A Writing Exercise …by Susan Lute

bigstock-The-beautiful-girl-at-a-typewr-29772122Sometimes when I’m writing a story I lose my way; take a left when I should have gone right. Story structure is kind of my thing, different approaches melded together so I can organically – so to speak – go from the first turning point to the second and so on. Once I’m sure I’ve got the necessary scene components and if I’m still not on the straight and narrow of the story, then the problem is with the characters. Conflict arises from the characters, their goals, desires and vision for their future. So if I’m still stuck there are two exercises I try.

The first one is to pull out the Tarot deck. It happens I have two. My very first deck was given to me by the incomparable Wendy Warren, a beautifully painted austere deck that has seen many years of use. My second deck is one Darla Luke and I found while in Seattle, The Dragon Tarot. You’re not surprised, right?

My current project is Dragon’s Keeper. Carlton is a Naga who has been forcefully separated from his dragon; a broken symbiotic relationship that is killing them both. I know a lot about Carlton (this is Book II in The Dragonkind Chronicles), but I think it would be fun to learn a little bit more. So let’s pick a card and see how it can work into the first act of the story.

Ace Of Coins. An earth element which shows material and financial conditions. A new doorway is opening up. Hmmm.

The next card – Ten Of Coins. Joint finance. Important investment decisions.

Next card – King of Coins? I’ll bite. Dragons. Treasure. A man at the top of his trade or profession.

Okay. One more – Judgement. A three headed dragon bursts forth from a tunnel in the ground, armed with a hammer. It moves to the anvil. Possesses powerful transformative energies. Phobias. Obsessions.

Interesting. Do I know how this fits into my dragon story? Not yet.Phoenix bird figure isolated

Then there’s The Element Encyclopedia Of Birthdays. It opened to 1 January, funny enough, the birthday of self-improvement. The greatest challenge to those born on this day is to stop beating themselves up over mistakes they’ve made. They are oversensitive, impatient , manipulative; and when at their best: have drive, dedication and honesty. Their life task is to recognize that weaknesses in themselves and others are not necessarily insurmountable obstacles, that weaknesses can become strengths.

So there you have it. Two strategies that can flesh out a character when you find yourself in trouble.

When your stories get tangled up, what tricks do you use to untangle the knot?

Reading this week: A Little Night Muse by Jessa Slade.


About Susan

Author, wife, mother, sister, daughter, friend, dreamer.

Posted on January 21, 2013, in General and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. Interesting way to get at character depth. You are a true creative, Susan.


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