Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: The Passage of Time



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:

The seasons
Sunrise
Sunset
The changing landscape on a journey
Bleached bones lying in the sun
Sun and stars
The changing color of leaves
Birds building a nest, laying eggs, hatching, empty nest
Antler growth
A stream that starts as a trickle, becoming a river
Weather shifts: sunny skies to rain, light snowfall to blizzard, etc
Animal behavior (finding mates, raising family, packs, etc)
Birth and death
A bloom fading, wilting, becoming a papery husk
The height of trees
The quality of light
Day/night
Hibernation vs activity
Population growth or decline of species
The presence/lack of insects, bees, butterflies, mosquitoes, flies, etc
Flowering trees/bushes vs berry or fruit bearing
The height and lushness of grass and undergrowth
The changing condition of a path (a bare track, well used, overgrown)
Phases of the Moon
Position of the sun
Tide line
Temperature

In Society:

Meals (breakfast, lunch dinner)
Time cards at work
Stores opening/closing
Birthday parties
Holidays (Christmas, Halloween, Valentine's day, etc)
Summer sports shifting to winter sports (or vice-versa)
Summer recreation shifting to winter recreation (or vise-versa)
Hunting season
Planting, maintaining, harvesting (gardens, crops)
A campfire: raising it, the heat and crackles of flame, coals to cold ash
The gold watch on retirement
Being fired or let go
Paid holidays increasing year over year
Clocks
Bus/train schedules
Business hours
Matinees, dinner shows, late night movies
School bells/buzzers
Hunger
Fatigue
Landmark shows on TV (morning cartoons, morning news, afternoon soap operas, evening news)
Oven timers
A growing bank account
Before work, at work, after work
Construction
The condition of buildings or vehicles over time
Children or teens changing attitudes, skills, independence
Increased allowance
Rising prices for a staple item, inflation
Bank lending rates
Growth or decline of stocks
Baking (raw ingredients to shaping dough to hot from the oven)
The condition (fresh, stale, moldy) of fruit, bread, meat, or other perishables
A shift in trends, fashion, music, style, idols, interests
A change in illness (24 hour flu, getting over a cold, etc)
Stages of pregnancy
Yearly festivals, celebrations
Potty training
Weight gain or loss
How clothing fits (too loose, too tight)

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with a passage of time. Some are more powerful than others. A journey through a changing landscape is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a gold watch may not foreshadow a passage of time on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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The Writer's Bane: Describing a Character's Physical Appearance

I'm going to be totally honest here. There is little I detest more than trying to describe how my character looks. The reasons are numerous. I think it sounds boring. It slows the story. It reads like a list or sounds cliched, etc, blargh de blargh.

I write in first person, to boot, making it even more difficult to create natural-sounding character description without using the dreaded MIRROR technique. After all, every time a writer uses a mirror to describe their character's physique, somewhere in the world a zombie dies. Think about that. Right now, Zombies are dying. I can't add to this terrible crime. Can you?

But then I read Word Painting and realized I was looking at it all wrong. Physical description doesn't need to be a dry, tasteless blob of facts to help the writer see our character. It can be seasoned and textured, and doled out bite by savory bite.

Let's Get Physical--The Problems


When introducing a character, there are a few basics most stick to: sex, hair, eyes, build. Which is fine to start, depending how you go about it. A description like Melvin the bellhop had brown hair, green eyes and was a bit on the skinny side can be summed up in one word: BLAND. This is the 'just the facts' approach, and can often read like a list.

Another common mistake is the 'throw in some adjectives' approach: Melvin the attentive bellhop from our luxury hotel, had gleamimg, oiled brown hair, haunting green eyes and a crisp uniform that fit his lean frame perfectly.

Oh dear. Can you hear the zombies screaming, Clarrise? The issue with relying solely on modifiers to liven up the physical description is that they often end up hitting on cliches or sounding overwritten.

Let's Get Physical--The Solutions

1) Choose description that is apt and characterizes rather than conveys information.

The bellhop's well-oiled brown hair suggested an abundance of cowlicks needing to be tamed.

This here not only paints a picture, it tells us something about Melvin. He takes pride in how he looks, and will go to lengths to appear professional.

2) Select a few attributes that stand out and work together to create a full picture.

