everything I’ve collected so far, but I know if I take a break now, I may loose all this momentum. So, instead we are pushing ahead and diving into the structure of Act 2.

Now, KarmaStarTarot.com pulled two signifiers before this spread, one for the MC, and one for the Antagonist. Since I’ve got multiple Antagonist, I’m only going to pull the Hermit for my MC – Amber.

Card 1Threshold10 of Cups

So, I haven’t come across the term ‘Threshold’ often in outlining my stories so I was a bit confused as to what this means. Stupid, I know. It’s basically the barrier between the world my Character knows and the new world they’re entering. The division between Act 1 and Act 2. So this card is to represent either that threshold event itself, or Amber’s reaction to it. I got the 10 of Cups – another annoying card that seems to continuously pop up in the wrong places. Amber’s reaction to crossing the threshold is joy. There’s a contentment about her, as if this is what she’s always wanted to do. Maybe it is. There is no more questions or hesitations about leaving and entering this new world filled with magic. It could tie back to theme of destiny and knowing this is where she truly belongs. 

Card 2 Guide in the New WorldJudgement

Judgement again. I swear I am shuffling cards here, but I keep getting the same cards over and over. Here, we are looking for our guide in the new world, who’s going to show Amber the way, tell her the rules and escort her at least a little down her new path. I thought this might be the Mentor – and it could be. The Judgement card has come up both in the Mentor’s spread, as well as under the character repressed by the Fool in the Building the Cast spread. So, this could indicate one of those two characters (or the same one), or someone completely new. Whomever it is, I’m getting pure, female, and light hearted vibes. This person I think is fun, easy going, and musically talented. 

Card 3 – Antagonist Display of Power3 of Swords

Here, we have our Antagonist(s) displaying their power over Amber for the first time. The Three of Swords represents heartbreak, sorrow, grief, and hurt. There’s pain here. Given we have multiple antagonists at play here, this card can be taken in several ways. We could have Amber learning of her heritage, what her father might have done to her mother, a split in the family dynamic, and hurt for being lied to for so many years. If we take the Prince’s approach, this could be his first display of dominance and control over Amber, perhaps even physically hurting her when she doesn’t do as he says. This feels like a betrayal scene. Whomever Amber confides in, betrays her to either her father, the Prince or King. 

Card 4The Turn9 of Pentacles

We are onto the Turn event. This is where Amber goes from reacting to taking control over events and her life. This is supposed to be the event to make Amber stand up for herself. And I pulled the 9 of Pentacles… abundance, luxury, self-sufficiency. I don’t know why this card keeps coming up! But it’s here now and I’ve got to make it work. I’m going to use the self-sufficiency aspect of this card to indicate Amber’s wake up call to take action. Nobody believes she can look after herself, and she’s tired of everyone controlling her life. It’s time for her to become her own person and brave the elements. I am reaching here… but hopefully I can work around this when I start writing.

Card 5Second Display of Power8 of Swords

So, while the first Display of Power is to make Amber suspect the Antagonist, this is the part when she has to do something about them. She sees and recognizes how much of a problem he/them are and this is the point that is motivating her towards the climax. Once again I pulled the 8 of Swords – the trapped card. This could be trapped by her previous ideology that she must change in order to complete her magical training, or trapped by the feelings she still has for her father and Prince who are now violent towards her. Either way, her father and prince are her physical blockers to reaching a peaceful and happy ending, or they are mental blockers preventing her from moving forward in her spiritual quest/journey to a better life.

Card 6ClimaxQueen of Swords – Reversed

We’ve reached the Climax! The place where all this conflict is heading towards from the start. From what I’m reading, the climax will have its own spread in the future, but this is the card that will represent the kick off point here and now. I’ve got the Queen of Swords Reversed here, and I’m not going to lie, it looks intense. From what I’ve read of the card and its meaning, in this circumstance I feel it ties nicely to the Eight of Swords beforehand. Amber is clouded by her emotions for her father and prince. She is allowing herself to be manipulated and controlled by our Antagonists. Amber could also be putting her heart before her head, allowing some dreadful deed these Antagonists have done to her to act selfishly and foolishly – perhaps falling into a trap. This could be perfect to lead into a climax – a battle, a fight, something dramatic and epic.

***

That ends today’s spread. There’s a lot here to think about, not to mention how much I need to really shuffle my card more. Tomorrow we’re breaking down the Antagonists first display of power. I’m excited to see what that intakes and how to work it into my plot so far. Thanks for following!

Overarching Theme

Day 13 – Theme

Okay, wow, this is definitely a turn form what we’ve been previously doing during the 30 Day Challenge. Today I’m to focus on the main plot Theme of my story, and exploring the bigger picture of my story, and the WHY behind it all. Thankfully I don’t have to do any new Tarot spreads today, instead I’m going back to Day 0, my initial basic outline for the Plot. Since I’ve already worked this out and found my overarching Theme, I take it that this is an exercise on realizing the theme and bringing it back into play now that we’ve worked out so many other aspects of the story.

