Day 24 of the 30-Day Tarot Writing Challenge: Rewards and Scars

Alright, CampNaNoWriMoers, we are on Day 24 out of 30. Home stretch! Almost, any way. Six more days until our novel is done, or at least our goal is done. How have you done so far?

So far in the 30-Day Tarot Writing Challenge we’ve shaken your Antagonist to say the least during the climax. You might still be working on it, and that’s alright. This spread is to give you a direction to aim to after the climax. This spread is all about the reward.

In Mapping the Hero’s Journey with Tarot, Arwen Lynch writes,

‘The Hero has been through hell. He’s answered the call even though he didn’t want to. His mentor kicked his butt while forcing him to see that he did have what it takes. He’s taken that step that means he can never be the same person he was before. He’s passed tests and made friends and identified enemies. He’s walked right up to Death. He’s defeated his own biggest fear. He needs a cookie’ (p. 81).

While this spread is going to identify the reward, it’s also going to identify the baggage that comes with it. One doesn’t simply go through a really hard time without experiencing some residual pains. In romances these might be trust issues, or security issues, in an action/adventure it might be a form of PTSD, in a mystery it might be career ramifications, etc.

So while we are going to look at the ‘cookie’ your MC gets, we’re also going to look at the scar they also got.

The Spread

You’ve most likely been using one card to represent your MC this whole time. This will be the last time you use that card as a signifier. Remember, that after the climax of the story, your MC will have change should have grown, and thus, your Signifier will reflect that in the future.

But for now, use the one you’ve been using up to yet.

Card 1: The Reward

This card represents the prize for having completed the task. This could be a lesson, this could be a physical thing, or this could be growth.

Card 2: The Cost

Card 2 crosses Card 1, as it represents the cost of the MC in order to gain that reward. If you go on to write a follow-up book, this might make for a good theme or thing to overcome. This is something that the MC will carry with them.

Card 3: The Change

Similar to the Cost, Card 3 represents how facing the Antagonist has changed the MC. The difference is that while the Cost might be a person, an object, a situation that might be regrettable, the Change is the thing within the MC that has caused them to grow or has injured them. This can be either for the better or for the worse.

Card 4: The Scar

Again, while this might seem like the Change and/or the Cost, the Scar is what actually has damaged the MC and will stay with them for years to come. This can either be a physical wound which might leave them with a limp or without a limb, or this can be an emotional or mental scar that will take time to get over.

Scars are important to the deepening of a character. If a character goes through a horrendous ordeal and comes out unscathed, there’s something unbelievable about that character. Likewise, something along these lines is good to consider when you’re Developing Your Character as well.

Card 5: The Evolution

Card 5 represents what your MC has evolved into as a result. This is basically going to equate to the sum of the four cards before it. So when you are considering and interpreting this card, consider the Reward, the Cost, the Change, and the Scar, compiled all to be moulded into Card 5.


This spread is meant to have some considerable time spent with it. You should really be putting in the reflection to see where your character has come from and what new character has emerged as a result. This is meant to be a difficult spread, but it will yield your own reward on your novel-writing journey.

If you want to deepen the outcome of the spread, add all your cards together and reduce to a number that is less than 21, and consider the corresponding Major Arcana.

For example, if your reading went along the lines of

  • Card 1: 4 of Swords (4)
  • Card 2: Page of Pentacles (11, the card after a 10)
  • Card 3: The Hierophant (reversed) (5)
  • Card 4: 9 of Swords (9)
  • Card 5: 2 of Cups (2)

then you would add 4 + 11 + 5 + 9 + 2 = 31. 31 is bigger than 21, so we need to reduce it by adding 3 + 1 = 4. 4 in the Major Arcana represents the Emperor. Thus, you would consider the Emperor in terms of your MC.

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    1. Oh my goodness thank YOU for writing the book!! It was a fantastic read! I absolutely adore it! Thank you for checking out my spread. I have to say, your book inspired this challenge, so thank you, so much.

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