In addition to writing, I have also developed a deck of cards for helping writers and gamers brainstorm story and character ideas, called Story Forge.
Story Forge is a deck of 88 cards packed with plot twists, reversals of fortune, character archetypes, all the dramatic elements that great stories are built from. They come in five suits, Fate, Identity, Wealth, Emotion, and Will, depicting major areas of life. Each card has two names that represent two aspects of the same idea, depending on the orientation of the card.
The cards are laid out in a tarot-like formation called a spread. Each position in the spread represents a key aspect of your character or story, and the meanings of the cards are the specific manifestation of that aspect. It's a lot more intuitive than it sounds, and you will soon see for yourself.
When I started SpliceFire, I already had a pretty good idea who my main characters were and what they were about. I had also assembled a solid cast of supporting players, including the various members of the Gordian Net. But they were a little... one dimensional. They needed more depth, more definition, a sense of having lived a real life before strutting out onto the stage. And that is where Story Forge cards really shine!
Alex Reyes, the stalwart leader of the Gordian Net and owner of Club Shatter, was a central enough character that I used the full Character Creation spread which details out that characters life including their parents, their formative years, and the key events that lead to them becoming who they are at the beginning of the story. For the remaining characters I used the simpler Character Quick Pick spread, adding just enough detail to breathe life into them.
For each character, I dealt cards at random into the spread configuration, then thought about what each card implicated in the context of its specific position in the spread, listening to what it suggests to me about that person. If that card didn't fit with my conception of the character I was working on, I'd just flip the card to reverse its orientation, or throw new cards until I got one I liked. Once I was happy with the portrait the cards were showing me, I wrote up a short bio, and referred back to it occasionally to give them a consistent, believable depiction.
Follow the links below to see the results I got with the cards, and the way I interpreted the cards as a backstory. If you are interested in learning more about Story Forge Cards, just head over to the the official website for demo videos and more.