In October 2015, I was introduced to using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey for writing by the wonderful and amazing Arwen Lynch. I watched her video Character Interview Spread. And it was synchronicity. I knew I had to take her course. I knew I needed to find out more. I’m a visual person so using a visual aid like tarot made sense to my brain (especially since I’m one of those folks who uses their right and left brain in various ways to learn, write, create art, etc.).
I purchased Arwen’s course: 33 Days to Finish Your Book. And it was worth every dime I spent–though to be honest it isn’t expensive at all. Using tarot and the hero’s journey meant I needed to know more about the actual hero’s journey. So when I signed up the for the course, I also purchased Vogler’s The Writers Journey: Mythic Structure for Writers, as well as Campbell’s The Hero With a Thousand Faces, and the Tarot Kit for Beginners. If you’re going to use tarot for your writing then you need a basic deck, and the only tarot deck I had wasn’t a Rider-Waite deck, which is what most people would consider to be a core/basic deck. Since then I’ve accrued several various types of tarot and oracle decks and books.
Why? Well, using tarot cards (along with oracle cards) for my writing has proven to be a powerful brainstorming tool, a wonderful and exciting way to open and increase my imagination, as well as my intuition in regard to my writing. I soon realized I wanted to know as much as I could about using tarot for writing so I also purchased Corrine Kenner’s Tarot for Writers, and I’ve just purchased Kenner’s Astrology for Writers (I’ll let you know how that one is next Wednesday). Along that same line, I have Linda Perfect’s The Storyteller’s Tarot and Diana Castle’s Writer Faster With Tarot . So…
Stephen King’s “The Stand,” is a post apocalyptic novel that many have said is King’s “Lord of the Rings.” It is a monstrosity of a novel. The uncut version is around 1153 pages, but what makes it epic isn’t the length, it’s the characters and the story.
The first third of the novel is about the spread of a man-made super flu virus that has gotten loose. In the first 100 pages, the super flu has wiped out a little over 99% of the population, and those who survive are left with survivor’s guilt, as well as having to learn how to survive and cope with the tragedy that has occurred.
Many of the survivors dream about Mother Abigail, while some dream of the Dark Man (Flagg). The theme of good (Mother Abigail) versus evil (Flagg) is quite obvious, and yet there are other themes in the book as well: themes like fate, the government, and others. What other themes to you think Kind included? And why?
One of the things that really hit me hard when I first started reading “The Stand” this time around was the fact that flu season had started and every where I turned where advertisements for people to get their flu shots. Captain Trips… The slightest sneeze or sniffle and I was thinking about Captain Trips, Mother Abigail, Stu, Nick, Larry (“Baby …dig your man…”), and M-O-O-N….
In the beginning of the novel, Campion is headed straight towards Hapscomb’s Texaco, in a small town named Arnette, TX. Stu saves the pumps from blowing but has no idea he’s signed a death warrant for Arnette and his friends when they’re all exposed to Campion. Fate? Pre-destined?
Much of the middle of the novel is about the road trip to Boulder, Colorado–a long ass road trip, and then setting up their new community, complete with meetings, minutes of the meetings, etc. Do you think King’s attention to detail added to the novel or took away from it?
What do you think about the characters?
Mother Abigail’s flock?
Who are your favorite characters, and why?
Least favorite, and why?
Which characters are the weakest links? Which characters are the strongest links?
Which characters change the most?
And last but not least…
Once again, we see Flagg in a King novel. The Dark One, the Dark Man, the Crimson King, the Man in Black… what do you think about Flagg in this novel?
Back in April, I started my Writer’s Bullet Journal in a large (well, it’s the Master) Leuchtturm 1917, but it was just too big to handle easily. Forget taking it anywhere. And it didn’t fit in my Writer’s Bible, which is a custom Jonelifish TN (traveler’s notebook). I tried the softcover Leuchtturm 1917 and loved it, but it became harder and harder to find, so when I got down to the last few pages of it I decided to use a Midori A5 grid notebook I had, since it could also be housed in my Writer’s Bible and replace the filled softcover Leuchtturm1917.