The bellhop approached us with steps as crisp as his starched maroon uniform. His gold name tag, exactly level with his lapel, announced his name: Melvin. He smiled as he took our bags, and then with a cock of his eyebrow, enquired if we were ready to go up to our room.

Again, the crisp steps and starched uniform provide an apt comparison. His smile softens the starchiness, and his cocked eyebrow, along with him asking, not telling the hotel guests to come with him, provides the image of a smooth professional who knows how to make customers feel catered too. You'll notice no hair, no eyes, no build is described. Can you see Melvin anyway?

3) Actions speak louder than words

Which is easier to describe--a character in motion with a goal in mind, or one standing still? The answer is obvious. This ties back to the show-don't-tell line of thought. A character is defined by what he does, and through those actions, the reader can begin to understand what it is that he wants, needs and feels. By showing a character interacting with the setting, we understand more about who he is and can 'see' him better.

A Melvin scanning the lobby for debris, returning empty glasses to the bar and offering help to a flustered businessman wrestling with his oversized laptop case will be seen differently than a Melvin standing near the elevator, eyes straight ahead, waiting for his name to be called to the front desk for assistance.

4) Create a realistic, personal environment

Good character description does not rest on the character alone, but also through the places they spend their time and the objects they surround themselves with. Know the setting well and spend time world building it, because characters don't exists in white boxes of nothingness. Think of your bedroom or bathroom, and the personal touches that make it different from a friend's bedroom or bathroom. The things your character touches, the things they view as important...these are also items that will help build a concrete picture of your character.

5) Remember to use more than SIGHT to describe

Sight is only one way to get an image across. The other senses like smells, sounds or touching can also reveal a lot about a character and create intimacy ties between the character and the reader through recognition. Use them to characterize! Our pal Melvin would probably steer clear of heavy scents, careful to always consider both his guests sensitivity to strong colognes and to maintain his background role. Yet I could imagine standing next to him in the elevator and catching a whiff of clean soap, or perhaps a touch of aloe from his hair gel.

6) Description is best in manageable pieces.

A certain amount of detail is needed to intro a character, but really all that is needed is a line our two. Further characterization, tics and mannerisms will be revealed as you show them in action, so don't hamper the scene with clumps of physical description. Drop tidbits here and there, and remember to allude to important details more than once. If we described Melvin as pale skinned and it's a defining detail because he's really a vampire, mention it again in a different way down the road. Does a patron note the whiteness of his arm against his dark uniform as his sleeve rides up? Does his face appear to fade somewhat as he stands in front of the pearl-toned wallpaper? A reminder will reinforce the image we need then to see.

Do you have any tips and tricks that help you describe your characters?
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Setting Thesaurus Entry: House Fire

Sight

Smoke (light & white, drifting at the ceiling level in a haze to start, then billowing plumes darkening to sooty black as plastics, oils, chemicals, varnish and paint etc are consumed), flame, coals, flames licking the walls and sweeping across the ceiling, fire ropes chewing through curtains, spreading across the floor in fiery sheets, bottles of liquid exploding due to heat and pressure, windows bursting, roof beams caving in, flashes as combustibles explode, timbers charring and blackening, smoke haze coating the room, sparks drifting down and swirling in the air drafts, ash drifting down, bits of curtains crumbling, electrical flickering and then shorting out, patches of carpet melting, plastics shrinking, melting and discoloring, wood charring & bending, stair spindles turning into pillars of flame, metal becoming red hot, furniture becoming beds of fire, light fixtures falling from the ceiling, smoke curling beneath closed doors, people crawling along the floor, gasping for breath, trying to find an exit, firemen with oxygen tanks strapped to their back, hoses, water dousing flames, creating water vapor, snuffing out fire and leaving behind blackened stumps, shattered glass and splintered wood, liquid flaming drops of plastic dripping or leaking in a slim stream from a plastic object, a flickering orange glow, the welcome silhouette of a firefighter striding through the haze

Sounds

The crackle of flame, the woof sound as something catches fire quickly, plastics melting and dripping into hissing puddles, the creak and groan of timbers contracting, cries for help, glass breaking, roof caving in, floor groaning, someone banging on a door, shouting out a window, crying, gasping for breath, coughing uncontrollably, furniture/doors/stairs shifting, tables collapsing with a crash as legs become charred stumps unable to hold the weight of the tabletop, exploding glass, windows shattering, the hiss/squeal of liquids turning to steam, firemen smashing down the door, tromping through debris, the fire alarm blaring, sirens outside blaring, shouts, axes cutting through walls, smashing down doors, lights crashing to the floor or smashing through from the floor above, curtain rods clanging to the ground, screams, the pop of the glass inside picture frames splintering from the heat

Smells

Smoke will pick up the smells of what's burning and at what stage. Walls, wooden furniture, etc will have a smokey campfire-ish smell at first, plastics a sharp, acrid smell that will burn the nose and throat, but as the fire progresses the smoke will grow increasingly toxic causing instinct to kick in, giving way to flight, not fight.

