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Thread: Symbolism

  1. #11
    WF Veteran H.Brown's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Birb View Post
    Wow, I already got quite a few answers! It's always fun to learn some more about people's preferences as it shows their personality a bit, but I don't know XD. To clarify a little, I like to use symbolism in a way that if you catch it, you get a little hint and maybe a bit of a fun fact too. That's why I like flowers so much. For example, one story idea that I had separated a city into districts marked by flowers. Rose, Orchid, and Oleander. Those flowers by themselves might not mean much, but if you look them up you might find: Rose- Elegance, love, etc. Orchid-Uniqueness, etc and Oleander- which is toxic. None of that was incredibly relevant to the story, but might clue you in to the purpose of each district a little ^-^
    I like using names that mean different things, I do this with my main characters. And Robin Hobb does simliar and then has her characters have their actions match their names meaning, subconciously.
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  2. #12
    Wɾˇʇˇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by H.Brown View Post
    I like using names that mean different things, I do this with my main characters. And Robin Hobb does simliar and then has her characters have their actions match their names meaning, subconciously.
    The fact that Robin Hobb has a character called FitzChivalry just makes my heart do a happy dance. It's so cool! Mervyn Peake does this too, with names: Flay, Prunesquallor, Steerpike, Groan, Sepulchrave - they are all exactly as you imagine them to be. It's definitely influenced my own name choices.


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  3. #13
    Honestly, I write pulp fiction, and the pulpier the better. It would be a departure from the truth to claim that I write literature or anything hoity-toity enough for symbolism. If I do use some form of symbolism, it usually arises accidentally. The closest I get to symbolism is an occasional running joke, and even then it usually involves a fart joke.

  4. #14
    When symbols crop up in my fiction writing, it's usually unconsciously, but not necessarily unintentionally. I sometimes do things intuitively which I'm not aware of until later. For example, looking back at the first few chapters of a WIP, I often compared a certain character's skin to the moon or bones or other dead, barren things. It wasn't like I was consciously thinking, "this person is spiritually dead, and going to die, so I'm going to associate her with death and cold," but that is what happened anyways.
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  5. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    I have to let it come naturally. I can't - with few exceptions - shoehorn an object in there and have it mean something. But I do like to use objects that "my readers" (wherever they are) would know and identify as some sort of signifier. It can add drama while simultaneously enriching the world. Eg:


    Ao was in a fury. They should have here by now, even given the distance. His dirigible was prepared. What a waste of lifting-gases that had been. The household staff scurried of his way as he strode wordlessly through the front door of the Castle, through the kitchens, knocking a pile of pans to the floor to a deluge of curses, and across the lobby to his study.


    In this extract, Ao - who is very upper class, highly contemtpuous of all apart from those who can make him look good - shoves some pans over. It's characterisation, suggesting his disdain of the lower classes and labour and work in general. It wouldn't arguably have worked as well if the thing he had knocked over was a Ming vase or summat
    Off topic. I can't see someone who is elite going into the kitchens.

    Back on topic : I don't bother with symbolism, at least not so far.

  6. #16
    Wɾˇʇˇ∩9 bdcharles's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jack of all trades View Post
    Off topic. I can't see someone who is elite going into the kitchens.

    Back on topic : I don't bother with symbolism, at least not so far.
    Valid point. But - equally off topic but feel it needs mentioning - how would he show his disdain of people without venturing near them? This chap is also very approval motivated so he has to associate with them to get that fix too. I assure you he speeds from the kitchens to his study as soon as his point is made.


    Hidden Content Monthly Fiction Challenge


    Beauty is nothing but the beginning of terror which we are barely able to endure, and are awed,
    because it serenely disdains to annihilate us.
    - Rainer Maria Rilke, "Elegy I"

    *

    Is this fire, or is this mask?
    It's the Mantasy!
    - Anonymous

    *

    C'mon everybody, don't need this crap.
    - Wham!





  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by bdcharles View Post
    Valid point. But - equally off topic but feel it needs mentioning - how would he show his disdain of people without venturing near them? This chap is also very approval motivated so he has to associate with them to get that fix too. I assure you he speeds from the kitchens to his study as soon as his point is made.
    They would be too far beneath him for him to care about their approval.

    You manufactured a scenario to demonstrate something, and it
    shows. His contempt or disdain would be apparent in how he ignores their existence. Or he would torment them, possibly, by ordering dishes, then rejecting them. The scene you posted has him go out of his way into their area, which gives them more attention than seems likely to me.

  8. #18
    I often find that I have added symbolism subconsciously into some of my stories. Once I start editing, I sometimes catch the symbolism and think “hey that works” and “how did I come up with that”. When people read the stories I like to see if they catch the symbolism, and if they don’t, I just hope they liked the story.

    In other stories, I use symbolism extensively and specifically to move the story along. In fact, I am working on a short story that is probably three quarters symbolism. In this case, I am using the landscape and weather around the character to reflect his health.

  9. #19
    Although I don't do much symbolism, I am a big fan of cultural references. Properly placed, they can be great for eliciting positive feelings from readers.

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