With NaNoWriMo quickly approaching, I needed to get things together. I had 6 weeks to prepare for November 1st and when I really thought about it–that just didn’t feel like enough time, but HEY! a writer’s gotta do what a writer’s gotta do. So I got my butt in gear and started preparing. My husband said, “It’s not November yet, why are you doing Nano stuff now?” I looked up at him with my serious face. “It’s almost the end of September. I’ve got to get things ready…” I said. And then I looked down at my Writer’s Bible and said, “I’m excited and there’s a lot of work to do.” And like Jake at the end of the Gunslinger, my husband nodded and said, “Well go on and do your NaNo stuff then.” It’s not as good as “there are other worlds than this,” but it made me happy. And since I’m using Arwen’s 33 Days to Finish Your Novel course again I knew I’d need to start at least 33 days before NaNoWriMo. I really do love using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey to outline.
So here I am, preparing for NaNoWriMo once again. Only this year, I know so much more than I did the previous years… with each passing year I learn more about myself as a writer. I’ve learned more about writing, outlining, pantsing, branding oneself, the writing community, editing videos, taking pictures, planning and using a bullet journal, what works best in my Writer’s Bible, and what I need in order to survive NaNoWriMo. Not that I don’t aim to write between 1000-2000 words per day during the rest of the year, but there is something about NaNoWriMo and the various writing communities that pushes you do do more, to try new things, to expand your horizons, and to get your ass in the chair every day and WRITE! And the planning community, especially the bullet journal community has given me such great ideas for how to plan out things in my Writer’s Bible and Writer Bullet Journal.
When I first talked to Jonel Imutan about making me a Writer’s Bible, a TN specifically for my writer stuff, I knew I wanted something unique, functional, and that fit me. I told her what I wanted, and left it up to her which style of typewriter to engrave on the front, and how to coordinate the colors, and once it was done I got to name it–Shakespeare. Thought I’d have named it something from a Stephen King novel, huh? Nope. Though I love King’s works, and he’ll always be my favorite and he’s a genius, there’s something about Shakespeare that has always spoken to me.
I have done numerous videos that have featured Shakespeare (my Writer’s Bible), and over time it has become even more supple and pliable, more functionable because I’ve learned what works best for me, and it’s always subject to change if I find that something isn’t working.
Inside my Writer’s Bible, the first notebook is the Midori A5 Grid Notebook that I’m using for my Writer Bullet Journal. I printed what you see on the cover, which I found on Pinterest. I love what it says: Punch Today in the Face. Some days you just have to do that… and I know there will definitely be days during November when I am going to feel like punching something in the face. 😀 Don’t get me wrong, NaNoWriMo is awesome, but it’s chaotic. I’ve tried pantsing during NaNoWriMo, writing by the seat of my pants, and I failed. I love the idea of pantsing…of writing intuitively with no outline, just writing, but I was flailing around like a fish on land by the middle of November when I did that. Since then I’ve been working on the method of planning that works best for me. It feels like I’ve found it–using Tarot and the Hero’s Journey, Arwen’s method specifically, has really helped me find my groove with outlining. I used it last year and I’m using it again this year. I’ve also tried the Save the Cat method, along with a few others.
On the inside, the cover page, I pasted a picture that I got from NaNoWriMo 2015 for inspiration… it reminds me of what I’m supposed to be doing… WRITING, plus it has fun things in the picture like Coffee, Pens, Ink, a Notebook…and let’s not forget my Coffee magnet bookmark. I love how this picture makes me feel. So below is a gallery I created of the rest of the inside of my Writer Bullet Journal. I hope you enjoy looking at the pictures. It’s still a work in progress though.. and I made a few boo boo’s… but overall I like it. I can live with the mistakes, it just gives my Writer Bullet Journal character. 😀
Next is the Index, and then the Future log. Nothing complicated about either of those. I have been working on this new Writer Bullet Journal since September 20th and so far I’ve gotten a few things done, but there’s still much more that I need to work on. I’m trying to stay organized. There’s so much to keep up with that I had to get organized if I want to get things done, especially if I want to be efficient. It’s about working smarter not harder.
