Every day we interact with objects, places and sensations that affect the way we think and feel. This can be used to the writer’s advantage by planting symbols in the reader’s path to reinforce a specific message, feeling or idea.
Look at the setting and the character’s state of mind, and then think about what you want the reader to see. Is there a descriptive symbol or two that works naturally within the scene to help foreshadow an event or theme, or create insight into the character’s emotional plight?
A fallen tree
A dead (standing) tree
Rotten tree stump
A bleached skull…
Passing a roadside shrine (cross, plastic flowers, etc)
A burned out light
A condemned building…
These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Death. Some are more powerful than others. A hearse driving by your MC as she walks home from work is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a bitter winter wind ripping at your MC’s clothes and freezing her cheeks may not foreshadow death on its own.Let the story’s tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
Symbolism is a universal language that can add great depth and meaning to your story.
So you can reap the full benefit of this powerful tool, we’ve expanded the entire collection by 70% and integrated it into our online library at One Stop For Writers. Each entry comes with a long list of ideas for symbols and motifs, and we’ve included popular symbolism examples from literature and movies, as well. These entries have also been cross-referenced for easy searchability across all our other thesauri. To see a free sample of the updated Symbolism and Motif Thesaurus along with our other collections, pop on over and register at One Stop.