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Tarot for Writers

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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 each stage of the creative process, from fleshing out a premise to promoting a finished work. Enhance your storytelling technique through over 500 enjoyable writing prompts, exploratory games for groups and individuals, tarot journaling, and other idea-stimulating activities that call upon the archetypal imagery and multi-layered symbolism in the tarot. Infuse flair and originality into your work as you learn to:

Interpret symbols, myths, and learn to read all seventy-eight cards in the tarot card deck Use classic tarot layouts and spreads to structure your story Brainstorm story ideas and develop dialogue and plot Create detailed settings, powerful scenes, and dynamic characters Overcome writer's block and breathe new life into existing projects As a writer, you hold the power of creation in your hands. By exploring the tarot and incorporating it into your writing practice, you will set your creative potential soaring to new heights.

358 pages, Paperback

First published February 1, 2009

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About the author

Corrine Kenner

28 books101 followers
Corrine Kenner is a certified tarot master and the author of several books, including Simple Fortunetelling with Tarot Cards, Tarot Journaling, Tall Dark Stranger: Tarot for Love and Romance, The Epicurean Tarot, and the forthcoming Wizards Tarot and Tarot for Writers. \r
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Corrine has lived in Brazil and Los Angeles, where she earned a bachelors degree in philosophy from California State University. She now lives in Minneapolis, Minnesota, with her husband and their daughters.\r
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Corrine organizes tarot classes and workshops on a regular basis. For more information, visit her website at corrinekenner.com."

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 reviews
Profile Image for Nytetyger.
97 reviews4 followers
February 9, 2009
The first half of the book is your standard "how to read tarot cards" that you can honestly find even free on the internet. The second half, however, is fascinating-- how to, when you are stuck and cannot figure what to write, pull a few cards and get ideas for a character or a plot idea. I really liked this section and intend to refer to it often in the future.
Profile Image for Steve Cran.
863 reviews87 followers
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July 28, 2011
An excellent book has been written for writers who want to use Tarot cards to spur on their creativity. Several authors like Stephen a King and Italo Calvino have used a deck of Tarot cards to inspire them in their writing. The most common Tarot deck is the Rider Waite deck developed back in the earlier part of this century. Use of other Tarot cards goes back to the Early 14oo’s

There are several spreads that one can use to help their writing. The first one is a two card reading . This is used to determine the good parts and the bad parts of a characters. The three card spread can be used to determine the past present and future of your story. You can also use the Celtic cross spread or a more elaborate spread that involves ten cards or more. One of the more extensive ones involves using he paradigm of the heroes journey. The Horse shoe spread is shaped like an upright horse shoe. Card number one begins on your left side and goes up. This is helpful for the plots 1) Past, 2)present 3) Future, 4) Self which pertains to the subjects attitudes thought and feelings about the situation, 5) Friens and family which tells how others see and affect the situation, 6) tells the obstacles that must be over come and 7) is the likely out come of the situation. Last is the Celtic spread which is rather complicated. 1) The person 2) The situation 3) current influences 4)) Foundation of situation 5) Recent past 6) Highest ideal of current situation 7) Near future or what happens in the next six months 8) Self image how the situation looks from the main characters point of view 9) Public image or how others see it 10) Hopes and fears related to the situation and 11) is the most likely outcome,

The above paragraph just covered some of the spread available. Included in the book or also numerous writing exercises on how to promote the writing of ideas. What are even more useful are the descriptions of each of the Tarot Cards. The Tarot Cards are divided into two major categories. The Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana which means major secrets and minor secrets. The minor Arcana is divided into swords, clubs, cups and pentacles. Swords indicate and air sign which pertains to the realm of wit and intelligence, next is the cup which pertains to the element of water which deals with emotions. Next is the clubs which are ignitable this deals with spirituality and pentacle which pertain to the Earth deal with wealth and materiality.

The last part of the book has a glossary and tells what each of the cards symbolize with in depth explanation. I may find a used copy of this book and buy it despite the fact that I loaned it from the library.
Profile Image for Abigail.
144 reviews3 followers
July 4, 2014
interesting and potentially useful!
Profile Image for Lynn.
133 reviews
January 17, 2011
This book was fascinating. The only think I think might be a problem is I think you would need a deck that had art work that was kinda themed to go with your story... or maybe I need to think more outside the box. I loved the concept and think it would be fun to write a whole story based on it. I think if you got several people together and asked they to write a story using the techniques in this book and the exact same deck you would end up with several very different stories. Might be a fun experiment.
Profile Image for Beth Henry.
5 reviews8 followers
December 27, 2014
This was, and continues to be, an invaluable book in my journaling. She has included writing prompts for each card along with goodies like astrological associations, symbols, myth, and archetypes. She has also written a book on Tarot and Astrology if you want an additional companion to your writing journey. This book is for those who want to look deeply within each card.
Profile Image for Martin Spernau.
Author 4 books2 followers
May 16, 2013
This is a solid book about how to use the Tarot as an inspirational tool for writing. Writing prompts for each card, full meanings etc.
I do recommend this book if you are into cards... and if you want to start.
Profile Image for Quinn Collard.
56 reviews17 followers
March 19, 2014
I used this book for NaNoWriMo in 2013 and it gave me a lot of good ideas. I'm just learning tarot and I'd never thought of using it as a writing aid before I got this book, but it was very thought-provoking and helpful.
Profile Image for Michele Cacano.
325 reviews26 followers
January 7, 2012
An interesting arrangement of Tarot meanings, layouts, readings and writing exercises. Includes history and basics of Tarot, which I didn't need, but enjoyed her take on it, anyway.
884 reviews
June 9, 2022
I want to preface this by saying that I have several books to help the aspiring writer be it genre-specific advice to books that offer an array of writing prompts, and suggestions for inspiration. I have found her books the ones that have motivated me the most. The use of prompts found in aimless selections from a dice roll, to pulling a card has proven the best one for me. Even if I choose to ignore the outcome, I do so, most often, because it has sparked another idea entirely unrelated, however, it did the business by being a catalyst for an idea.