The next notebook in my Writer’s Bible is the “new shiny ideas” notebook for writing. If I get an idea about a character, a novel, a scene but I’m not sure it goes in the current WIP then I write it down in this notebook.
And here is the third notebook in my Writer’s Bible.
The first page is my NaNo Prep YT video list
And the next page is the NaNo Prep Blog Post List:
And the last notebook in my Writer’s Bible. Its a Clairefontaine notebook and I use it as my Writer Journal. I write down how my writing or outlining is going. What I think, etc.. The pages are wonderful for fountain pens. 😀
And last but not least, is my Writer Notebook. It is where I write out what I’ve learned from using the outlining method. I am not sure of where I got this notebook. I believe it might have been Walmart. I love the paper for writing. And I love that the pages are sectioned by different colors, and that at the top it has a little section where you can either write the date or the page number. I’ve chosen to write the page numbers.
And that’s it… at least for now. I have a lot of work to do this afternoon and this evening to write down what I learned about the Call to Adventure. I go back through my notes from my Writer Bullet Journal and then summarize it in the Writer Notebook.
Links to some of the things I’ve mentioned are below. Note:
**This post contains some affiliate links. In plain English, this means that I might receive a small commission (this doesn’t cost you anything) if you subscribe or purchase something through some of the links I’ve provided. You will never see me post a link to a product or service that I haven’t used myself and love!**
Do you blame Roland for the deaths in Tull? Yes and no, Roland knew that if he stayed, even though he had ample opportunity to leave, that it wouldn’t end well, but he stayed to face it head on–that’s his nature at this point in the story. Was there another way or were the events predestined? He could have left. “Why would I feel bad?” he told Brown. Does his lack of compassion over the killing change anything? I don’t think he is void of compassion. I think he feels things he just doesn’t let his feelings stop him from doing what the things is right.
Chapter 2 Questions:
What do you think about the High Speech? What do you think it means to Roland–Past and Present? I think the High Speech connects him with his past, with his father and the face of his father, so to speak–connects him with what he’s about–his quest. High Speech is also a reminder that the world has moved on. “It is not your place to be moral,” his father says. “Morals may always be beyond you.” I disagree with that, but understand why his father said it… he believes that this will make Roland formidable–a force to be reckoned with because when it is required for Roland to put his morals aside to do what must be done he will be able to do so.
What do you think about the flashbacks Roland has of his world before it moved on? It’s important as backstory. It’s also important because it helps keep Roland on task, for good or bad. When Roland first starts his quest as a Guslinger his view is romantic, but as you read further on you realize that now Roland feels that his quest is required… he is the last Gunslinger.
Discuss Roland’s boyhood teacher and mentor Cort–What kind of man was Cort? How does Roland feel about Cort now? Cort is an asshole. One tough son of a bitch. He’s a warrior, tried and true, tough as nails, and lacks compassion. Everything is a lesson to Cort, and he is a hardcore teacher because he has to be. Roland hears Cort in his head, when he needs to less his romantic tendencies I think he thinks of Cort’s teachings when he needs reassurance. I also believe that Cort was such an asshole because he had to be in order to train future gunslingers–tough loe.
Why do you think Roland clings to the traditions from Mid-World, from before the world moved on? Love, honor, duty, loyalty… The world and traditions of Mid-World are similar to King Arthur, his knights, and Camelot. I’d cling to those traditions as well, especially since the new world doesn’t seem to be one where qualities like loyalty, duty, and honor take precedence.
“While you travel with the boy, the man in black travels with your soul?” What do you think about the prophecy? Roland is given this prophecy repeatedly, even though he believe it he brings Jake along. Do you think it’s Roland’s singular vision, or that he believe the prophecy to be predestined made the prophecy come true? Roland has already started caring about “the boy.” He knows as soon as he meets Jake that it’s important, and that it won’t end well, but he keeps Jake with him. I think the Prophecy is one more thing that Roland believes is predestined, but it’s actually Roland’s choice. Just like in Tull. He is the only one who can choose, he can change his fate, destiny…
“The man in black fled across the desert, and the gunslinger followed.” That first line! Who is the man in black? Why is he in the desert? Why is the gunslinger following the man in black? Who is the gunslinger? Talk about a first line that hooks the reader… my favorite first line ever, well, except for maybe these two:
A screaming comes across the sky. —Thomas Pynchon, Gravity’s Rainbow (1973)
You better not never tell nobody but God.—Alice Walker, The Color Purple
The first line of the Gunslinger grabbed me the first time I read it back in the late 80’s, and then the second time I read it in the early to mid 2000’s, and again now. I want to know what happens next. Who they are. Why they’re in the desert. And why the gunslinger (who we don’t know is Roland until about 100 pages in) is following the man in black.
