I mentioned symbolism in yesterday’s fangirl post about companion books, which got me thinking. Symbolism crops up a lot in novels, especially in popular ones. The Twilight covers all symbolize something. Harry Potter carries a lot of it in everything from names (which I’ve already talked about) to the type of wood used in wands.
I’m not even going to mention The Hunger Games. You’re probably sick of me fangirling about that anyway.
But does a book need symbols to be popular? Sure, they add a heck of a lot of depth to the book, and create a better way of storytelling, but not every good book has so many symbols. (But I can’t be sure on that front. As I mentioned yesterday, I’m not the type to recognize that sort of thing. At least not much. All I’m saying is it’s a good thing we went over Animal Farm in reading class.)
I don’t think a book absolutely needs to have this stuff to make it big. I do think, though, that for a YA book (which is the genre I’m interested in) to gain a substantial adult audience, the way all three series above did (I think I’ll call them the Big Three), a book needs something deeper, something more than love triangles and ohmygosh who am I going to the dance with??? And a lot of the time that richer element comes from intricate symbolism that is woven throughout the story.
And the rest of the time it comes from, well, books having a much better plot than above dancing.
And there’s where I come to a halt: I’m not good at symbolism. At least not yet. Which means I can’t put it into my stories without everything being really cheesy. I can’t even imagine the first step in creating a good symbol. Do other authors even do it consciously? I read once that Rick Riordan didn’t even realize one of his books had symbolism.
So does this inadequacy mean I’m not going to be a super popular writer? Maybe. Maybe not. It all depends on what I’m able to write, if my plot is good enough to go on without symbolism.
Sigh. That’s really too bad, because I absolutely love reading books with symbols in them. You know, at least the ones I can spot.
WHY IS BEING A WRITER SO HARD???