Fleshing out your bit players


Every character s the hero of his own story. While you don’t want to delve into the backstory of ever random bartender and postman who strays through your tale, you do want those characters who have multiple lines or appear in more than one scene to be textured individuals.

It’s worth spending a few minutes thinking about these characters so that when they appeaer you can draw them vividly and deeply with a few quick, but authoritative, authorial strokes.

This quick spread is based on a 3-card Past-Present-Future spread.

For the top card select a court card to use as a significator. You can either select one deliberately to mirror the attributes you have already chosen for this minor character or you can extract the 16 court cards from the deck and pick one randomly from them to suggest a personality type for this bit player. Any good tarot book can give you the personality type associated with each of the court cards. In general I would advise ignoring the age and gender enforced by the court cards and just paying attention to the character traits assigned to them.

Lay three more cards in a line below the significator card. From left to right these are the Past, Present, and Future cards for your character.

Past: This card suggests the character’s backstory and the forces and events that are driving them.

Present: This card suggests where the character is at the moment, what is there most current concern and motivator.

Future: This card suggests the character’s future, what their aspirations are or where they are heading.

Just having a one liner for each of these aspects of a minor character can help make them 3-dimensional when you form their dialogue and actions in the moments that they appear in your story.


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  1. Pingback: Using Tarot for Writing Inspiration [Resource Links] | Hunter is Writing

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