I love the Gunslinger, on a whole, and the actual character of the gunslinger–Roland of Gilead. In the beginning of the novel Roland is weary, isolated, suspicious, serious, and has a keen eye for detail. Roland is a bit of an anti-hero.
Roland’s quest: Roland is the last gunslinger, like a knight but Roland’s grail is the Dark Tower. In order to save his world, as well other worlds, he believes that he needs to reach the Dark Tower and climb to the very top of it in order to talk to the god or demon that resides there. Mid-World, Roland’s world, is unraveling and the beams are breaking, the fabric of reality is changing because of this, and Roland has to find a way to save all worlds. Roland doesn’t know where the Dark Tower is, he just knows he has to complete his task.
King’s writing style compared to his other works is quite a bit different. The Dark Tower series is more fantasy, western, and a bit of sci-fi, with a little horror. Much of King’s other works are more horror/thriller, though some of his books I find more along the line of thriller. King is a natural storyteller, and that comes out no matter which book of his you’re reading. It’s one of my favorite things about King’s writing–I always get sucked in to the world of the book.
Walter O’Dim. The man in black is the antagonist, the “bad guy.” I won’t say much else at this point because of spoilers… except the black clothes are symbolic of the good versus evil element of the story… is the gunslinger, symbolic of good… protect and serve, and the man in black is bad, wearing all black, we don’t know who he is, or what he really looks like…he’s the man in black, hiding behind his robes.
My favorite part so far are the descriptions, and details like “Hey Jude” playing, and as hard as Roland tried to hide it, to bury it, he’s a romantic at heart. My least favorite part so far is that I am having a hard time not spoiling anything for those of you who haven’t read it.
I decided a week ago, or so, to re-read the Dark Tower series because the movie is coming out and I always like to read the books first–well, with the exception of a few, like The Game of Thrones, and a few others. Today I started looking for discussion questions for the books and found this blog post. They started their “Epic Dark Tower Read-along” on September 1, 2012. Great minds think alike, or synchronicity. 😀 I think it’s both.
In preparation for the upcoming event I started making my own insert for the project. I wanted an insert to go in my Jonelfish Traveler’s Notebook, with my other project inserts, so I can keep up with things. Organization. Planning. Thinking ahead… that whole thing. So I created my own DIY insert, complete my own rendition of Michael Whelan’s picture of the Dark Tower… I realize mine is NO where near as beautiful as his, but I love his work for the Dark Tower series so much I was inspired.
I am really excited about the project, but after doing a bit more research I’ve found that many consider “The Eyes of the Dragon” to be the prelude to the Dark Tower series, and the short story “Little Sisters of Eluria (which is in Everything’s Eventual) to be book 0.5. That means that I’m going to be re-reading both of those over the next week so that I can have them finished by the 1st of September, which is when I start re-reading “The Gunslinger.”
None of this hurts my feelings. I love the world of the Dark Tower… King’s Omni-Verse. I get to delve back into the world of the Dark Tower series. Submersed in the actual books from the Dark Tower series, as well as books that are connected to the series. Books like: Salem’s Lot, The Shining, Doctor Sleep, Cell, Bag of Bones, Black House, The Talisman, Cell, Cujo, Desperation, Dreamcatcher, From a Buick 8, Hearts in Atlantis, Insomnia, It, The Stand, Lisey’s Story, The Mist, Needful Things, Pet Semetary, The Regulators, Rose Madder, The Stand, and many of his short stories.
So off I go into Stephen King Land, into the world(s) of the Dark Tower. I’ll be writing posts at least once a week. Some of the posts will include discussion questions and answers, others will include my thoughts…