Day 21 of 30-Day Tarot Writing Challenge: Demise of the Antagonist

Happy Day 21 of Camp NaNoWriMo! 3 weeks today! I can’t tell if it’s gone quickly or if it’s slogged on. I think it depends on if it’s before or after I look at my word count.

Table of Contents:

You might be letting out a sigh of relief—I’m not suggesting we kill off or get rid of any other beloved characters. Now we’re just focusing on the Antagonist’s downfall.

Unless you’re intending to write a tragedy (which absolutely more power to you—they ain’t easy!), it’s assumed that your MC is going to succeed in the end. Thus, it means that in some way, at least a little bit, your Antagonist must have a downfall. Now, I say just a little bit because you might be after a series carrying on with the Antagonist and I do not want to step on any toes there.

As we draw closer to the Climax (the spread for which will be on Tuesday), we need to start preparing for how it’s going to happen. It makes for easier outlining, I find, which is why I’m prepping us with these demise-spreads.

The Spread

There are a few steps for this, which I’ll walk you through.

Step 1: Mix Reversals Evenly

First of all, you want to make sure that your cards are good and shuffled. Not only that, but you want to make sure a good portion of them are reversed, more than usual. Because this is for a writing prompt, I want you to make sure this is equally half and half.

I usually go through, right all the already reversed cards, then divide the deck into two equal piles. Once I’ve done that, I simply turn one of the piles so the cards are reversed and begin shuffling the two piles together.

Step 3: Find Your Signifier

Now that your cards are equally reversed and up-right, have a look through them to find the card that represents your Antagonist to act as your signifier.

If your signifier is up-right, then your MC will only seemingly succeed at the climax of the book. The Antagonist will still have enough strength to attempt ruin on the MC again a little later in the story. If the signifier is reversed, then the Antagonist is defeated on the first time. There is a catch to this. The catch is that it does mean your climax will have to be that much more nail-biting in order to make the solitary attempt worth only the one attempt.

Step 3: The Spread

Card 1: The Scene

This will represent what’s going on at the time of the demise, whether it was something that the Antagonist orchestrated and fails at, or if it’s something out of the blue.

Card 2: Secret Weapon

The Antagonist has something that the MC isn’t aware, and this card tells what it is. This could be a logistical trick, it could be an aspect of a pre-existing weapon or power that is revealed for the first time.

Card 3: The Weakness

Card 3 represents the weakness that the Antagonist has which is exploited, which leads to their demise. This might be an ongoing character weakness, or it can just be an opportunistic opening.

Card 4: Position of the MC

At the time of the demise, your MC might be in a position of power, might be in a weakened position. This card will tell you the state of your MC when they go to face the Antagonist.

Cards 5, 6, & 7: The Event

Unlike the demise of the Mentor and the Sidekick, the Antagonist gets three cards to explain the event. Usually this event is going to take place at the climax of the book, which means it has to be big. The more detail you can get in here, the better.

Read these three cards together to create a scene, or read them individually to create a frame-by-frame narrative.

Step 4: Yes–But–No–And–

Return to the Yes–But–No–And– exerces from Day 8, and use this to give greater detail to your event. This will help you find a try/fail cycle during the Antagonist’s defeat.

Move on to Day 22: Building the Climax

My Accountability

My Antagonist has always been signified by the 9 of Pentacles. I found her upright, which means that after this ‘defeat,’ she’ll rise again a second time within this novel.

Card 1: The Scene

I got the Knight of Cups reversed. I think that she’s going to be out on a ride. This isn’t a planned thing, this is something that just happen. However, there is a negative event which happens on this horseride—someone falls, upsets her, etc. I haven’t decided what though.

Card 2: The Secret Weapon

The thing that she has is the 4 of Wands. This is a difficult one, because it’s a positive card. However, during her first display of power, she shows how well-liked she is to the towns people. I think that a celebration that’s being held in her honor, perhaps say a birthday celebration or something, she uses to her advantage.

Card 3: The Weakness

Oh wonderful. She also has a thing for the MC, and that the Page of Pentacles I have also used to associate with my MC (along with the 8 of Pentacles). So, that weakness is the MC himself. I think this then makes for an inner conflict as to how to handle him, and that is what makes her weak, at least for a moment, if nothing else.

Card 4: Position of the MC

I had to laugh at this. The card I drew for how the MC meets his Mentor was the 2 of Coins. The Card I drew for the lessons he would take with him at the time of the Mentor’s demise, was the 2 of Coins. And now, the position of the MC—is the 2 of Coins. So whatever it is that I decide the 2 of Coins represents, that’s going to be something that is regularly put to use—at least in the second half of the story.

Card 5, 6, & 7: The Event

I got the King of Wands, the Ace of Pentacles reversed and the 8 of Pentacles reversed. I don’t have this one figured out yet. However, what I do know, is that my MC fails. As I mentioned earlier, he’s generally represented by the 8 of Pentacles, and this card is not only reversed, but at the end of the line of cards which equate to the event.


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