One thing that I wanted to put into Tarot for Fiction Writers was a spread on romance. But I didn’t, mostly for lack of experience on the genre. As you may or may not know, my fiction up to this point has been fairly free of romance (the protagonist of my recent serial was textually asexual, after all).
That’s something that’s changing in my next series. I’m attempting to learn as much as I can about writing a romance side-plot (Romancing the Beat is next on my TBR pile, review forthcoming). Since Valentine’s Day is just around the corner as I’m writing this, I thought a romance tarot spread would be in order!
If you’re new to using the tarot as a writing tool, check out my other posts on the subject. You may also be interested in Tarot for Fiction Writers, my book on the subject. It’s releasing on March 1, 2018, and is now available for preorder.
Writing Love Triangles: Three rules
Before we get into the spread, let’s think a little bit about love triangles. There’s one character (we’re going to assume they’re female for the purposes of this post, but the genders could easily be reversed) stuck between two seemingly great suitors.
Rule #1 for Writing Love Triangles: Both suitors have to be equally awesome. This is important. If you make one obviously better than the other, it will be obvious who the heroine is going to choose, and the readers are going to wonder why she’s wasting her time with this other guy at all. Making one objectively better than the other is a cop out. When the heroine is with each suitor, the reader should forget the other exists and be rooting for the one she’s with.
One of the most famous love triangles is that of Bella, Edward, and Jake in Twilight. One of the weak points of this narrative was that it was always obvious who Bella would end up choosing in the end.
Rule #2 for Writing Love Triangles: the suitors must be opposites on a spectrum. It’s true that both suitors must be equally matched—but that doesn’t mean they need to be the same. In fact, they should be totally different. If one’s a bad boy, the other must be good. If one is physically strong, the other should be emotionally strong.
Consider Peeta and Gale in The Hunger Games. Peeta is described as not much of a fighter—in fact, he uses his fake relationship with Katniss as an edge in the competition for that very reason. He’s lived an easy life by District 12 standards. Then there’s Gale, who’s been hunting with Katniss since he was a kid. Out of the two, Gale would be the leather-clad bad boy, and Peeta would be the clean-cut pretty boy.
Rule #3 for Writing Love Triangles: The suitors must represent something greater to the heroine. The love triangle should represent the outcomes the outcomes that the heroine needs to choose from. For example, if she is trying to decide whether to stay at her corporate job in the city or move back to her rural hometown, each of the suitors should represent one of those places, and the kind of life she would lead there.
Tarot Spread for Writers: The Love Triangle Tarot Spread
In this spread, we have three cards—one representing the heroine, and one representing each of the suitors:
Card 1: Heroine
Card 2: Love interest 1
Card 3: Love interest 2
You may choose the heroine card or draw it at random. You’ll want to consider the following questions as you conduct your reading:
What does the heroine see in each of the suitors?
What do the suitors represent for her?
In what ways are the suitors different? In what ways are they the same?
What is the relationship between the heroine and each of the suitors like? Comfortable? Fun? Stable? Passionate?
What is the relationship between the suitors? Are they enemies or friends?
Happy writing, my friends! Don’t forget to check out Tarot for Fiction Writers and its companion workbook, The Fiction Writer’s Tarot Journal, available March 1!