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 bird’s nest
A broken tree top
A crumbled cliff face
Flooding caused by a beaver dam…
A decorated cake upside down on the floor (fallen)
A store sign crashing to the ground
A church confessional
Crumbling landmarks (statues, iconic historical sites/buildings, etc)…
These are just a few examples of things one might associate with A Fall From Grace. Some are more powerful than others. An abandoned, crumbling mansion is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a fallen nest may not foreshadow a fall from grace 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.
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.
Thanks everyone for the comments. I like this one especially because I think often we need to show when our characters fail.
Shannon, you’re awesome!
Kathyrn, haha, good catch! I totally miseed that! All fixed now!
I love these lists!
Shannon O'Donnell says
Hello again! I have an award for you today! 🙂
Helen Ginger says
Great list. Sometimes the first idea that comes to mind is not the best one. It’s good to remember that there is a long list of ideas to choose from.
Straight From Hel
Great symbolism, Angela! I love the picture of the old barn..I guess it goes with “a fall from grace”, but painting old falling-down barns is a special love of mine.
Jana Hutcheson says
Great post! Thanks for the insight!
Bish Denham says
Oh my. Just reading the entries makes me feel sad for the fallen.
The Gaelic Wordsmith says
Just wanted to post my appreciation for your blog. It’s obvious that you put a lot of time and effort into it and love to help other writers. Thanks!
Kirsten Lesko says
Oh, I love it! The symbolism ones always help me so much.
Shannon O'Donnell says
There are some powerful examples here, Angela. I especially like the polluted rivers, clear-cut logging sites, dock pilings, and parking lot pavement examples. Thanks! 🙂