So just to reference again these are the cards I pulled from Day 0 to represent the 3 Acts, as well as their themes. I’m going to add these numbers up and reduce them down to either a single digit or a two number digit under 21 to get our Major Arcana card.

Card 1: Beginning (Act 1) Four of Cups (4)

Card 2: Middle (Act 2) Two of Swords (2)

Card 3: End (Act 3) The Priest  (5)

Card A: Theme of the first half of the novel. Ten of Pentacles (10)

Card B: Theme of the second half of the novel.  Three of Cups (3)

Card C: Climax – Death (13)

4 + 2 + 5 + 10 + 3 + 13 = 37 = 3 + 7 = 10 = Wheel of Fortune

Or I can reduce this further down to a 1 = The Magician

Now, back when I first did this, I decided to keep to the Wheel of Fortune and the main theme of Destiny that can come out of that. But now that I’ve dived more into this story, and came up with a magical aspect and path for my MC (Amber) to follow, having the Magician as part of my theme works as well.

So with these two major Arcana card, I’m to dive deep within their meanings, not so much their appearance on the cards. I’m going back to BiddyTarot.com to help work out and journal more meanings behind the card. For example, there is much more behind a simple Destiny interpretation to the Wheel of Fortune, it could also relate to cycles, time, or even karma. Destiny was the most powerful meaning that I grasped on to, as it is diverse and adaptable.

Going further into the Wheel of Fortune card, there’s a sense that if things are bad now, it will soon change for the better and visa versa, basically life is always changing and you’re following a bath of ups and downs that comes with the wheel image itself. There’s another mystical meaning to this card, that might pull in the Magician nicely. Basically it’s about trusting in the Universe to see you through. As long as you keep positive and have faith, good fortune will be behind you and miracles will happen around you. It is also represents a pivotal turning point in someone’s life. Given what I’ve uncovered about Amber, there are many changes happening all at once in the first act of the novel. I feel that these pivots and turning points are going to continue to happen throughout the story.

But I’ve now got to ask why. Why this theme, and how can I turn the plot towards this? The basic idea is about how one can’t change destiny. Amber is a bit spoiled and hesitant in taking this leap for her adventure, and is forced by events around her getting dialled up to 11. The idea of the Wheel of Fortune as a way for Amber and others to have faith in the Universe, or a higher being that they will make sure you make it through is a comforting thought and theme to have. Even the basic theme of surviving the ups and downs of life, of keeping moving forward and adapting to the changes of the world around you is positive and motivational enough to work with – especially in this story that I’m devising.

So now that we’ve dived deeper into the Wheel of Fortune, what about the second card, the Magician. What does he have to offer us in for an additional side to the main theme? 

It’s easy to assume magic would be the main takeaway here. But there’s more to this card as well. Resourcefulness, manifestation, power, inspired action. This card is about giving you the tools you need to chase and follow your dreams. Everything you need is at your fingertips, all that is required is to establish a clear vision of what it is you want to create – and why. There needs to be this soul connection – something more spiritual – behind the why of this creative endeavour before going after it with all your heart.

There are a lot of sides to this card, but now we need to go back the why and how to relate this to the main plot. What about this card can I tie into the major theme of this story. I love the idea of discovering you had the tools to succeed with you the whole time, the only thing Amber lacked was a spiritual alignment with her core being. I like this following your dreams, taking all the skills you’ve honed and this action to bring them to fruition. I feel that this magical essence that Amber is tapping into is a spiritual magic that can only be harnessed when she comes to terms with finding out who she really is. She needs to focus on her inner self, her core spirituality before she can harness the power at her fingertips. 

At least that’s what I’m getting at right now.

All together, these two cards give us a main theme that is all about finding your destiny and discovering your true self before following your dreams with your full heart behind it. There are difficulties and challenges along the way – the ups and downs of the wheel – but by trusting the Universe, gaining a higher understand of yourself and your alignment, you can do anything you set your mind to. It may still be convoluted, but I am getting a very positive vibe from this theme. It still easy for me to go back to – Following your Destiny, or the Magic is Within You – to narrow it down more. Either way, I’m very happy about these themes and glad that I’m still leaning my story towards them these past 12 days. 

Thanks for joining me as I ramble on to myself on how to work these themes into my story. Tomorrow we’re tackling Act 2.

Transitioning into Action

Day 12 – The Turn

Yesterday I didn’t understand what the Turn would be about, today after reading the original post, I know exactly what we’re trying to figure out. This is the transition into the Second Act, the shift from reacting to events in the first act to acting in the second. This is the transition where Amber takes control and does something instead of letting things happen to her. So, let’s get one with it.

