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 fork in the path
Multiple pathways or routes
Rivers: upstream, downstream
Choosing a place to nest/burrow
Obstacles: rocks, fallen trees, etc in route…
Truth or lie
These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Crossroads/Choices. Some are more powerful than others. A fork in the path is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a menu might not foreshadow Crossroads/Choices 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.
Sheila Deeth says
I like this site!
Shannon O'Donnell says
LOVE this!!! 🙂
Becca Puglisi says
Hi, Kelly! Actually, Angela is an Albertan. I live slightly farther south, in Florida :). Thanks for stopping by!
Kelly M. Olsen says
Well, I have to tell you gals that I’ve had the greatest time (and an educational time, at that) looking around your blog. AMAZING! And…you are fellow Albertans. Red Deer, here. Love this blog. Did I already say “amazing”?
Oh that just gave me so many ideas.
I want to thank you for stopping by my blog and following. I really appreciate your time.
I look forward to getting to know you:)
Laurie Muench says
Thank you. Right now I am at that point in my novel where my MC must choose whether to follow what he has been raised to believe, or to go against his family and follow his conscious. Your post was perfectly timed 😉
Stina Lindenblatt says
Oh, the irony of this post. 😉
I’m going to try using some of these in my WIP. 😀
Ooooh, I love this concept!!!!!
Great info, thanks!
Elaine AM Smith says
The image of the cross roads or the points in the station yard is so emotive. When I see them in movies, I always know trouble lies waiting.
Chantele Sedgwick says
Cool! I’ve never really thought about all the symbolism around us. Hopefully while I’m driving for hours and hours tomorrow, I’ll see some symbolism in our nature filled adventure! 🙂 Great post. I love finding out how my characters get around an obstacle or crossroads in their story. It’s fun to see which path they choose.
Thanks for stopping by my blog!
This is a fantastic list. I’m so glad you are talking about symbols because I need to incorporate them into my work. Very meaningful post for me. I’m grateful. Thank you!
Susan Flett Swiderski says
Thanks (again!) for providing so much thought-provoking fodder. It’s always a pleasure to read your posts. Ever considered putting all of this valuable info into a BOOK? (I’d buy it!)
Angela Ackerman says
Thanks. This one was a tougher one to do, certainly yet probably one of the biggest used entries for symbolism. All our characters reach crossroads at some point, sometimes more than once!
Lisa Gail Green says
Nice one. Choices are such an important part of any character’s journey. So this has to come into play at least minimally in all books.