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 strangler fig
These are just a few examples of things one might associate with bondage. Some are more powerful than others. A set of heavy shackles is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. Mental illness, on the other hand, may not foreshadow bondage 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.
Becca Puglisi is an international speaker, writing coach, and bestselling author of The Emotion Thesaurus and its sequels. Her books are available in five languages, are sourced by US universities, and are used by novelists, screenwriters, editors, and psychologists around the world. She is passionate about learning and sharing her knowledge with others through her Writers Helping Writers blog and via One Stop For Writers—a powerhouse online library created to help writers elevate their storytelling.
You know words or habits can also be a bondage if there is a strong emotional reason for them.
C.R. Evers says
another great list. Way to go guys!
Charlie Pulsipher says
I was a little worried when I saw the title Ü I laugh that you googled it without thinking of the consequences.
Funny Stuff I Write
....Petty Witter says
Just stopping by to say thanks for your return visit, its great that you have become a follower. x
Shannon O'Donnell says
This will help nicely with my new project!! 🙂
Becca Puglisi says
Lol. While coming up with ideas, I made the mistake of googling symbols for bondage. Ewwwwww. Hence the added ‘enslavement’ to the title. Just so no visitors are misled…
Angela Felsted says
If you’re ever at a loss for bondage symbols, you can always go to google and image search it.
Just make sure you’re on safe mode first. Love the picture of the tree.
....Petty Witter says
Hi Angela, I saw you highlighted on Melissa’s site and thought I’d stop by and say hello. Nice to meet you, I’ve enjoyed my visit.
Bondage is a tough area to write but necessary in some stories(like my own, lol.)to further the growth/coming to terms/rise to power of the heroine/hero in those situations. I will definitely think of using some of your examples in my own work!!
Matthew Rush says
Okay, that tree, coupled with this post = creepy.
I particularly like quicksand–I think it’s not only the connotation of helplessness, but also slowly sinking and the pending suffocation that makes it particularly vivid for me. I’m feeling claustrophobic just thinking about it.
Another great post!