LWB Story Starters & Snippets - Using Spread Questions as Story Prompts

One of the things I love to do is to look at my LWB (Little White Books) as Little White Books of creative potential. Usually when I open up a new deck I look through the book to see if there are any potential spreads that I would do for myself, sometimes I will alter the questions, or mix them around to suit my needs, lately though I have been seeing them in a totally new light and from the eyes of my fictional characters.

Often when we are in the process of writing a longer piece there will undoubtedly be days when your cup is drained dry and the river of creativity is bubbling down to the earth. While it can be nourishing to feel connected to the physical, writing lends itself a lot to being in the ethereal realms of other worlds, space and time. I have found over the past few years of integrating Tarot into my creative writing process that there can be an amazing regeneration process that comes from looking at something from a different perspective and connecting to energy that is universal [such as the 78 cards in the Tarot]

Today I will be sharing five steps that you can use to explore the cards and the spreads in the LWB for story starters, for scenes ideas and snippets that you can later go back and expand on. I will also share an example of a snippet that I created using the High Priest card from The Ghost and Spirits Tarot by Lisa Hunt and her Realm of the Spirits spread.

1.    Take a moment, and set a timer. For the first five minutes of this exercise sit with the card and write down anything that you see in it. Don’t censor, and refrain from looking at the LWB definitions.

As an example here are some of the things that I noted down from what I saw in the High Priest card:

.12 orbs, could they be past selves, soul family members, trials or shadow aspects?
. Paint scrapings in the background, unfinished like plaster – a job that looks unfinished, possibly unfinished business?
. There is a bird on his third eye – representative of wisdom, messages, callings, and synchronicity 

2.     Now once you have made some notes about what you see, take a moment to switch perspectives and step inside the mind and body of a character in your story. Follow the same steps as before, making note this time of what your character tells you they see.

. I see the Ghosts of the people that I have killed throughout my life
. A book of lives and history that documents all my past lives
. I see my older self, my future self illuminated in a wormhole

3.     Once you have got a list from your perspective and your characters it is time to turn to the spread and look at the questions. You don’t need to follow them chronologically; we are seeking to find the position and the questions that are asked in that position as starting points to bring it all together to create our prompt.

Example : In this spread I have chosen the [Spirit of the Present] position - that asks a few questions. If your position has a number of questions, pick the one that resonates with you the most [You can always come back and write on the others] I chose – Where are you right now?

4.     Write the question at the top of your page. Underneath it pick 1-3 pointers from your notes and write them down. Those will be your prompts.
I chose to note down these ideas inspired by my reflections

. Shadows illuminated
. Unfinished business
. Paint scrapings around her
. Old self or future self
. Dead – People she has killed
. Book of alternative lives

5.     You have created a prompt, a story scene starter. Set your timer to fifteen minutes and free write. Don’t worry about what comes out, you can always come back to it and use what you have written to create more prompts. Once you are done, take another card or another question and a point and begin writing again.

Tip # It’s okay if you waver from the meaning of the card.  I love looking for the fun ways to incorporate the meanings from the LWB & if you feel drawn to I encourage you to check out the artists interpretations and see how it can add to your current snippet.  By doing this exercise you gain an opportunity expand on your awareness of what inspires and provokes you in the present moment and is great to look back on when developing a deeper connection with the cards outside character driven writing.

Here is a really rough draft of the story prompt I used to create a story snippet for my current novel project. At the end of the writing session I wrote down three impressions or thoughts that I got from the snippet that I will use later to create more.

Vesper stared at the cotton blue walls where the plaster peeled away and scratches of fingernails and pain broke free to reveal the empty white walls behind it. It was the only room without photographs lining the walls or faded wallpaper, yet in the centre of each of the walls was a silhouette marking, a cream circle with wide blacked edges inside it. The size of dinner plates, they looked like eyes watching her, honing in closer as the candle flames dances and cast shadows on the furniture across the wall.

She pulled the thin sheet up under her chin and tried to close her eyes, fighting the throbbing exhaustion pulsing inside her skull. Failing she rubbed her eyes and saw movement out of the corner of her eye. Two silver orbs hovered around the candle holders. They circled around the base and spiralled up, rising with the flames. First smaller than the candles themselves and then growing larger until they were almost the same shape as the circles on the walls, layers of grey pulsated stretching out to white within them.

She sat up, facing them directly and watched as they travelled slowly, taking their time to cross the room, bobbing up and down, rising and falling in time with her breath till they reached the circle on the side of the wall her mattress was pushed up against. She felt the pressure, a weight pressed against the end of the sheet, as the orbs lingered only inches away from her. The balls expanded, widening and growing as they merged together.

Fingers formed from their curves, fingers that reached out and curled towards her. Something inside of her swelled an urge that she couldn’t contain. Her arm moved. The black tendrils she had seen come from her palms earlier that day swirled around her, the energy a firecracker of tension exploding and rippling its way inside her, crawling beneath her skin. She held out her hand, straining to touch the beings that were beginning to emerge from the orbs. Beside her the sound of tearing swayed her for a moment, as the hands betrayed the connection between them and went to the plaster, ripping at it.

Little pieces flaked onto her bed. The energy from her own hand pulled her forward. On her knees know she crawled to the circle and placed her sweaty palms in the centre. The noise of scratching nails against the wall increased around her. The spirit hand turned into an arm, the obs growing into fully formed beings upon impact with the tendrils escaping from inside of her. She spread her fingers, warmth from the wall flaring into a scorching pain. She tried to pull back, but her hand was stuck.

“Don’t fight it,” a voice said, hollow and echoing. It came from the hole that was drawing her into the black centre to closer she got to it, until the voice disappeared and pulled her inside.

The three notes I made after writing were #Timetravel  - #Abduction # Wallwalkers

I would love to know if you use this exercise. If it is helpful please leave me a comment.

What do you like to use your LWB for? Have you ever used the spreads in creative writing?

Blair Mirth

Blair is a Pagan Loving, Earth magic maverick with a love for Tarot, poetry, Herbs, Creative Writing and Learning. Here you will find all manner of magical tips, techniques, interviews and sharings

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