Tarot has been used for hundreds of years for many purposes, from personal examination, fortune telling, religious rituals, to many other creative and spiritual uses. Now Amber and I are using it for writing.
Each time a person uses the cards in a reading, they’re telling a story. This deck uses words, images, and phrases to stimulate the writer’s journey using Tarot archetypes. As such, the cards have been renamed and repurposed, transforming the Fool into the Protagonist, the High Priestess into Mystery, the Empress into Growth, the Emperor into Agency, and so forth.
As the writer and developer, I have reframed each card in the Major Arcana to better serve the needs of writers seeking to use the Tarot as a writing tool. The Major Arcana still describe the protagonist’s quest, but in words geared toward writing rather than the arcane. The Minor Arcana speak to the smaller components of a character’s life. I have redesigned them to address the forms of conflict a character can experience through their journey. Thus the cards progress from the nascence of a character’s journey to the very end of their story.
I first came up with the concept for the deck when I began using Tarot cards not just for personal use or clients, but also for my own stories. Every time I came to a difficult point in a plot or a hard spot with characterization, I would take out my cards and read them for the character or situation. This proved to be a valuable tool in my writing toolbox and I hope it will be one in yours as well.
Using this deck will help you bust through your writer’s block and develop new ways to look at your plots, your characters, and your worlds.
With this Kickstarter, you are supporting the production of this Tarot deck. The funds raised from this project will be used to pay the designer and writer, print both the deck and the book, pay the Kickstarter fees, and ship rewards to backers by April 2017. Thank you so much for backing us in our endeavor to bring this deck to life.
I have been using Tarot and reading for others for over ten years. During that time, I have often used the Tarot for writing. When speaking to other writers, I have also recommended that they use the cards to explore their stories and what impulses drive them to write the stories they do. Such exercises revealed a need for a Tarot geared specifically for writers.
Although I have found no tarot specifically geared to helping writers with their craft, the most commonly used Tarot decks, the Rider-Waite and the Tarot of Marseilles (pictured in the video), follow the Hero’s Journey mode. I have used these decks as inspiration, and subsequently break the Writer's Block Tarot from the Hero’s Journey to make it accessible to writers and readers in all stages of their growth. In contrast to other decks, the Writers Block Tarot uses in particular the language and symbolism of the writer’s craft, making it apt particularly for the writer.
As demonstrated in the video and below, the artwork for the deck is a collage style, with art deco elements to draw the eye toward the central concept of the card. Each card is labeled with the title of the card, making them easy to understand and relate to each other. Amber has been working very hard to make each card as apt as possible for the meaning provided in the book and as accessible as possible to writers of all genres.
This Tarot is a tool that can help unblock your writer’s block and help you process your novel or short stories in new and interesting ways. It has been play tested on several projects to great success, including several novels, a short story collection, and a memoir. During that play test, the authors found that it gave them new insights into their works and new inspiration going forward. We were able to use it not only to work on plot, but also aspects of worldbuilding and character development.
It is not necessary to have studied the tarot to use the Writer’s Block Tarot. What makes you a writer is what makes the Tarot so approachable, since it all depends upon how it makes you feel, how you interpret it, and how it relates to your story.
The Tarot is traditionally broken up into two sections: the Major Arcana and the Minor Arcana. The Major is composed of twenty-two cards, numbered zero to twenty-one. The Minor is comprised of fifty-six cards and is related to the modern playing cards. The Minor have the pip cards, numbered one through ten, along with the court cards: Page, Knight, Queen, and King. In most tarot the Major Arcana are given more weight, speaking to larger concepts, while in the Minor Arcana, smaller and less world-shaking concepts are played out.
In the Writer’s Block Tarot, the Major Arcana represent larger aspects of the plot and characters that the protagonist(s) experience as they go through the story. The Minor Arcana represent the detailed aspects around them that can influence the plot, both conceptually and directly.
This deck will help you grow as a writer, developing your craft and challenging your imagination. Tap into your subconscious through the traditional forms of the Tarot and find new paths through your stories.