After having read her Astrology for Writers, I knew I had to try her earlier work. The author begins with a brief overview about reading the Tarot, and some historical points. She moves on to a few simplistic spreads for interpretation before leaping into the first section for writers discussing character building ideas, from traits to consider for description, archetypes for personality, dialogue inducers with a fill-in-the-blank section, all this with occasional cues to practice writing with these suggestions throughout the book. A few pages offer the astrological side to Tarot with the signs, houses, and planets involved before discussing the structure of story with the Three Act model, Freytag's Pyramid, Literary Conflicts, and common themes. Introducing the Fool's, and the Hero's Journey as outlines for the narrative.
With a few questions answered to launch into composition, the next area is location, evolution of the use of the full senses before the author offers a fun, and an enjoyably long list of exercises to further deepen the content to mention the use of symbolism, allegory, motifs, personification, similes and metaphors. There are exercises for both the individual, and a few ideas for one's writing group to participate together.
The latter half of the book is introducing the reader to more details of each card in the Tarot (the Rider-Waite-Smith deck for this book) by introducing the key symbols, keywords, astrological associations, myths and legends linked to the card, literary archetypes applied, writing practice approaches using these concepts, and ends with writing prompts in a word or short phrase which are based, mostly, upon the images of this particular version of the deck. If one were to use another deck, particularly ones with disparate images, or none at all, many of the recommendations might feel flat. Or, if one imbibes the approach of letting the words themselves create the magic to write, then all is perfect.
Profile Image for Jess.
242 reviews13 followers
April 16, 2019
Hmmm. I was bitten by the writing bug long ago, and I have a pretty regular personal tarot practice for many years now. Combining the two felt quite natural to me, and I have been exploring tarot as a writing tool, following my own impulses and intuitions, on my own. I hoped this book would maybe give me some new ideas, but my creative process does not mesh so well with the methods outlined in this book.

If you are brand new to writing and tarot, this will surely be a handy resource. If you are a writer who's hit a wall, and you want to shake things up/try something new, maybe give this one a look. I do think the methods in this book are more suitable to planners than pantsers. I believe tarot can still be suitable for a pantser, it will just require a bit of customization.

