Found Writing Advice #12


This is how writers communicate meaning, using images and symbols woven into their work.

Now, if you are sitting there thinking, “Geez, I need me some more semiotics,” you probably don’t. Most writers get their meaning across without thinking too hard about it. The real work of this is usually done in revisions, when you can pull back a bit and see connections where you hadn’t noticed them when you first set them down, and build up any imagery or symbolism that’s missing.

In fact, I’m going to suggest that this piece of advice is actually about avoiding semiotics. Stay away from the overt chore of any kind of inventory of symbols and images unless you need something to be up front throughout, in which case, do a little search of your document for words related to said image or symbol to check your pacing and see if you need more, or less.

My dear editor, Kelly, just told me to go through my manuscript and search for unicorn and take half of the mentions out. So, don’t be afraid to semiotics all over the place, so long as you’re willing to remove any blunt objects before publishing.