Episode 62 – Expanding Creativity with Mythulu Creation Cards

In this episode Mark interviews Laura Shanae Crenshaw, a writer, a world-builder, a photographer, an all around creative person, and the creator of the Mythulu creation cards.

Mythulu Creation Cards

Prior to the interview, Mark shares a few details from last week’s Superstars Writers Seminars that stuck out to him, both writing and business-of-writing related activities as well as an unexpected pleasant personal experience.

He then talks about the audiobook panels he was on and mentions this episode’s sponsor, Findaway Voices. He shares that, in 2018, 6% of his writing income came from audio, and from sources well behind the major retailers for audiobooks (such as Audible, Apple, Kobo and Google).

During their chat, Mark and Laura discuss:

  • Laura’s unusual introduction into writing via imaginary stories from her older sister
  • The basic concept behind the Mythulu creativity enhancement tool that Laura created
  • Daniel Kahneman (author of “Thinking Fast and Slow”) and how his idea that the brain can only hold 6 ideas at a time led to the six packs in Laura’s deck
  • Filling a story with rich meaning instead of tropes and cliches
  • The archetypes used in the tool: Elements, Habitats, Characters, Relationships, Traits, and Textures
  • Examples of “Blood” as one of the 50 archetypical elements and the various interpretations associated with it
  • How research led to the creation of something a lot more complex than was laid out by Joseph Campbell in his mythological archetypes
  • Mark’s consideration of Laura’s reading of the deck as being similar to a Tarot reading
  • Examples of how a writer might use the deck to fill in details or answering outstanding questions
  • Laura’s passion for helping writers tell new stories and incorporate new ideas into their writing
  • The non-fiction book that Laura ghost-wrote/edited called “Neverboss: Great Leadership by Letting Go”
  • How Laura was introduced to and invited to Superstars Writing Seminars by James Owen
Mark and Laura at Superstars Writing Seminars

After the interview, Mark reminds listeners of their chance to win a copy of the Mythulu Creation Cards just by commenting on this episode at

The winner will be randomly drawn from all commenters, and patrons supporting the show via who leave a comment will get an additional bonus opportunity to win.

He then reflects on how Laura was welcomed in to the Superstars Writing Seminars Tribe, discusses the concept of that incredibly powerful “family” feeling at the conference, as well as elements of Love that go beyond notions of romantic love and are more about the beautiful way that people can connect to one another and support each other.

Links of Interest:

28 thoughts on “Episode 62 – Expanding Creativity with Mythulu Creation Cards”

  1. I love the idea of the mythulu cards. While I was listening to your interview my mind started spinning a story about a female moonshiner in Montana. I would love to see how the cards could enrich the story that is beginning to coalesce. Love the podcast, Mark. My daughter lives in Sudbury and I always feel a little frisson when you mention it. Take care… Shari

    1. Thanks, Shari. I’ll likely record an episode or a piece of an episode using the cards for a particular story that I need to flesh out, as just one example of the way the cards can be used in that way.

      And I have to admit, I’ll likely continue to mention Sudbury many times . . . my home town will always be in my blood. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  2. As always, a great episode! The concept of the cards is fascinating and makes my mind buzz with possibilities. Thanks for finding unique guests and sharing great content!

    1. Thank you, Laura. I’m pretty lucky in that many guests are people I’m fortunate enough to encounter as I move about the world. Meeting Laura at Superstars Writing Seminars and learning about these cool cards was a delightful surprise and a treat and something I’m glad I could share with other writers. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thank you, Tammy. I have also used Tarot cards in the past for coming up with story ideas during free-writing exercises. I’m certainly looking forward to exploring ways the Mythulu deck can help me explore more depth in the creations.

  3. Great podcast! I enjoyed this one…as I always do with every new podcast. Iโ€™m so appreciative of all of your info and guidance on writing/publishing. The cards sound so interesting! When Iโ€™m writing a novel, in later drafts I love layering in additional backstories, stories of minor characters, etc. Tge cards would be amazing to try out while writing my next fiction novel.
    Again, thank you for all of the great advice on your podcastโ€” and in your books!!!

    1. Well thank you, Stacey. Glad that you are enjoying the podcasts and the advice I share. Also glad you’re intrigued by potential use of these cards.