Tastes

Gummy, acrid ash coating the tongue, phlegm, the occasional gulp of fresher air if leaning out a window to breathe on a second story or above window

Touch

rubble underfoot, cutting feet on glass or wood splinters, searing burns, intense heat, blistering palms from touching something too hot, pressing a towel or shirt to the mouth and nose in an attempt to breathe cleaner air, wrapping shirts around hands to protect them, fumbling down halls on hands and knees, collapsing to the ground from smoke inhalation, shoving or ramming a blocked door with the shoulder, pulling/pushing debris out of the way, stumbling down stairs, past furniture, bashing into furniture in the smokey haze, clinging to and pulling loved ones, carrying children in arms, wrapping loved ones in wet towels or blankets, smashing a window to escape, raw throat and nose, lungs burning, wheezing breath ripping at throat, doubling over coughing, burns on the hands, pounding weakly at a door, tears carving tracks through soot on face, intense heat on skin, sweat, fatigue, slapping at sparks that burrow into clothing, putting them out

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

I crammed myself tight into the corner so the flames couldn't find me. Mr. Bear's hard plastic nose dug into my chest but I didn't dare loosen my grip on him. Across from me, the dolls on my shelf began to change, their fine blond ringlets shrinking into black frizz and then crumbling into dust. They stared at me, black bristles poking out their heads, their smiling faces shifting and drooping, crying plastic tears. I pushed my face into the soft fur of Mr. Bear and pretended I was at Grandma Hiller's, hiding in the linen cupboard, waiting for her to find me.

Example 2:

Even from across the cul-de-sac, the brightness was enough to force my eyes into a squint. Water from the fire fighter's hoses arced across the night sky and splattered across the charred shingles, doing little to quench the flames consuming the house. I picked out the owners, standing in the lee of a fire truck, their soot-stained faces upturned, watching the black column rising up from the inferno, taking their hopes and dreams with it.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

As Mary lay there, her face pressed to the warm floor boards, she pulled in a final, reedy breath. Time slowed, and darkness began to close in on her like the heavy velvet curtains that signalled the end of a theatre performance.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

I paced the street, clutching at the medic blanket draped around my shoulders. Beneath it, worry and fear clung to my skin in a sooty sweat. The firefighters would find Mark. They had to.

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Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Purity

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:

Swans
Sunrise
A full moon
A crystal clear sky
Mountain-fed streams
A white rabbit
Snow
Unaltered soil (by pollution or chemicals)
New green shoots
Tree blossoms
White roses
Daisy
Lotus
Doves
Unicorns (in fantasy)
Lambs
Pearls
Diamonds
White lily
Dew
Rain

In Society:

Virgins
The church
The soul or spirit
The act of cleansing (bathing, showering, steam bath)
White underclothes (bra, panties)
Holy water
Monasteries or convents
Clean white linens
White wedding dress
Newborns
Light
A chaste kiss on the cheek
Blushing with eyes downcast
Pale skin
Wedding bands
A lack of make up, tattoos, piercings
A purity ring
Abstinence
A smiling child
Cherubs
A child's laughter
The color white
Celibacy
Baptism
Milk

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Purity. Some are more powerful than others. A flock of white doves is a strong symbol and likely will not require reinforcement. However, the clear, joyful ring of a child's laughter may not foreshadow purity on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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Naked Dialogue: How, When and Where to Go Tagless


Happy Monday, Musers! Today I have a guest post up over at the Awesomo Tabitha's Writer's Musings blog on NAKED DIALOGUE. In it I discuss tagless dialogue and how and when to use it properly. I also supply a few ideas on how to think beyond only using it to increase pace or give the reader a break from tags, citing examples of how naked dialogue can make your writing a bit more savvy. I hope you'll check it out!

