Exercise #1 – Lighthouse


I’ve been taking part in an online workshop series about the editing process. During the first session we discussed reviewing the content while keeping your “lighthouse” in mind. The guiding light. The goal. The reason you started writing the project, be it an idea, concept, or full scene. From there remove elements that don’t fit in to that progression. I absolutely loved that idea, and it’s helping me re-work the first half of my piece.

For the second week, we did some peer review of our projects and were asked to review what we liked versus what stuck out like sore thumbs. Compare what fits the narrative to what we’re questioning the purpose of or are not pleased with. Does the piece work without those things? Do those things work on their own? Should they be enhanced or removed entirely?

Lots of good questions to consider.

An exercise suggested during this session that I found fascinating involved writing around obstructions. Impose a rule (e.g., only use dialogue, change the perspective, switch to a different character, etc.) and re-write a scene. This can offer fresh insight and allow you to identify the crucial details that work in both instances that are necessary to be included. It also breaks you out of your comfort zone, which is something you might unintentionally find yourself clinging to when writing a long piece.

Something I’ve always wanted to try, was to use my Tarot cards to help set a framework or outline for a scene and then stick specifically to that.

There’s a great guidebook, that I own, called Tarot for Writers that explains how to use the cards to identify archetypes for creating characters, and even use them for writing prompts. I’ve read through that book and explored it a bit, but haven’t done it to any great length. I am a little stuck with my story right now, so I’m going to use my cards as my obstruction (slash guide) and see if I can get myself out of my rut.

I’m going to use this table for reference when drawing (this will likely change over time):

Major Arcana

Minor Arcana






Unknown / Energy

Pentacle / Coin

Sword / Athame

Wand / Staff

Chalice / Cup / Vessel

Soul / Internal Thoughts






World / Setting




Character / Archetype

Grounded / Composed

Happy / Content

Angry / Stern

Upset / Depressed

Grey / Black

Green / Brown

Light Blue / White

Red / Orange / Yellow

Dark Blue / Purple






Night / Day

Interior (personal)

Exterior (personal)

Interior (public)

Exterior (public)

Religious / Spiritual

Casual (agnostic)

Questioning / Unsure / Not

Devout (daily)

Cultural (familial)

I tried to capture different elements of the writing process compared to the symbology in the major and minor arcana. I will elaborate on this more to include the court cards, planetary symbols, and the little that I know about numerology later. For now this is a good jumping point to try and outline a chapter, so let’s try and put it in practice.

The scenes I’m struggling with in my current project are the classroom scenes, or any scene where there are supposed to be additional side / background characters to fill in the environment. I focus too much on my mains, and don’t have individual dialogue or realistic mannerisms for their classmates and teachers. I haven’t worked out the early lessons in the story where the characters all meet and begin learning magic.

I’m going to try drawing some cards for my setting, and side characters and free-write for a bit!

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