    2. Hi Stacey – Congratulations. You’re one of the winners of the prize deck of cards. Please email me at mark (at) markleslie (dot) ca and let me know where I can have the Mythulu deck shipped. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. That was another brilliant episode, thank you! I love the idea of using the Mythulu cards for turning initial ideas on their heads and producing something unexpected in our writing. Itโ€™s a fascinating concept.

    1. And a brilliant comment, too! Thanks, Derrick. So pleased you enjoy the content and the concept of the way these cards can help a writer explore.

    2. Congratulations, Derrick. You’re one of the winners of the Mythulu deck. Please email me at mark (at) markleslie (dot) ca to let me know where I can have your card deck shipped.

  5. Mark, I met Laura briefly at Superstars, but it was end of the night on the last day and she was talking with others, so I made it brief. Next time I hope to enlarge the circle of friends. I did see Laura’s cards while there, and one thing that the interview didn’t bring out is that the art on them is excellent, inspiring in its own right. Did Laura do her own artwork on those? Also, I was impressed with your podcast. Normally there’s a few word whiskers, umms and errrs as one gathers thoughts. You had none that I detected. Excellent public speaking! Thank you too, for all the good words about Superstars and the scholarship. I was only able to be there because of the scholarship, and I found the event just as much about supporting one another as it was about the business of writing. I have never experienced anything like this before in the seminars and cons I’ve attended. Superstars is truly one of a kind, and the only way a person can understand is to attend.

    1. Thank you, Wulf. I appreciate your kind comments on the “umms” or lack thereof. I know we all do that when speaking and I try my best to be conscious of them. I even actually edit a few of them out in the conversation (I find that, often in the early part of a conversation, before it turns into a natural flow, both the interviewer and the interviewee can have a bit higher incidence of “umms” in their speech. It usually lessens and the conversation warms up. So I do, where I can, cut some of them out.

      Delighted you came to Superstars on a scholarship.

      And thanks for mentioning the beautiful art. It was created by 112 artists from 31 countries. The artists were paid up front and also receive a small commission from each deck sale. (Got to love creators supporting creators)

      Here’s a link to where you can learn more about the artists.

  6. That was interesting – you could write a book (or lots of books) just by laying out the cards. I sometimes do something similar with
    post-its but that of course means I only can draw from what I wrote.
    Come to think about it, did not Bryan Eno create something similar for musicians?

    1. I love how there are so many different ways to spark creativity. Maybe there’s also something about the tactile experience of shuffling cards or sticky notes or moving them around in space that also gets those creative juices flowing.

      I wasn’t familiar with Bryan Eno’s creation, but I did a search and found info on his product (called “Oblique Strategies”), and, among other things, this interesting look at the original one he created….

  7. Fascinating and intriguing. At first, I was thinking ‘meh’ until she mentioned how each card came with an app for explanations and prompts. Learning how it ties into psychology makes this idea work for me – not just a random generator. Would love to see how you use the deck in your upcoming work. Thanks for the giveaway generosity.

    1. Thank you. I really appreciated the detailed research that Laura put into the cards. And I will most certainly share how I use the deck in forthcoming episodes.

  8. I think this is a great tool, especially if you’re feeling caught in the same patterning. Very smart idea for getting the ole brain to twist in a new way. Nice looking site too, Mark. ๐Ÿ˜‰
    Hmm, does Cthulhu ever materialize in these cards? Mythulu=Cthulhu?

    1. LOL. Thank you, Colleen. I imagine there was some careful consideration of the brilliant name of the deck that sounded familiar (I too immediately thought of Lovecraft when I heard the name) yet was fresh and new.

  9. Thanks for all the comments. The winners (yes, I said winners – I thought it’d be more fun to give away TWO prizes), have been selected – and announced in Episode 63. Congrats!

  10. Hi Mark, love the podcast. Just discovered it. I missed out on the giveaway of the Mythulu cards, so I thought Iโ€™d get them online. However, I discovered does not carry them and neither does Indigo. Ordering directly through them doubles the cost in US dollars. Do you have any knowledge of when these might be available in Canada?

    1. Hi Jim! Thanks. Glad you are enjoying the podcast. Sorry you missed the giveaway. I rarely ever order anything from Amazon/ca – I find it a second-class citizen compared to the much bigger and better catalog of – that’s where I ordered it from. (Of course, yes, shipping to Canada isn’t always that pretty)

    1. LOL – For sure. Of course, he might be saying that while lifting a glass of scotch to his lips. (So I type as I lift a glass of scotch to my own lips) ๐Ÿ˜‰

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