Because dialogue is a huge portion of any novel, all writers must really understand how to do it well and I can't emphasize its importance enough. In fact, underdeveloped dialogue ranks number six on my Seven Deadly Sins of Novel Writing Series.

I'm also hearing rumors of several dialogue-focused posts in the works in Bloggerland, so keep an eye out for them. I know I will!

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Setting Thesaurus Entry: Bridge

Sight

Wide open sky, clouds, fog, sun, birds, river/creek/ocean/crevasse, bumper to bumper cars, pedestrian walkway, cyclists, concrete pillars, capstones, spires, wires, chains, piping, birds nesting, bird poop on concrete slabs, barriers separating car traffic from foot traffic, sign posts, pavement, car exhaust, steel, struts, steel pins, metal grating, rust, graffiti, trash, tossed cigarette butts, toll booth, motorcycles, traffic lanes, cables, support beams, towers, railing, pedestrian gates, rain, sleet, thunderstorms, snow

Sounds

The shaking hum of rubber tires against grates, the creak of cables, car engines roaring, horns honking, birds (seagulls, geese) crying out as they fly, car radios/sound systems, the whistle of wind whipping past struts and pillars, boat horns from the river, footsteps/squeal of gates/creaky railing when using the pedestrian portion, the squeal of too-tight brakes

Smells

Exhaust, brine/algae from the river, rusty metal, salty ocean, pine trees, sweat, stale cigarettes, dust, dry air, motor oil

Tastes

Snacks in the car, water bottle, cold coffee, gum, mints, cough drops, dry mouth (if outside), cigarettes, toothpaste or mouthwash if commuting to work

Touch

Inside the car: Hands loosely holding the steering wheel, lifting a travel mug of coffee and bringing it to the lips, fiddling with the radio/stereo to choose music, flipping switches and knobs to turn on A/C or heat, foot on accelerator or applying brake, the flutter of wind against the side of the face if the window is open, turning neck to shoulder check, driving one-handed other hand resting on leg, checking cell for messages or (yikes) texting, checking hair and make up in the mirror, picking at bangs to straighten hair, rolling neck side to side, adjusting a tight shoulder strap, reaching for a map, Kleenex, tool change, etc. On foot: wind flapping against shirt, snapping at hair, dragging strands across cheeks and in eyes, hard cement underfoot, leaning against the railing, holding a camera and taking pictures, squinting against the bright sky or waves of sun-splintered water below, nodding hello to other walkers, sweaty feet rubbing in shoes, sweat making clothing adhere to skin, locking fingers into the straps of a backpack, taking a swig from a water bottle, whistling, the weight of a cell phone on hip, the slight shimmy of movement beneath the feet at the bridge flexes and cars roar past

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:


Sleet soaked my shirt and pummelled my raw, exposed skin with painful icy darts. My eyes slits, I leaned into the wind, flinching every time a car sent an ocean of water fanning up from the tires. I'd only just passed the halfway point of the bridge and already the vibration of rush hour traffic had numbed my legs from the knees down.

Example 2:


As my car inched along, the full force of the sun sizzled my right side and sent trickles of sweat down my neck. All the windows were down but completely ineffective; the air was muggy and thick with the promise of a thunderstorm. I leaned on the horn at the idiot in front of me. If he kept letting people into this lane, we'd never get off this god-forsaken bridge!

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)

Rust blistered the steel struts like a terminal case of skin cancer.

Example 2: (Metaphor)


Whoever said walking to work promoted a healthy lifestyle never had to cross a bridge during the rush. I could chain smoke a pack of cigarettes and my lungs would still come out ahead.

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Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: Coming of Age

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:

Blooming flowers
Well-rooted plants
New leaves
Sturdy saplings
Summer
Sun at noon
Gangly fauns grazing on their own, at a distance from adult deer
Baby birds leaving the nest
Mating, pairing off
Courtship
Young males (wolves, foxes, etc) leaving the pack or den
A small creek swelling into a river
Foothills giving way to mountains
The heat of the day
Ripe fruit and berries
The scent of fruit tree blossoms
Lush grasses

In Society:

