Monday, January 6, 2014

Add Props to Die For as Symbols in Your Story

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"Add Props to Die For as Symbols in Your Story" by Joan Y. Edwards

Add a prop to inspire you in your writing. A prop can add depth, dimension, and meaning. It also gives you practice in describing a tangible object. A prop can be symbolic of the theme of your story and/or the dreams or fears of your main character. A prop can also be a symbol of a flaw for one of your characters. You want it to be simple, understandable. You definitely want the prop you use to be believable, not contrived. 

If per chance the props I placed here wouldn't fit in your story, don't use them. Substitute a meaningful prop. A prop that your character would "die" to keep, or "die" to get, or "die" to get rid of it.

Write freely. Write what you think about. Write for 10 or 20 minutes. Use what is relevant and meaningful. Insert it into your current work-in-progress or save it in a writing exercise folder. You might want to use it as food for thought at a later time.

There are many books and movies that utilize a prop to symbolize the theme. 
The Notebook
Diary of Anne Frank
The Scarlet Letter
Daddy Day Care
Gas Food Lodging
Maid in Manhattan
Queen of Hearts  
You've Got Mail 
Dark Moon Rising          

There are many who use props as symbols:
Toy Story - Woody - symbol of toys that know they are just toys- symbol of people who know who they are.
Wizard of Oz - The ruby red slippers - symbol of everything magical and symbol of power
The Graduate - the stockings of Mrs. Robinson - symbol of seduction

When it storms (with lightning and thunder) rains in a film, it symbolizes bad things are going to happen.

My purpose is to get you to think outside the box. I want you to get your creative juices going. Try it out. See what you think.

Story Starters:
  1. Sam was devastated.  At the end of the storm, all that was left was...choose one or all three props. Meanings of devastate: destroy, ruin, wreck, lay waste, ravage, demolish, raze (to the ground), level, flatten. Show us emotions that emerge with in your character from loss: sadness, defeat, depressed, overwhelmed, shocked, grief, anger.
  2. Jasmine was forgetful. This made her angry. Use these props to show her forgetfulness and her anger. Try not to use the word angry, yet help us know it by her actions and reactions that she is definitely filled with anger.
  3. Timothy was a banker. His job was chief organizer. He managed money well, but he never got his life organized. His Christmas decorations were still up from 2010. 

Thanks for reading this post. I'd love for you to share your passages. Please share your thoughts on how you choose items to symbolize your theme or characters. I smile when I hear from you.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

My Books:
Flip Flap Floodle, even mean ole Mr. Fox can't stop this little duck
Paperback, Kindle and Nook
Joan’s Elder Care Guide, Release date June 2014 by 4RV Publishing

Copyright © 2014 Joan Y. Edwards


JunePhyllisBaker said...

I,He was a strange little kitten. His whiskers to short, His face looked like it was covered with a black mask.
2, Evan stared at the picture."Dad what is that?" That's a picture of your new baby brother" " Oh he looka kind of squashed.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson said...

Ahhh, yes. Metaphors. Visual ones in this case. Metaphors go to the roots of our psyches!
Carolyn Howard-Johnson
Loving helping writers get read with my HowToDoItFrugally series of books for writers including the multi award-winning second edition of The Frugal Book Promoter ( .

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear June,
How great to hear from you. Thank you for sharing you passages with us. I'd love to hear, as Paul Harvey used to say, "The Rest of the Story." Send them to me at my email address when you finish these. They are great beginnings. Celebrate your gift of writing.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Carolyn,
Thank you for reading this post and for leaving a comment. It's good to hear from you. You are right. Visual metaphors do go right to the roots of our psyches. Celebrate your gift of writing.

Never Give Up
Joan Y. Edwards

JJ said...

This could be what's missing in my Young Adult book. Katniss in the Hunger Games has the mocking jay pin, such a powerful symbol. Hmm, what can I use and not feel like a copycat? It's got to be natural though and not just thrown in. Thanks, Joan, for helping me be creative today!

Linda A. said...

You've got our brain cogs turning. Thanks for sharing another writing tool!

historywriter said...

I learned this in a workshop years ago. In one novel, a fishhook represents the love between two people. In another, a CCC honor award that its owner doesn't feel he deserves. It's used in movies all the time.

Anne Duguid Knol said... me thinking...

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Juliana,
Thanks for writing. Many stories have symbols. It's just finding the one that fits your character in the precarious predicaments in the situation you describe. It would be something the character would panic without... Brainstorm all the things that mean a lot to your main character. Then brainstorm things your main character is so afraid of that she would curdle in water, if it was 2 feet in front of her. Then compare these with something that she believes is insignificant but discovers that her life depends on it.

Just ideas.

Celebrate you and your characters
Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Linda,
Thank you for writing. I'm glad I got your brain cogs turning. You're very welcome for my sharing this writing tool.

Celebrate you and your characters
Never Give Up

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear History Writer (I wish I knew your name),
Thank you for writing. History is a wonderful topic on which to write. You are right. Symbols are used in movies all the time. Look for them. You'll notice even more.

Brainstorm and discover props you can use for your stories. Some people always live in the past. There are many symbols you could use for that story.

Celebrate you and your characters,

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Annie,
Thank you for writing. I'm glad I've got you thinking. It's fun to brainstorm objects that are significant to your characters. Enjoy yourself.

Celebrate you and your characters,
Never Give Up

Janet S. said...

I enjoyed your article and recommended your post to the readers of my blog. Thanks.

Joan Y. Edwards said...

Dear Janet,
Thank you for writing. I'm happy that you enjoyed my article. I'm honored that you've recommended it to the readers of your blog. You're very welcome.

Celebrate you and your characters,

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