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firelite's Avatar
Join Date: 04 Oct 2004
Location: Finland
Posts: 13
for writers - short story spread

I invented this spread when I wanted an idea for a short story. I write a lot and always run out of ideas... This has been great help!

1: the narrator
2: the outer persona of the main character
3: the inner persona of the main character
4: beginning of the story
5: middle of the story
6: end of the story
7 and 8: two minor characters (you can always do more or less)
9: the major theme of the story

This can also be done with playing cards.... AND it´s great fun with friends, figuring out stories for everyone to write!

we think of the key, each in his prison
thinking of the key each confirms a prison
-TS Eliot: The Waste Land
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Imagemaker's Avatar
Join Date: 15 Dec 2003
Location: NH, USA
Posts: 4,019

This could work for longer pieces, too. I've done other writing spreads, but I like the simplicity of this.

And I must put in a plug for November--Novel Writing Month. Come join the fun and writing inspiration at

Last year over 25,000 writers signed up (worldwide) and gave this a try--a 50K novel in 30 days. Doesn't have to end or even hang together. But it will teach you a lot about writing, your imagination, and how much fun it is to create characters and fiction.

Notice everything. It's sending you a message.
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Aura Wolf 
Of the cosmic woodland
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Join Date: 20 Sep 2002
Location: BC, Canada
Posts: 3,385

What a neat spread! Thanks for this firelite.

“The true mystery of the world is the visible.” —Oscar Wilde
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robynleigh's Avatar
Join Date: 31 Jan 2009
Location: CA, USA
Posts: 44

I'm working on a short story right now and this was so helpful. Thank you!
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Old 17-08-2009 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #4
Join Date: 03 Sep 2009
Location: SD, USA
Posts: 9

I love this spread, but I've made one alteration. For cards 7 and 8, instead of using those as cards for two minor characters, I use them as inner and outer personality cards, like you have as cards 2 and 3, only for a second major character. So cards two and three would talk about the hero, and 7 and 8 might be the cards for the villian, 2 and 3 is one love, and 7 and 8 are the other half of a love story, like that. Hope that made sense.
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Old 06-09-2009 Need answers now? Get 50% off your first live Tarot session!     Top   #5
Join Date: 07 Sep 2009
Location: MA-USA
Posts: 6

I actually modified this as a base for a music piece.

1: The underlying theme
2: Melodic theme
3: Rhythmic theme (could be an ostinato, could be complicated. Depends on the card)
4: beginning of the piece
5: middle of the piece
6: end of the piece
7 and 8: Two emotions the piece should convey
9: The overall mixture of these two emotions, what should the audience feel at the end of the piece?

It did great for a short drum corp piece, now I'm going to try a string quartet...

Also, typically my types of pieces are atonal (most of my inspiration comes from Bartók), but if you feel inspired to choose a key and stick with it, I'm sure you could find it in the cards
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alli cat 
Join Date: 28 Aug 2009
Posts: 150

Great thread to come accross and at just the right time! I'm struggling with writing a short story for a course, but will try this approach and see what comes. Thanks! Allicat xx
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