In a tarot deck, the sixth card of the major arcana in the deck is that of the lovers. This card usually represents love and marriage to the first time glancers of the cards, but in all the card represents the complexities and risks that come into play with relationships. Usually, the image on the card displays that of a happy couple, who are both have the give and takes of relationships such as attraction and opposition and it implies an ongoing cycle of conflict and reconciliation. The card as a symbol represents that of choice.
As many of you know, or you may not know, that from time to time I use tarot in my writing, and I figured while this month is being dedicated to romance, that I would showcase the lovers card and how we can use what it represents in our writing.
Just as it was mentioned above we have the complexities of what goes into a relationship such as that of attraction and opposing views that we find in everyday relationships. How we use the attraction and the opposing views of our characters is how we can create the tension that is needed for our romantic couple since this is one of the keys that is needed in a good romance novel. There has to be a tension between them. If we take the case of Beauty and the Beast, the tension comes in that he has to get over being a selfish and spoiled prince for that got him turned into the beast that he is in the first place. Yes, I know we had the strange begging woman that came to the castle and she was actually a beautiful enchantress, but still, he was very selfish and did not let the poor women come in and get warm by the fire. If he had then maybe he wouldn’t have been turned into the beast and then he would have never met the fair Bell, and we wouldn’t have the story. Let’s not undo our stories, shall we?
Now granted the tension that is faced in Romeo and Juliet is not that with one or the other, but with their feuding families, who had been warned numerous times to get along our they would have to pay the consequences, which they did. There are many things that can create tension for lovers and how you use or create the tension is the fun part for us as writers. We must balance the tension with the rest of the action of the story while giving our lovers time to find out about each other.
Also, I did mention that the card was also a symbol of choice, and that is true for think about it did Romeo have to seek out Juliet? No, he didn’t but he did and that was where the problems lie in the story. In any relationship that we enter into there is a choice element and if we chose not to enter a relationship then we lose part of the story that is possible, but just as we have to make smart choices so do our characters. Unless you feel necessary to give your character the flaw of always making the wrong choices then that is up to you but sooner or later they will have to make a right choice so that you can end the cycle of abuse that you have put your character through.
Relationships are many things for they are conflicted, choices that we must make and there is a risk element involved. Was there a clear risk for Romeo being with Juliet? Yes, there was he could have been killed by his family if they ever found out that she was with him. While on the other hand, I don’t see his family killing a young girl unless they were really that cruel but again it was more her family taking him out back and doing away with him. Plus, he killed one of her family members, which wouldn’t have gone over so well either and it didn’t. But either way, the picture was not looking that great for poor Romeo. Yes, he was a love-hungry fool and he jumped from one girl to the next and both were from the same family (Awkward).
Yes, at some point, this month, I will do a whole post on Romeo and Juliet but for now, I will leave with you the thought that we should have fun making our characters and the tension/choices that we through at them.
Reading Update: I’m currently on page 111 out of 309 pages in Edith Wharton’s novel The Age of Innocence. My first thoughts about this novel are that you get a clear overview of how New York Society was in the 1870’s as well as much about the taboos of the day and age. I’m really enjoying the book and for most of it is a fast read, I just have already found myself asking will it pick up. Granted, I’ve already found characters that I really don’t like or agree with in the book such as the main character’s mother, for she seems to want certain standards to be upheld in society and she wishes that her son would share her views much like his sister, Janey, does. But on the whole, he is already thinking about his future and how it will be once he gets married and thinks that it will be a rather dull affair, and for the most part based on how the society was at the time, he is perfectly correct. These are just first thoughts about the book.