Symbolism Entry: Ordered/Organization

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?

In Nature:

Animals gathering in herds or packs
Seasonal cycles
Life/death cycle
North Star position
Phases of the moon
Planetary alignment
Bird migrations
Baby birds following their mother
The Food Chain
Ant hills
Bee hives
The tides
Animal migration
The Water Cycle

In Society:

Technology (computers, databases)
Bill payment
Streets, intersections
Crosswalks/crossing guards
Street Light changes
School Routine
Work Hours
Shopping hours
Banking Hours
Rows of lockers
Labels, folders, dividers
Mail boxes
Sorted mail
Grocery store shelves
Line graphs, flow charts, bar graphs
Filing cabinets
Phone Book
Email Lists
Ingredient lists
Name tags
Table of Contents
Committees, organizations
Help desk/tec support services
Government services (Police, Fire, Rescue)
Government Organizations (Welfare, Unemployment, Social Programs/services)

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Order/Organization. Some are more powerful than others. A filing cabinet is a strong symbol of organization and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a single name tag may not foreshadow order/organization on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.


Janet Johnson said...

Some great ideas! And wow, your lists are long. I'm so impressed!

Karen Lange said...

Thanks! Terrific, as always.
Have a good weekend,
Karen :)

Kristi Helvig said...

This is a great post as I'm a lover of symbolism, and I use several things from this list in my current wip. You gave me some new ideas too, so thank you. :)

Joanna St. James said...


Amie Kaufman said...

I love these entries, they're always so thought provoking, and really challenge me to look for better ways to express ideas in my own writing. Thank you!

Susanne Drazic said...

Ah, organization. Something I'm still working on, lol. Great list as always.

joshmusser said...

I really like this post. I, as a writer, have a weakness that I'm so concentrated on plot and character, that I often miss symbolism and setting... It is nice to have something like this to remind me about these assets.
I'll definitely be adding this to my blog roll.

Josh Musser

The Golden Eagle said...

Symbolism is important in writing, and using the right words can affect a lot of things. These are great lists--many of the things listed are subjects I wouldn't have thought of!

Thanks so much for following my blog, by the way. :)

Robyn Campbell said...

I SO LOVE YOU AND YOUR AWESOME BLOG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! And your blog is in part two of my post on using our senses on Monday.

Angela Ackerman said...

Thanks everyone for the great comments! Nice to see some new faces here--I really apreciate all the recent follows.

Glad this one helps! And Robyn, *blush blush* thanks so much!



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