Vegetables ready to be picked
Healthy plants/gardens
Children independently walking home from school
Holding hands
The first kiss
Puberty
A diary
Secrets kept from parents
Teenagers
Piercings
Learner's permit
Student drivers
High Schools
First dates/dating
School dances
Teen styles, trends, fashion
Current music
TV shows and movies targeting teenagers
iPods
Make up
Heart doodles
Young love
Babysitting others
Staying home alone
First time buying condoms
First taste of alcohol
Exposure to pot
Stealing cigarettes from a parent
Fantasizing about the opposite sex
Allowances
Braces
Sex

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with Coming of Age. Some are more powerful than others. A bird leaving the nest is a strong symbol and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a secret kept from parents might not foreshadow A Coming of Age on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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Setting Thesaurus Entry: Dungeon

CAUTION: This location entry is graphic in nature and may offend

Sight

Shadows, cells, stone walls, dirt or stone floors, filthy straw scattered across the floor, chains fixed to walls, rats, shadows, flickering torchlight from torches in iron sconces, iron bars, feces, spiders, beetles, roaches, oily smoke, moaning, bones, skulls, heaps of clothing scraps, screaming prisoners in ragged clothing, buckets/barrels of fetid water, blood, weaponry, guards, iron grates, cracked & seeping walls, black mold/slime, pools of muddy water on the flagstone floor, oil lanterns, rubble, spiderwebs, forge, torturers, manacles, ropes, narrow passageways, questioning rooms, torture rooms, fireplace, brands, pincers, racks, Chairs with straps, hammers, knives, swords, sickles, suspended iron cages from a high roof, rusty spikes, pits with iron bars & heavy locks over the tops, iron maiden, hooks, whips, skeletons hanging limp chained to walls, prisoners huddled against the bars, hiding in corners & weeping/mumbling/pleading/raving, both fevered and malnourished, names/prayers carved into the walls, a chaplain or other religious figure distributing last rites or taking confessions, a single high barred grate to the outside to keep hope alive, a hooded executioner

Sounds

Screams, moans, cries, weeping, pleading, iron bars slamming shut, the creak of leather, chains clinking, the squeak and skitter of rats foraging, the hiss of steam, the slap and crack of a whip, the crunch of bone, rattling chains, the clink and click of gears on torture devices, torturers laughter, swearing, yelling questions, labored breathing, Iron doors swinging shut, the click of a lock, prisoners scraping at the walls, digging at the floor, picking locks all in a hope to escape, footsteps, a stone grinding wheel being turned, sharpening instruments and knives, the stoke and scrape of a fire being tended, water dripping, coughing/chocking noises, the crackle of fire

Smells

Feces, sweat, coppery blood, rot, mildew, oil, smoke, decay, infection (festering wounds, etc), urine, cold stone, iron, briny drinking water, rotten meat, dust, ash, dirt, leather, oiled swords/knives, moldy bread/grain, rust, dank, wet stone

Tastes

Prisoners: blood, oily, brackish water, sweat, rotten or stale food (meat, bread, scraps, weevil-spotted gruel) Guards/visitors: Wine, ale, bread, cheese, meat, meals from the castle kitchens, stew

Touch

Tight leather straps or manacles on wrists and ankles, the drag of a chain, fingers wrapped around cold steel bars, scraping up food from the floor with fingers, fending off other prisoners, sweat and blood running down forehead or trickling down sides, probing a wound or bruise, eyes/face swollen after a beating, scuffing bare feet against the cold dirt floor, drawing up legs tight to the body to protect oneself, hanging limp between captors, feet dragging along the flagstones, fiery cuts on the back from a lash, the drag of body weight against ankles, a noose being drawn tight on the throat, restricting breath, running fingers along cracks in the stone, looking for weakness, pulling at chains where they are welded into the walls, flinching in pain from a tool or brand, struggling against captors, reaching out to a guard or trying to catch the hem or boot of a visitor, begging for mercy and release, fingering filthy clothing, scratching at greasy, lice ridden hair, probing and shaking at the bars and grates, sharpening old bones/bowls into weapons or digging instruments, pain, aches, burns, cuts, bruises, broken bones, the cold floor & stone stealing heat and seeping into flesh, flinching & searing eye pain at the sight of bright light

Helpful hints:


--The words you choose can convey atmosphere and mood.

Example 1:

I huddled in the corner, shivering and burning in turns, the fiery cuts on my back weeping steadily. Shaking, I closed my eyes and touched a dry spot on the wall, moving my finger in soft, slow strokes. In my mind I saw Mary, sweet Mary, and held onto her smiling face until I could no longer ignore the approaching heavy footsteps of Hudo, my captor, torturer and soon, executioner.

