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?
Mating rituals (chasing, wrestling, gentle head butting, etc)
Grooming (combing, licking, scratching etc)
Animals nuzzling their mate or young
Animals sharing food
Close proximity to one another
Building a burrow/nest together…
The color red
These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Love or affection. Some are more powerful than others. A pair of entwined lovers is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, lingering eye contact may not foreshadow Love or affection 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.
Laura Pauling says
Terrific post! You’ve done it again! Thanks.
I love the social listing. So true about foreshadowing. Hah, just read Nicole’s ‘pun’. Guess I’m included in that. ‘;-)
Bish Denham says
Wonderful. Makes me feel all soft and cuddly. I like foot rubs…being rocked.
Susanne Drazic says
N. R. Williams says
Symbols are important. I had to create some for my fantasy. That I suppose is one of the reason I love to write it. Because building a new world give me fresh ways to express this one.
N. R. Williams, fantasy author
Amie Kaufman says
I’m just loving these entries. (No, doesn’t mean I want to sit close enough for our legs to touch… well, maybe a little, if blogs had legs.) Thank you!
Julie Musil says
Love these (no pun intended), especially the more subtle symbols. Thank you!
Catherine A. Winn says
I love the reminder to place symbolism in the reader’s path:)
I liked this. Symbolism isn’t something I think about, although I probably should. It’s one of those many things that has to feel right, I guess.
Shannon O'Donnell says
Awwww…who doesn’t need a little help with in the love and affection department?! LOL. Thanks for this. 🙂
Joanna St. James says
ha u you just made my edits go faster thanks
Nicole Zoltack says
I love this. LOL Whoops, did not actually mean the pun! You’re so right that the story should dictate how much love is shown and in what ways.
Lenny Lee! says
hi miss angela! i didnt ever think about that symbol stuff. but now i could see its pretty important for making a scene lots better.
…hugs from lenny