Use the power of recurring signs and symbols to keep your readers engaged.
When faced with a difficult decision, it’s tempting to ask the universe to send us a sign. While life isn’t black and white, the pages of literature are. In real life, it’s impossible to be completely sure of how a decision will turn out. Authors, on the other hand, can sprinkle signs and motifs throughout their work to guide their audience and characters to an end result.
These motifs give us, readers, a taste of omniscience. I’ll never forget my high school film teacher explaining his theory on the use of oranges in The Godfather movies. Each time we see oranges on the screen, he explained, that’s a foreshadowing that someone is going to die or be killed. Once I became aware of this tidbit, it was impossible to not see oranges throughout the movie, and I subsequently reveled in my prescient glimpse of what would happen next.
As inspiration this week, explore the use of motifs and symbols in your writing. Consider how you can incorporate visual elements as a way of either heightening the meaning of your work or giving your readers clues as to what comes next in your tales. When writing your next piece of fiction or poetry, ruminate on the primary message you’re trying to get across. Is there an element of nature that represents this theme for you? If so, how can you incorporate that element into your work?
Signs may be but the sympathies of nature with man. – Charlotte Brontë
If realism and personal blogging are more your scene, explore the role of signs in your life as if you were a literary figure in a play or story. Is there a certain number or symbol you always see? What does it mean to you and has this impression held true?
By digging deeper into the meaning of repetition — in our lives, and in literature — we have the opportunity to get a taste of that omniscient perspective. Look for that carton of oranges — allow yourself to find a deeper meaning in the small coincidences you see every day.