Writing Tricks – That Time I Used Rummy Cards To Tell a Story

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Ah, Christmas time. Now that it is passed, I can try to take out the best part – gifts excluded –  of these holidays. Here in Italy, Christmas means huge meals, parents gathering, kitsch decorations and… card games! I know it could sound strange talking about that topic right now, but keep reading this article and you’ll discover why I decided to focus on card games.

It all started during a boring Machiavelli session. Elena was next to me and she had noticed something funny happened when every player was discarding a card. With a bit of imagination, following the flow of discarded cards, you could create a story.

“Once upon a time there was a King who married a Queen. She was very rich and pretty, while he was ugly but in love.” Elena said.

She took elements considering the cards. The first one was a King of Hearts, the second a Queen of Diamonds. So Elena decided to characterize the king as an ugly but in love man, and the queen as a beautiful rich woman. Once this set was created, telling the story was even easier than expected.

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Once the game ended – I lost as usual – I proposed to play a different kind of game. I put the deck on the middle of the table and I invited every player to pick a card and try to tell a story considering all the cards already picked.

This is the story that came out from that experiment:

Once upon a time there were two young princes who were wandering the world in search of fortune. One of the two princes was always looking for beautiful women to fall in love with, while the latter was a hard worker. After many troubles they got married and the one who was always looking for beautiful women understood the importance of working hard, while the second one – once found the love of his life – understood that life is not necessarily work.

Ok, that is just a silly story, an experiment we did to have fun all together. But try to think what would happen if we give a particular meaning to each card in the deck. Think what would happen if we put characters we know inside cards: a constantly remixed story.

This thing has fascinated me so much that I’m seriously considering buying a deck of tarot cards to write stories or to draw inspiration. If I had to seriously write something with this method, I would publish it here so you can read it and I could compare the results with you.

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I know many famous authors used this trick to write their stories or poems. Some of them used to play chess, or tarots or other kinds of games to find inspiration for short stories or novels. What do you think about this method, have you ever tried it?

Mendes

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