Showing posts with label and objects in your story; editing tips. Show all posts
Showing posts with label and objects in your story; editing tips. Show all posts

Symbols Add Texture to Your Story

Abi's gold heart-shaped locket.
She never takes it off, even for P.E.

By Linda Wilson   @LinWilsonauthor

Symbols add layers to deepen your story. Symbols can provide a break in the action. Your reader can take a brief respite from the action, then plunge right back in to find out what happens.

What is a symbol? I tested examples of the symbols in my latest work-in-progress, Secret in the Mist, Book Two in my Abi Wunder mystery series, with the Wikipedia definition of “symbol:”

“A symbol is a mark, sign, or word that indicates, signifies, or is understood as representing an idea, object, or relationship. Symbols allow people to go beyond what is known or seen by creating linkages between otherwise very different concepts and experiences.”

Ideas in Mist

Perfect temperature and a full moon: The ghost in the story doesn’t show herself any old time. She waits till the temperature is just right and there’s a full moon. Ah-whooooooo!

Change in time: Abi’s perception of time and space change whenever the ghost is near—Abi's present world halts, and she instantly travels back to the time when the ghost was alive. Spooooooky!

Relationships in Mist

There are many different types of relationships in Mist. Here are the most prominent:

The two main characters, Abi and Jess: Abi and Jess’s friendship is very important to each of them. When a bump comes along—a disagreement—they part ways. Yet, Abi continues their quest even though Jess is mad at her. But they reconcile and their friendship is stronger than ever. My intent in showing various parts of this best-friend relationship is to show how real relationships can be mended even when there is a problem.

Abi and Jess vs Angel: Angel and Jess had been best friends until Abi came along. Angel is rude to Abi and does everything she can to discourage Abi from being Jess’s friend—a symbol typical of a jealous relationship. Angel must learn to accept Abi and not try to keep Jess to herself. Both Jess and Angel must change to make their relationship work. Abi must be friends with both of them.

Abi and Grandma: Abi’s Grandma died a year ago last summer. Abi misses her. She accepts Jess’s invitation to visit to help find the ghost that has been haunting Jess's neighborhood for 100 years. Abi accepts the invitation, of course, for the obvious reason, she wants to see a ghost. But also, she’s hoping that if  ghosts truly exists, then ghosts are real. And if ghosts are real, she will  see her grandma again.

Objects in Mist

Riding boots: In Book 1 Abi ignored physical activity in favor of creating art. She was attached to her flip flops and didn’t want to wear any other type of shoe. Her single-minded purpose was to create art and grow up to be an artist. She meets Jess, who thrives on athletics, and by the end of the book, Abi can run as fast and as far as Jess. 

In Book 2, Abi has given up the notion of wearing flip flops all the time. Jess has invited her to go horseback riding in addition to going ghost hunting. Even though long pants and a long-sleeve shirt are required to ride, and are hot clothes to wear at the end of summer, Abi appreciates the extra layers of clothing needed for the sport, including wearing riding boots.

Unicorn-Cat and Rainbow: In Book 1, Abi named her sketchbook Unicorn Cat and her backpack Rainbow. These names are carried through in Book 2. In Book 3, the last in the series Abi will have grown out of this stage. But in the first two books, my intent has been to show how much Abi values some of her most important possessions. 

Hearts: I’ve saved my favorite symbol for last. A locket that Abi’s grandma gave her before she died, which has her photo inside, is a gold heart. It's Abi's most prized possession. She never takes it off, even in P.E.

If the locket warms to the touch, it means that Grandma’s ghost is near, come to help Abi as she so often did in life. 

Faith, a ghost horse, has a white marking on its forehead in the shape of a heart. My intent is to bind these hearts, the gold heart locket, and Faith’s heart marking, together with Abi’s heart—forever. Having hearts so prominent in this book segues into Book 3, the last book in the series, Secrets of the Heart: An Abi Wunder Mystery.

Also, the locket is mentioned quite a few times in the story, which serves as a thread that binds the story together. Abi held up her hand. “Give me a sec.” It was her locket. It felt warm. She grasped it, and a familiar voice whispered in her ear, "Follow that still voice inside, child. It will tell you what to do." 

Abi glanced around. The only person standing in Jess’s yard—was Jess. And she hadn’t said a word. That’s something Grandma would say, Abi thought. But it couldn’t be her. Could it?

A chill ran down Abi’s spine. Grandma died a year ago right before school started, this time last year. She remembered because she missed the first few days of fifth grade. She fingered her locket, cool now, straining to hear more. But the voice had fallen silent. 

Those hushed words gave Abi faith that her grandma was still with her. As she was in life, and now in death. Abi let the locket fall back in place. Deep inside she said, Thanks, Grandma.

Symbols not only add texture to your story, but they're a lot of fun to create. Look over your story. Make a list of symbols you have found. Make sure your symbols offer deep meaning to your story.

Illustration: By Danika Corrall. I was so happy with Danika's work in creating my website,, I asked her to illustrate Mist. Her illustrations are terrific. If you are interested in learning more about Danika, she can be reached at  

For other editing tips, please visit my article: "Keep Your Self-Editing on Track," January 2024;

Thistletoe Q. Packrat points out
information from his book,
A Packrat's Holiday during
a school visit.

Linda Wilson is the author of the Abi Wunder Mystery series and other books for children. Her two new releases are Waddles the Duck: Hey, Wait for Me! (2022) and Cradle in the Wild: A Book for Nature Lovers Everywhere (2023). You’ll find Linda on her Amazon author page, on her website at, and on Facebook.

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