How to Use Dreamstory Cards to Create Compelling Characters

As an author, one of your most important tasks is to create believable, compelling characters that your readers will care about. But coming up with original, fleshed-out characters can be tough—especially if you're struggling with writer's block. Sometimes it can be hard to think of new ideas for your characters. That's where Dreamstory cards come in.

Dreamstory cards are a deck of cards that has pictures of different characters. These characters can be used for storytelling.Examples include the empress, the scholar, the merchant, and the bard. Using these cards can help jumpstart your character development process and give you some much-needed inspiration.

How to Use Dreamstory Cards

Step 1: Shuffle the deck of cards and lay them out in front of you.

Step 2: Ask yourself a question about the character you want to create. If you have a vague idea, you might ask “What's my character's favorite hobby?” or “What do they do for work?” If you want to get to know them on a deeper level, you might ask, “What is most important to my character?” or “What are they running from?”

Step 3: Now, draw a card and examine it. The card will give you some clues about your own character. For example, if you draw the Empress card, your character might be someone who is regal and commanding. Perhaps they are certain about what they want and won't listen to advice. If you draw the Scholar card, your character might be intelligent and studious. Perhaps their head is in the clouds and they don't know how to deal with the real world. There are many sides to every card. Find the side that sheds light on your character.

Step 4: Draw another card or two and meditate on what they mean with respect to your character. Drawing “The House of Love” might mean that your character is very loving, or that they desire love greatly. Maybe their focus is love. Or maybe they've rejected it, Ebeneezer Scrooge style, because they're terrified of being vulnerable. Only you know the answers to this.

If you draw a color, such as orange, imagine your character's reaction to the color, and how they might incorporate it in their day. Would they put an orange flower in their hair? Stop and look at orange leaves falling from a tree? Carve a pumpkin with their kids? Maybe they like to sit in front of a fire and read by the orangey glow of the flames.

Step 5: Once you have a general idea of who your character is, flesh out the details. What's their backstory? What motivates them? What are their fears and hopes? The more specific you can be, the better.

Step 5: Give your character a name and a face. If you're having trouble coming up with a name, try looking up baby names online or in baby name books. As for their face, you can either find a picture that represents your character or use your imagination.

Step 6: Congratulations! You've just created a new, fully-fledged character using Dreamstory cards. Wasn't that easy? Repeat steps 1 through 5 until you have all the characters you need for your story.


If you're struggling to come up with believable, compelling characters for your story, try using Dreamstory cards. This deck of cards features archetypal images that can help jumpstart your character development process. By shuffleing the deck and examining each card, you can start to get a general idea of who your character is and what motivates them. From there, it's simply a matter of giving them a name and a face and fleshing out the details until you have a fully-formed character that's ready to take center stage in your story. So why not give it a try? Who knows—you may find yourself surprised by how much fun character development can be.