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?
Animals intermingling as they graze
Bird calls, trilling
Schools of fish
The color blue
People working in harmony
Peaceful group marches and celebrations…
These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Peace. Some are more powerful than others. An olive branch is a powerful symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, the soft of soft music playing may not foreshadow peacefulness 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.
Lynda Young says
symbolism in writing is so often underrated. These are great examples.
W.I.P. It: A Writer’s Journey
Angela Ackerman says
Thanks everyine for the great comments. I decided to leave this one up a bit longer because of September 11th. I thought the world could use the good vibes. 🙂
Wendy Marcus says
When I think of peace I always think of sitting on the beach, my eyes closed, listening to the waves roll in and the seagulls calling out. I wish I was there right now!
Susanne Drazic says
Great list! I was thinking prayer and meditation before I even got to the end of the list and there they were.
Janet Johnson says
Great suggestion! I’d never thought about symbols, though I always love it when I find them in what I’m reading. Wow, I have a lot to learn. 🙂
Jan Markley says
Hi Angela: I passed on a ‘blogger buddie’ award to you for your awesome blog. Check it out on the latest post on my blog!
Jan Markley says
Excellent post, as always, important to remember the role of symbolism in writing!
Shannon O'Donnell says
Love it, as always! A few of my students used entries for angry and black this week – you rock, Angela! 🙂
Matthew Rush says
Aaah, I’m feeling a certain … Zen.
Jessica Subject says
Awesome, as always Angela! The Bookshelf Muse is my favorite resource when writing and revising. Thanks!
Thanks for the reminder on symbols. 🙂
Stina Lindenblatt says
I love your symbolism thesaurus, Angela. I’m definitely going to see in I can weave some symbolism into my new wip.