The Writer's Process: Mapping Out An Emotional Journey

I spent a good chunk of my meal hour at the day job writing out a scene in the latter half of my WIP. The MC has begun feeling detached and withdrawn, at least emotionally. It could be that Zhar comes to life a little more in the process of rewriting from my notes.
But something felt... not exactly off, I guess. Given events thus far, I don't think I would fault my MC for being slightly detached or emotionally withdrawn. But I needed some clarity and some structure to what is going on.

So, since I did spreads at the beginning, I decided it was only fitting to do another this evening.
This time I used a layout spread called "The Bow" to help me get a feel for the main character's emotional journey throughout the second half of the story. Not because I don't know where things are going, but because I wanted to pinpoint the things that need focus in order to maintain authenticity, to keep the reader engaged. Not that I don't know, but my knowledge tends to remain internalized and intuitive, and this was intended to help me get it out where I could see it.
I really would rather not write blind. It's far from pleasant. Much like a dental exam or tooth extraction.

The Bow Spread
  1. The Target, at the far right and represents the significator, in this case the issue and what it's about.
  2. The Bow, in the very center in the above illustration. It indicates the focal point, the heart of the situation.
  3. The Conscious Limb, the upper arm of the weapon. It is the analytical process at work.
  4. The Spiritual Limb, the lower arm. It embodies the emotional elements present in the reading, what the character feels about the situation.
  5. The String, the second card from the left. It is the energy or momentum of the situation.
  6. The Fletchings is the point of balance, guiding the solution.
  7. The Arrowhead, the card touched by the tip of arrow in the above illustration. It represents the intent which, aimed at the problem, is the means by which the individual may come to terms with the issue. Indicates the outcome.
This isn't a layout I do very often, but it seemed suited to the situation in the story and fit the characters. So I went with it. And here's what I got. (Yes, this will be in the notebook. Along with long-winded details that I won't bore you with here!)
Zhar's Emotional Journey

  1. The Journey (13) - the dance of death, purification by fire, facing the inevitable.
  2. The Guardian (15) - a complex challenge/opportunity has presented itself; take control of fears and manage insecurity with courage and integrity.
  3. The Blasted Oak (16) - curative destruction, clean break, rising from the ashes of destruction.
  4. Six of Stones, Exploitation - selfish or foolish overuse of nonsustainable resources, an imbalance that is damaging to self and environment (whether that's other individuals, physical world, etc.).
  5. Eight of Stones, Skill - intense concentration and dedication, self-discipline.
  6. Seven of Stones, Healing - inner rest and rejuvenation, self-forgiveness.
  7. Two of Vessels, Attraction - polaric bond, opposition and attraction; the potential that creates the foundation of deep and lasting attraction.

And... Yep. I swear I didn't rig this. Shuffled thrice, cut once, and dealt. Just like I always do.
I'll be spending the greater part of the morning working through the implications and nuances of this reading before I dive back into the heavy lifting involved in writing the second half. Partly because I want to be completely in tune with Zhar on an emotional level, and partly because I'm heading off to the local library for a little unplugged one-on-one "write-out" session for a few hours on Monday afternoon. Here's hoping it keeps me focused. Here's hoping I don't twitch at the lack of music!


  1. Well doesn't that just fit perfectly!

  2. @Amara ... A little too much so almost? I try not to let them freak me out when they do this, and just take it as an indication that I'm doing the story and characters justice.


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