To start with I did pull a Signifier to represent both Amber in her current state at this point and the overall theme of the story. As before I’m using the Hermit Card here as I picture this story all about finding oneself and the truth.

Card 1 – Act 1 Goal – 2 of Swords

So this card is a sum up of the First Act and the goal of Amber. It’s fitting we’re getting the 2 of Swords, as I feel that first act has Amber avoiding a lot of issues, in particular her magical outburst while also debating on what to do next. She’s weighing options, struggling to talk to her Father, and if there is a marriage proposal in the first Act, she has difficult decisions to make. The idea that overall she’s trying to avoid it all and pretend everything is normal is a great way to start the story with denial before it becomes too big for her to handle and she has to confront it all.

Card 2 – Act 2 Goal – Wheel of Fortune

Destiny! I love it! This came up as one of the overall main themes of the story, I’m so glad I finally see this card again and this time as the goal of Act 2. I think the dreams become too strong to ignore and that inner calling Amber hears to leave the kingdom forces her to acknowledge she’s different. She is desperate to learn the truth, figure out where this magic came from and how she could use it to end the war.

Card 3 – What the MC has been reacting against9 of Pentacles

A lot of Pentacles are showing up in my spread lately, and in the most awkward places too. For this position, I feel the 9 of Pentacles is referencing to the wealth Amber has been showered upon since youth – given her father’s fame and status. She knows very little outside of this bubble, and is probably struggling against disrupting this status of hers for the unknown. It could be also that she doesn’t want to damage her father’s reputation if she leaves unannounced. There’s a comfort here that Amber doesn’t want to leave.

Card 4 – Inspiration to Action (External Forces) Knight of Swords

I feel that this is once again the Prince who is represented by the Knight of Sword card. This is the external force that is pushing Amber into action. She doesn’t want this marriage, but it is now expected of her, and she can tell her father is blinded by this ambition to gain more power within the kingdom if this marriage is sealed. It could also mean that the Prince is holding something above Amber, cohering her into the marriage due to her magical heritage. Whatever the case, Amber knows the only way to avoid this is is to leave the Kingdom.

Card 5 – Transition from Defence to Offence – The World

I honestly feel this is the deciding factor for Amber to leave. Get as afar away from this kingdom and the Prince as possible by traveling the world. I think she’s also realized she’s completed all she can in her current position and the only way to find herself is to view the world outside of the biases of her homeland. There’s also a meaning to this card about tying up loose ends. Depending on how much information she could get out of her father on her mother and where she came from, she has to find her other half, mother or her mother’s family in order to fully understand who she is.

Card 6 How the MC Feels Knave of Pentacles

I feel that Amber is excited about this new venture. She’s wanting to learn more about magic, and how she can control hers. It’s a new skill for her to develop, a start of a new chapter to her life. She’s always wanted to travel the world, and now she can without anyone ordering her where she’s going. The world is open, opportunity is out there, and she’s training with a new skill.

Card 7 – Motivation (Internal) – Ace of Wands – Reversed

So this card is to represent the motivation behind the transition. With the Ace of Wands Reversed, I get a more distracted sense of motivation here. I think Amber is struggling to find her purpose. Everyone tells her what she’s supposed to do, who she’s supposed to be, that she doesn’t know if that’s what she really wants or not until it smacks her in the face. Basically her motivation comes down to finding her own purpose in life.

Card 8 – Difficulty in Transition – Queen of Swords – Reversed

This card is perfectly clear to me. The reason Amber finds it difficult to transition, to take action herself is that she’s clouded by her family and those around her. She can be easily influenced by her father and the Prince, tricked and coerced into agreeing to things she doesn’t like or want to do. Again we also get this overly emotional state, part of her flaw that she’s not emotionally mature as she should be. Living by herself, on the road, with no money is not what she’s used to and I feel that side of her will come out and there’ll be a part of her who would want to turn back and go home. 

Card 9 – Relation to the Climax – Temperance

I feel this is more in relation to Amber’s personal growth through the story that does tie into the Climax. She may start out as a bratty warrior, but through training with magic she learns how to balance her emotion and find a purpose beyond anything she thought imaginable. In order to reach the Climax, Amber can’t be so easily influenced as she was. I feel the climax will be her facing her father and the Prince on a battlefield. They will try to pull her back to their side, but she is changed and not the same person. She has her own purpose in life, her own goals and a new balance between magic and physical skill to settle the waring disputes once and for all. 

***

This was so much fun, and I can’t believe how many cards lined up so perfectly to the plot that’s currently getting worked out in my head. I have to admit I’m starting to get Prophecy trope vibes here. I’m not sure if Amber should be the one to end the war, but she does need to stand up to her father and Prince by the end. Tomorrow we’re going to be diving more into the Themes of the story. Given I’ve discovered a lot of big themes already, I’ll be interesting to see how that spread plays out.