On Deck: Tarot readings for writers March ‘24

on deck with Ten intuitive imagery prompts for writers_text over a deck of colorful cards fanned out
Date Posted:

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. March’s prompt is about developing a person v. self conflict.


Last month, we took a break from the standard list of conflicts in literature to explore a love triangle, and in January I pulled cards for a person v. person conflict. This month, we are going to jump right back in and pull some cards for person v. self. It might be helpful to check out my blog on developing the protagonist first so you have an idea about who your main character is. 


Person vs. Self Conflict Development

In a person v. self conflict, the main character or protagonist is confronted with their own struggles and the consequences of their decisions. This is an internal conflict, where we see the protagonist struggle with “making the right choice.” Often their inability to make “the right choice” stems from previous trauma or personal experiences. Their decisions could be more light-hearted, such as craving but knowing they shouldn’t eat ice cream because they are lactose intolerant, or the choice could be over a more extreme issue like addiction or leaving a relationship.

Let’s pull some cards to develop this conflict.


Tarot reading for writers 

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:




What happened to the protagonist that caused the internal struggle?

The Tower, aka Blessing in Disguise

A whopper right out of the gates! This card represents something majorly traumatic that shook the foundation of the main character’s life. When I’m doing a reading, I actually like getting The Tower. We don’t want to build our castles on sand. Though it doesn’t feel like a good thing when we’re in the middle of it, The Tower shakes loose what isn’t supporting us. It could also be showing us that we are disconnected from our communities, hanging out up in our ivory tower. 


Why does the protagonist keep making the “wrong” decision?

The Emperor 

This card after The Tower makes sense, in a way. One response to having your world shaken up is trying to control everything around you so it doesn’t happen again. The Emperor is the King of Kings, and he didn’t get that way by playing nice. If you’re into astrology, this card also represents the sign of Aries who, at their worst, can be immature, demanding, and tyrannical. 


How does the protagonist resolve the struggle?

Three of Wands

This card is interesting because traditionally, it means something to the effect of “waiting for your ships to come in.” The Three of Wands is telling you that you have to make investments and wait patiently for the return on those investments. Think: the opposite of a get-rich-quick scheme. Occasionally, I read it as a kind of “what are you waiting for?” energy. You have to go ahead and make the investments and take the risks because there’s never going to be a perfect time. 


A writing exercise

Using the imagery and interpretations above, let’s write a story, or develop an existing one.

Your main character has to move and has 24 hours to decide between two distant locations. These locations are their only options, or they will be living out of their car. They are struggling with how little control they have over the situation, and that struggle leads to a bad decision that removes one of the options. Perhaps they were supposed to move in with a family member and their bad decision eliminated that choice. Write a scene where the protagonist wakes up and realizes they blew it and the decision has been forced on them. 

Tip: It’s easy to get caught up inside the character’s head, so make sure there’s some external conflict, too. Revisit the person v. person conflict post from January, or the post on developing antagonists for your story, if you feel stuck in your main character’s psyche.


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

Podcast anchor.fm/tarotwithten

IG @TarotwithTen 

YouTube Tarot with Ten 

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).

Want to receive tips and inspiration like this in your inbox every Sunday morning? Join our email list community! You will receive weekly advice, a year’s worth of weekly writing prompts as a FREE download, and be eligible to participate in our monthly photo prompt contest for a chance to share an original piece of writing with our community of more than 2,500 writers.

Add new comment

Restricted HTML

  • Allowed HTML tags: <a href hreflang> <em> <strong> <cite> <blockquote cite> <code> <ul type> <ol start type> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <h2 id> <h3 id> <h4 id> <h5 id> <h6 id>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Web page addresses and email addresses turn into links automatically.