When not fighting crime or tinkering with Tarot spreads, Vivian Caethe writes weird fiction, science fiction, fantasy, quirky nonfiction and everything in between. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from Regis University and is a member of the Editorial Freelancer’s Association. She also drinks copious amounts of tea. While doing all these things, she lives in Colorado with her husband, their dog who thinks he’s a werehuman, and a super genius cat. She can be found as a writer at www.viviancaethe.com and as an editor at www.viviantrask.com
After getting lost in the file trees at a very young age, Amber was adopted by a pack of wild pixels, and spent her youth learning Photoshop and graphic design by cave painting. Fifteen years later, Amber is a digital jack-of-all-trades (and don’t be rude…she’s exceptional at them all).
With this Kickstarter, you are supporting the production of this Tarot deck and book. The book is through first draft and we have completed 30 cards and have several more in progress. Meeting our funding goal will secure the funds we need to finish the deck, complete edits on the book, and print the book and deck. The funds raised from this project will be used to pay the designer and writer to create the deck and book, print both of these items, pay the Kickstarter fees, and ship rewards to backers (using Backerkit).
This will be a Full Color deck of 78 cards in a traditional Tarot size (2.75" x 4.75," 70mm x 121mm).
Each of these cards was influenced by the traditional tarot decks (Marseilles and Rider-Waite), but has been designed with a writer’s perspective in mind. More images to come as they are developed and finalized.
The first draft has been completed and it is now in review process with beta readers and proofers. The final draft will be completed upon completion of the deck and addition of the card images to the book. The book lists all the cards and provides descriptions and insights into each card, illustrating the meaning behind them and how to use the deck to further your writing. It will be approximately 200 pages long and black and white on cream and it will be 5”x8” (12.7x20.32cm). Although I would like to do color, it would make the cost of the book prohibitive both to the Kickstarter and to market afterward.
Since we have hit our funding goal, a .pdf of the book will be provided to all backers level Knight ($20) and above.
$5 Page – One randomly selected card mailed to you and our gratitude for your support. Also your name and a thank you in the book.
$20 Knight – The physical book and one randomly selected card from the deck as well your name with a thank you in the book.
$30 Queen – One deck of the Writer’s Block Tarot and your name with a thank you in the book. This reward tier does not include the book.
$50 King – One deck of the Writer’s Block Tarot and the hardcopy book that accompanies the deck as well as your name with a thank you in the book.
$100 Friend – Two decks, two books, and your name with a thank you in the book
$150 Collector – Limited edition signed and numbered deck and book and your name with a thank you in the book. (20)
$200 Artist – Poster print of the card of your choice along with the deck and the book as well as your name with a thank you in the book. (20)
$500 Querent – Google Hangouts tarot reading with the writer along with the deck, the book and your name with a thank you in the book. (10)
$750 Protagonist – Your face on a card in a single-edition deck, that deck, a regular deck and the book as well as your name with a thank you in the book. (High-resolution photo to be provided by the backer. By giving us this photo, you agree that you own or have permission to use or reproduce the photo provided.) (10)
$1000 Novelist – A developmental edit of your novel by the writer, a deck and the book as well as your name with a thank you in the book. Novel must be less than 125,000 words and formatted in Standard Manuscript Format. (5)
Due to overwhelming support, we will be adding a .pdf of the book to all backers who pledge at the $20 (Knight) level and above!
Kickstarter kickoff – March 24,2016
Kickstarter finish – April 21, 2016
Funds to us – May 2016
Artwork completed – September 2016
Book completed – September 2016
Test Deck printed and shipped – October 2016
Proof Book printed and shipped – October 2016
Adjustments made to deck – December 2016
Adjustments made to book – December 2016
Final Sign-off on Deck – January 2017
Final Sign-off on Book – January 2017
Books and Decks shipped to fulfillment center – February 2017
Books and Decks to you – April 2017
Poster Prints to Artist level Backers – July 2017
Single edition decks to Protagonist level Backers – July 2017
Google Hangouts Readings to Querent level Backers – August 2017
Developmental Edits to Novelist Level Backers – December 2017
$8,000 - print more decks and books! When we originally budgeted for the campaign, we planned on using it to print 100 decks and 100 books. Since we have surpassed that amount, we can print more decks and books, so rest assured you will be getting your rewards, no matter what. $8,000 is our goal to print another hundred of each. Finally, for this level, I will make a video of how to use the Writer's Block Tarot with a three card spread (using the play test deck I made while designing the deck).
