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“You enter the extraordinary by way of the ordinary.” ~Frederick Buechner

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Words With Impact: Design Symbols as Images Genre Webs

Workshop: Discover Words That Sing

“That old fossil, those old bones, walk again, and sing and dance and speak with a new tongue. The old stories bridge the centuries.” Jane Yolen

Taking your basic threads and extending them throughout your story can build strong web imagery regardless of genre. Some will be an almost invisible backdrop and then there are some genres that build their stories around a basic practical web that their readers will expect.

In addition to universal symbols, allusion and echoes, “there are also prefabricated symbols whose meaning the audience understands immediately at some level of conscious thought,” says Truby, and they are seen quite clearly in “highly metaphoric genres” that have honed objects in their forms, such as fantasy, horror, and Western.

Even acknowledging that symbols are always ambiguous to some degree the symbols in these categories also represent something within the hero.  Here is his example list for a ‘Myth Symbol Web’.


Think of a fantasy novel you’ve read. How many of these word symbols do you recall being present—if not in common form, what about as concept?

A Mystery Web is another category where readers have specific expectations that they look forward to puzzling out.

Suspect Characters
Clues/Red Herrings

Every genre—every story—has its own web style whether seen or hidden. Movies often explore deep underlying themes, which the viewers did not necessarily notice at first glance. Ordinary images can create impact and build bridges.

Action Steps:

1. Take your central theme for your story and make a list of all the potential links where you could insert an image that undergirds your premise.

2. Make up your own category web for this particular story.

Share: Were you surprised by any symbol theme or image you chose for your web? Why?

Read deep, marcy

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"The Seeker" Rachel Marks | Content Copyright Marcy Weydemuller | Site by Eagle Designs
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