Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Loss

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?

In Nature:

A tree barren of leaves
An empty field
Forest Fire location

In Society:

Missing teeth
An empty vessel (cup, bowl, etc)
Funeral homes

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Loss. Some are more powerful than others. A Funeral home is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a single red poppy may not foreshadow loss 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.

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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, an online library packed with powerful tools to help writers elevate their storytelling.
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19 Responses to Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Loss

  1. Heather says:

    I love symbolism when it’s used well! It can be very powerful and add something extra to the story.

  2. Marcia says:

    Like all your posts, this is just wonderful. What a great resource and service you’re providing. Thanks for your generosity!

  3. Hi Angela –

    Thanks for your excellent resource. I always know where to come when I need to jumpstart my brain. 🙂


  4. Tahereh says:

    another fantastic post! you’re brilliant 😀

  5. Karen Lange says:

    This is helpful and such a powerful tool to use when applied well. Thanks, you always inspire:)
    Happy weekend,

  6. Thanks for all the great comments, you guys. It’s interesting to me how different symbols call to each of you. I think too, how objects fit into the context of the story specifically will really contribute to what will work for each idea or theme to symbolize.

    The weekend is almost here, people! Who’s giddy? Or is it just me, lol?

    Have a good one!


  7. Marian says:

    The empty chair makes me think of the way Scrooge realized Tiny Tim was going to die.

    Great list! The words always put so many images – and connections, and connotations – into my head. 🙂

  8. zaelyna says:

    Very helpful and insightful, as always. Thanks! 🙂

  9. P.S. Can we link this for tomorrow’s round up on our blog? It’s so crafty 😉 Thanks Angela!

  10. Love this post! I think we often forget about using such a device to foreshadow something to come. I am totally inspired! Thanks so much.

    Marissa 🙂

  11. Terri says:

    Wonderful images. I really love this entry.

  12. PJ Hoover says:

    It’s been a while since I commented, but I have to reiterate how much I love your blog!

  13. Just reading through the lists made me feel melancholy – but I guess that’s point, huh?! 🙂

  14. A used up candle and an empty chair–awesome!

  15. Terri says:

    These are wonderful. Thanks!

  16. April says:

    I second what Anna said! That is very cool…thanks for this post! It gave me stuff to keep in mind while I’m writing!

  17. Anna says:

    Oh, I love the idea of forgotten items foreshadowing loss. Very cool!

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