$10,000 - extended licensing! This will allow us to print even more of the books and decks. Due to licensing restrictions on the images, we are limited to how many times we can use an image. This will allow us to be able to pay the licensing fees and print even more decks and books for you! Here I'll do a video of the relationship spread using the same play test deck.
$14,000 - even more decks and books!! This amount is enough to allow us to print 300 decks and 300 books. Plus! We have always wanted to carry this project further than the Kickstarter, and meeting this level, we will be able to have enough to sell on a website that we'll make after the Kickstarter is complete. Here I'll do a demo of the Celtic Cross spread with the play test deck.
$16,000 - more words! Once we reach this goal, we'll add an extra part to the book that illustrates a some of the history and provides some context to where the Writer's Block Tarot came from (plus any excuse to cite sources makes me super happy). This stretch goal will provide us with enough funds to make the book a bit longer, and thus more full of information since Createspace increases the price of printing for books based on page count.
$20,000 - genre cards! These will not be part of the actual Tarot deck, but will feature similar designs. There will be 9 genre cards in total, representing the following genres: Science Fiction, Fantasy, Horror, Romance, Mystery, Thriller, Western, Historical, and Drama. Their purpose will be to represent the genre in which you are writing and help focus your thoughts as you work on your story through the spreads. As a backer, you will be given the option to select one as your choice for free in the survey once we send it out after the conclusion of the Kickstarter. You may also choose to purchase the entire set through Backerkit as part of the survey as well
$26,000 - hardcovers! This will allow us to print even more decks and by this point, we will have enough to print the book as a hardcover. This means we’ll be using a different Print on Demand company than Createspace (since Createspace only does trade paperbacks), but we will have the same level of distribution and it will not affect you getting your books. Plus I have a soft spot for hardcovers and I think they will hold up better to use than the trade paperbacks, making them a longer-lasting and more durable resource for you in the years to come.
Risks and challenges
Every Kickstarter has its own particular risks and challenges and this one is no different. Both Amber and I have day jobs that are demanding both mentally and spiritually. That being said, this is something both of us are very passionate about and we can’t wait to get started on making it the best we can possibly make it. That passion can help us overcome the challenges we face when it comes to time and energy spent on this project.
We have also already begun working on the project, which will help mitigate the difficulty of time and energy. The first draft of the book has been completed and awaits editorial review. The deck is not intended to be a vanity project in any way and has been carefully developed as an idea that might interest a larger group of people not just within the usual tarot reader or collector domain, but beyond. We've gone the extra step to fully create the deck concept and build half of the deck in advance, and that has had time and monetary costs associated with this preparation that we hope to recapture with the support of the backers.
This Kickstarter is less about making a dream come alive, and more of a proof of concept to see if we can deliver a high-quality concept deck at a reasonable price, if it's something that has public interest, and if these types of decks or tarot in general are things we think would be a good venture for future products as well.
Another risk that could arise in a project like this is compatibility between partners. This will not be a challenge for us as we have worked together successfully on three other self-published projects (Drink the Tea: A Beginner’s Guide and Tea Journal written by Vivian Caethe and photos by Amber Peter, Handwritten by Vivian Caethe, and Seven Stories of Cibola by Vivian Caethe).
The other risks we face on the production side depend not only on us on getting the book and deck completed, but also on the companies we plan on using to publish both the deck and book. We are planning on using a tarot card printer for the deck and Createspace for the book. However, our final number and the quality of the test decks will ultimately determine who we have print our deck.
While we have never had any issues with Createspace on three previous self-published projects, tarot card printers are an unknown variable that could lead to issues down the road. That being said, several test decks have been ordered from various companies with no issues and in the future, more test decks will be procured in order to make sure we are getting the best product possible from them. Amber also has fifteen years of print experience that will help make the cards look their best given the guidelines provided by the printer.
Createspace is owned by Amazon and poses only a minimal obstacle to the production process. The challenges we foresee with this company are merely issues with layout and formatting that can be addressed through their online review process and by printing proof copies of the book. Every once in a while Createspace also misprints a book, so we will be checking all of the books to make sure they look the way they are supposed to.
Finally, a common risk to Kickstarters is the number of backers involved. We will be using Backerkit to make sure no one gets overlooked in the process.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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