I found the tarot-generated writing examples provided in the book to be rather, uh, uninspiring? Which was disappointing. The dictionary of symbols in the back is a nice addition though, and I am intrigued by the specific writing prompt ideas listed for each individual card.
Profile Image for Sri.
Author 1 book70 followers
October 31, 2021
Lots of great detail on how to begin using tarot for brainstorming plot and characters, and it's just what I need to approach things from a new angle and not be so rigid in the way I think about creative writing, sometimes I impose the structure I use as a scientist and I want to create the space to slow down and think more intuitively so I can't wait to use some of these spreads to do that with my tarot and oracle decks. I also think the explanation of the cards and symbolism as it might apply to character archetypes is helpful! Will be revising this as I outline my plan-o for NaNo this month to kickstart my WIPs again.
Profile Image for Audrey.
722 reviews16 followers
June 13, 2021
Je suis un peu déçue. On a des tirages de tarot par-ci par-là mais rien de bien concret et cadencé pour nous aider. J'aurai préféré : voilà des idées de tirage pour avoir le thème, voilà pour avoir toute la trame, voilà pour détailler chaque item de la trame, voilà pour t'aider quand tu es bloqué.
Je pense qu'il faut que je fasse ce travail moi-même 😊
J'ai quand même mis 4⭐ car la dernière partie donne des super bonnes idées sur ce que l'on peut écrire en fonction de chaque carte (exemple : écrire à propos d'animaux qui parlent pour l'hermite)
Profile Image for Adrienne.
188 reviews
May 25, 2017
Full of inspiration for writers and writing. I liked this book better than Astrology for Writers because this one seemed to make more sense to me. The cards can be somewhat related to Joseph Campbell's Hero's Journey, which can be helpful for a story arc.
Profile Image for Rick Waugh.
Author 6 books22 followers
March 29, 2022
Very interesting. Both an excellent explanation of the meaning of the cards from a tarot point of view, and a great discussion of how to very specifically use the cards to get inspiration for plots, scenes and characters. Exactly what I wanted.
Profile Image for Hannah.
336 reviews79 followers
June 18, 2018
This book doesnt just teach you to apply tarot to your writing. It can also teach you how to write.
Profile Image for Victoria Osborne.
Author 10 books17 followers
February 13, 2016
In my on going quest to ferret out obscure writing books, today I am going to review “Tarot for Writers” by Corrine Kenner.
Writers have long used tarot cards as writing prompts. Even the famous Stephen King uses them. The imagery on the cards, the pictures and the symbolism sparks a deep chord.
Though almost any deck with varied pictures for inspiration can work, the tarroka by whitewolf for the Ravenloft supplements was specifically created to inspire character and plot development in a Dungeons and Dragons game. This book deals and interprets the Universal Tarot.
In this book are not only description of the cards and what they stand for but also layouts for story development character development, and time lines.
I find the layouts and interpreting the hero’s journey through the book to be especially helpful. This book inspired me to acquire several decks, each one to match my mood or the kind of character I am writing about. Light fuzzy cards for good guys and dark brooding cards for antagonists.
If you are looking for a way to infinitely be inspired for your plot lines. Maybe you have an old deck from your teenage days when you thought love revolved around a turn of the cards. You should look into this book.
I would give it five stars, but the card descriptions sometimes veered off writing topics and hit a metaphysical note. However, the layouts are a great guide, and one you shouldn’t miss out on.
Profile Image for Lee Ann.
777 reviews18 followers
January 9, 2015
I was very pleased with this book. I've always been fascinated with reading tarot cards; I have a deck, but I have very little knowledge of how to read the cards. The book that my deck came with is a tiny little thing that doesn't go into much depth. But Tarot for Writers has helped me to understand the cards better, and has also given me some ideas as far as writing goes.

As with every book, I did see some problems with this one. I'm not familiar enough with tarot history to know if it is actually so very Christian, but the images Kenner chose are a little too Catholic for my tastes. This, I feel, limits the characters in the cards, depending on their genders in particular. All of the females felt like tropes ("dark ladies"/"love goddess"/"maiden, mother, crone," etc.), while the males were given some more complexity. The same goes for many of Kenner's writing prompts. They were very... flat? Is that the word I'm looking for? I guess? Nothing too inspiring, really. I guess my main problem with the whole "create characters based on tarot characters" thing is that, in doing so, you limit your characters to the cliches you see on the cards. That being said, I think creating a character FIRST, and THEN seeing which card applies to their story, is interesting and fun.
November 5, 2015
I can't speak to the merits of this book as a tarot guide, given that I'm a hobbyist at best. It's clear that the focus of this guide is the craft of writing and the creative process, and it keeps mentions of tarot's more mystical side to a minimum. I find that the exercises and prompts in this book are helpful and different from a lot of writing guides I've seen out there, and I'd recommend it for any writer or artist looking for something outside of the proverbial box.

The more in-depth interpretations of the cards rely pretty heavily on the imagery and symbolism in the Rider-Waite deck, but if you don't own that deck a combination of this book and your little white book should work just fine. I don't see this as a problem, just something to maybe be mindful of.
488 reviews4 followers
January 30, 2016
I am a bit mixed on this book, on one hand I disagreed with a lot of her interpretations of the card but on the other I am far enough along in my understanding of the tarot that this didn't really throw me and I was able to use what I already knew instead. I did find many of the exercises for creating characters and scenes and such to be interesting and helpful and rather entertaining to use. This seems to be either for an experienced writer or an extremely casual writer though, as the suggestions were pretty slight and low on detail with creation more the focus vs. HOW to write. I found it entertaining and a useful tool that I will have fun playing with.
Profile Image for Viridian5.
753 reviews8 followers
February 22, 2012
Tarot for Writers by Corrine Kenner had some interesting thoughts on sparking ideas for characters and plots, but so much of it is so repetitious that it can be difficult to get through. The writing style doesn't help. Also, it's probably just trying to be thorough in presenting possibilities but the result is that it seems the author spends more time interrogating the cards than actually writing stories from it.

Since the book suggests that people create their own spreads to read and get ideas from, this book doesn't need to be as large as it is. *g*

I can't recommend it.
Profile Image for J.A..
Author 53 books77 followers
October 25, 2011
This isn't so much a Tarot book as it is a guide to using the Tarot to jump start a writer's creativity. It features different spreads and ways to use (or misuse, depending upon your point of view) a Tarot deck to help determine plots and characterizations. It's intriguing, but I'm not certain my decks would be happy to be put to such use.
Profile Image for Oliver Ho.
Author 33 books11 followers
June 3, 2016
I enjoyed the wide variety of associations for each card and element on the cards, and her suggestions for relating the cards to writing exercises and stories in general.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 30 reviews

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