Example 2:

Lady Marcus stepped off the final dusty stair and immediately pressed a handkerchief to her nose. Good lord, the smell was worse than the a room full of chamber pots! She hurriedly followed Captain Heeth down the flickering corridor, squeaking and jumping back as grime-streaked arms reached through the steel bars of cells. One bony finger grazed the edge of her green silk hem and her gorge rose. The moment she returned to her rooms, she would send out the dress to be burned.

--Similes and metaphors create strong imagery when used sparingly.

Example 1: (Simile)


The chain attached to my ankle cuff slithered across the floor behind me like a dead snake.

Example 2: (Metaphor)

The giant man approached in heavy, deliberate steps, his smile a flash of black decay. A bloodied leather apron covered his sweaty girth and he carried a maul in one hand. I wept as the demon's thick hand grabbed a handful of the rags I wore and pulled me out of my cell.

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Symbolism Thesaurus Entry: A Fall from Grace

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:

A fallen bird's nest
Rock slide
A broken tree top
A crumbled cliff face
Mudslide
Flooding caused by a beaver dam
Destruction caused by weather
An uprooted tree
A tree stump
An animal abandoned by the pack (the loser in a contest for dominance, illness, etc)
A bird/squirrel/rodent being driven from an area by others of its species
A lake turned slew
Polluted rivers
Wilted flowers
Rotten fruit beneath a tree
An old forest fire site
Clear-cut logging sites

In Society:

A decorated cake upside down on the floor (fallen)
A store sign crashing to the ground
Abandoned buildings
A church confessional
Building demolitions
Crumbling landmarks (statues, iconic historical sites/buildings, etc)
Dock pilings jutting out of the water, the dock long rotted away
Sunken ships
Rust spots on a vehicle
Auto junk yards
Abandoned vehicles ravaged for parts and left on the side of the road/in empty fields or lots
Closed up hospitals, schools, businesses
Going out of business signs
Litter clogged streets
Sheets hung on windows instead of curtains
A dilapidated barn
A house with a sagging roof and peeling paint
An abandoned mansion, castle, church or plantation
A fence with rotten or missing boards
An old car spewing black exhaust & loud muffler
Old pools with a layer of leaves and debris on the bottom
Closed down gas stations & motels
Parking lots pavement riddled with heaving, cracks and weed tufts
A weed-filled garden
A stock market crash
Bankruptcy
Repo companies
A towing truck pulling a vehicle away
An impound lot
A jail cell
Hand cuffs
Neon lighting (for businesses) with burnt out or flickering lights
Zombies
Prisoners of war
A team being booed by a crowd
Exiled presidents, de-throned monarchy
Poverty/homelessness
A child standing in the corner as punishment
Being grounded
Detention Hall
Being called to the Principal's office
A prison jumper

These are just a few examples of things one might associate with A Fall From Grace. Some are more powerful than others. An abandoned, crumbling mansion is a strong symbol, and likely will not require reinforcement. However, a fallen nest may not foreshadow a fall from grace on its own. Let the story's tone decide if one strong symbol or several smaller ones work the best.
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April Fools Winner!


The god of Random Number Generators chooses...Sarah Templeton! Congrats to everyone for a successful day of pranks! I enjoyed reading about all of your exploits.

Sarah, you can send me your first 1000 words at the email listed here whenever it's polished and ready for feedback (attachment fine). Just put April Fools Winner in the subject line.

Thanks everyone for playing!

What's Your April Fool? CONTEST


Hi folks! I hope everyone is busy pranking away on this fabulous day. I'm taking a mini blog break and getting out of dodge with the family for a few days, so I thought I'd leave a contest for you while I'm away to encourage you to pull an April Fools prank if you haven't already done so.

THE CONTEST:

Post in the comments about a prank you pulled today.

ANGELA'S BIG FAT RULES:

The prank has to be real, and you are the mastermind who pulled it off. Not something you wish you'd done, not something that Sally in the next cubicle over pulled on her half-second-cousin twice removed, and you overheard because you were eavesdropping on her juicy phone call instead of working. It has to be all you, baby.

THE BIG WIN:

An in depth shreddage critique of your first 1000 words of your current MS by random drawing. :)

Well? Get pranking people! Contest winner will be announced Monday!

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