On Deck: Tarot reading for writers Oct ‘23

On deck with Ten intuitive imagery prompts for writers_text over a deck of colorful cards fanned out
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Teneice Durrant, creator of Tarot with Ten, will use various tarot and oracle decks to provide monthly readings for writers, with exercises on using imagery and intuition as prompts. October's prompt will help you create a meeting between two would-be romantic partners.


Writing a meet-cute scene with tarot

What is a “meet-cute,” you ask? It’s exactly what it sounds like: A meeting of two people in which the conversation or circumstances are “cute” enough to signal to the audience that these two characters are going to become romantically involved. While we may think this is a new term of the first encounter a couple has, usually in a romantic comedy-type movie, the term actually has a much longer history.

According to the Nashville Film Institute, “The term ‘meet-cute’ originated in 1938 Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife. While shopping for pajamas, Claudette Colbert and Gary Cooper meet, and it turns into a delightfully cute conversation, hence the name.” This article lists tons of great examples of initial interactions between the two characters that will eventually fall in love; but for this exercise, we will be talking about the push/pull. This happens when one character is immediately smitten and the other wants nothing to do with them. 


Where does the meet-cute take place?

As always, these images are from the Rider Waite tarot deck, via Pixabay (Creative Commons license), and you can flip through all cards from this reading here:



Five of Swords
This card depicts the aftermath of a battle of the brains. The character in the foreground has outwitted their opponents with logic. I often read this card as the sore winner, or winner-at-all-costs. Use this dynamic to create the setting of your meet-cute scene.


Why is the first character smitten?

The Temperance card represents the Sign of Sagittarius (a fire sign) and is the card of alchemy. I often read this as the art card because it represents the ability to make something priceless out of basic materials. It is also considered the miracle card, as if this angel is turning water into wine. There is a respect for the process. Perhaps one of your characters is enchanted by the ability of the other to be creative and passionate.


Why is the second character repulsed? 

Knight of Swords
The Knight of Swords charges forward, inspired by their own convictions and personal set of morals and values. This could be noble, or it could be overzealous pushiness based on a misguided belief system. Knights are cards of gaining experience through action and often they make lots of mistakes. Maybe their repulsion is misguided?


What happens to get them moving in the same direction? 

Three of Swords
Three of Swords is the card of betrayal, loss, and heartache. It is often self-inflicted, but even if we are hurt by others, we are the only ones who can heal ourselves. In this situation, it could be that some larger organization has betrayed them both—squanders their pensions, closes up without a word—or there is a person they both know who does something that hurts both of them. They are then brought together to heal from (or get revenge for) this communal hurt. 


There is a great deal of sword energy in this month’s reading, which represents logic, thought, integrity, and epiphanies. This meet-cute would focus more on philosophical ideas and values than overt, physical acts of expression—more like a debate after a Ted Talk and less like winning a giant teddy bear at the carnival. 


A writing exercise

Consider these four cards as you develop the setting of your meet-cute, the two characters who are meeting, the dynamic between them, and how they will eventually overcome whatever or whoever stands between them.

As always, begin with the literal descriptions of the cards. Describe the objects, the colors, the people, before moving on to write down any associations you make to the objects or the ideas I outlined above. Allow your thoughts to lead the scene as it unfolds. And make it cute!

Until next month, here’s how to find me outside of the Center:

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IG @TarotwithTen 

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What did you think of this tarot reading and the cards as visual prompts for story development? Share with us in the comments, and contact us if you’re interested in working one-on-one with Teneice in part 3 of Writing Toward Balance and Wholeness: Tarot and the Narrative Arc (taking parts 1 and 2 first is not required).

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