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?
Large herds of cattle
*Not all of these are ‘true nature’, but they would be seen in a more rural setting vs a populated area so I included them here
Private groups and societies
Travel brochures to exotic locals
First class setting
Trendy bars, oyster bars, martini cars
High end clubs
Professional sports teams/players
Merchandise locked behind glass
Resorts, Club Med, etc
Business men and women in power suits
Brand names (Prada, Macy’s, Armani, etc)
Downtown monuments, icon landmarks
Expensive shoes or watches
These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Wealth. Some are more powerful than others. A show room of fine sports cars at a Bentley dealership is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a gold watch or manicured nails may not foreshadow wealth on their own. Let the story’s tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
Angela is a writing coach, international speaker, and bestselling author who loves to travel, teach, empower writers, and pay-it-forward. She also is a founder of One Stop For Writers, a portal to powerful, innovative tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
Julie Musil says
Wow! What a great post. Thanks!
Lisa and Laura says
This is a wonderful reminder and the comments are fabulous as well. Thanks!
Erica Chapman says
Very cool! I like these – you rule, Have a great weekend ;o)
Kirsten Lesko says
Your symbolism entries help me so much – symbolism is a weakness of mine & you help me get into the mind frame to dream up some of my own.
Shelli (srjohannes) says
thanks for the follow 🙂
this is so great!! SO HELPFUL for all writers!!
thanks for sharing!! 😀
PJ Hoover says
Love the symbolism entries! it’s the small things like vineyard that make a difference.
Deb Salisbury says
Love this entry. I need to share, so I’m linking back to you. 🙂
Thanks for the add, Bish!
*waves at Stina*
Ralfast, you are exactly right! Culture has a huge influence on displaying wealth, as does ‘old money and new’, ‘youth vs maturity’, etc. Thanks for posting–these are great points to keep in mind.
Wealth is one of those things that varies widely between societies and eras.
For example, in Japan, wealth can be measured by how much space you actually own, since most people live in cramped apartments in and around cities. So empty space shows off how much actual wealth you have, since you can acquire and leave it as is which is something most people can’t afford to do.
Also there is a difference between the new rich and the landed gentry or old wealth. The first will tend to go out of their way to show off their new found wealth with conspicuous consumption and display (gold, large home and expensive cars) while old wealth will be more subtle yet try to impress the age, the status and position that the wealth secures.
Stina Lindenblatt says
Brilliant as usual!
Bish Denham says
Excellent! I also see golden fields of wheat, rainbows (and the pot of gold at the end)as symbolic of wealth.