Make an Image become a Symbol

Here’s another creative writing prompt for your 750 words, a challenge to write 750 words each day to better Think Like a Writer. Read more here.


Today, you want to think about creating symbolism in a short piece. This can be powerful stuff in a novel, a short story or even an essay. You want to think about the objects in your story, something concrete, some object you can see or touch or hold. Now you’ll work to add an emotional attachment to that object.

The best way to explain what I mean is with an example. I taught Freshman Composition for seven years. One student wrote an essay about her high school basketball career, how that sport, that team, that basketball court was her life. On the night of her last game of her senior, she walked out of the locker room and her Dad threw her a basketball. She caught it and held it cupped in both hands, a brown globe, a world that had consumed her last four years.

Suddenly that circular shape of the ball becomes a globe, a world that represents much more than just a pebbly brown ball that bounces. It held all her high school memories and it was a poignant moment.

See if you can make that moment happen in your story as you think like a writer.

Start Your Novel

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Start Your Novel by Darcy Pattison
You want to write a novel, but you don’t know where to start. You have a great idea and–well, that’s all. This book explains the writing process of starting a novel in six winning steps.

Starting the Journey
Why Editors Focus on Page 1
STEP ONE: Clarify Your Idea
STEP TWO: Review Your Skills
STEP THREE: Plan the Opening Chapter
STEP FOUR: Plan the Opening Line
STEP FIVE: Now, Write!
STEP SIX: Revise

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5 responses to “Make an Image become a Symbol”

  1. Can I just say I LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog? The best part? You reassure me that, at least some of the time, I actually am thinking like a writer. Thank you!

  2. I love your website as well and this is the year I am going to finish my novel.

    I love this as my story contains a symbol. A handkerchief that her dad wore every day before he died. Now she wears it; loses it and the man that falls in love with the heroine finds it. And he carries it. Eventually he returns it to her.

  3. Nice. Something as simple as a handkerchief can carry so much emotion! Definitely doing it right!