Every family seems to gain a whole collection of Christmas decorations. One of my favorites as a child was the Christmas mouse. It came with a 3D backdrop piece of a fireplace, and a little rug. The little mouse had a traditional Christmas hat on and was curled up, sleeping. Not stirring, and waiting for Santa to come.
This little piece sparked my imagination and my siblings and I came up with a new game to play. With the furniture rearranged to accommodate for the tree, we found fun spaces we could crawl through. So, we would “scamper” around pretending to be mice. We only did this during Christmas time, so the game was called Christmas Mice.
Now I associate setting up Christmas decorations with that little game. I’m reminded of the excitement and simplicity of a child at Christmas. Having the complete awe while staring at a lit tree, or houses lined with lights, is something I miss. I’d like to be able to see the world the way I used to see it at Christmas time.
We all have symbols in our lives that remind us of our childhood or other good memories. Sometimes they are no more than little reminders. But there are some symbols that become anchors for us. I’ve had little memories turn into fully developed story ideas that I want to write a novel about. Other ideas just make me smile.
For me, the game I used to play with my siblings is a symbol of how I’d like my holidays to feel. A mouse decoration of some kind, represents awe, creativity, and humility that I used to have every December.
Christmas usually has a lot of symbols and reminders for people. But symbols are found even during other times of the year. These add to our personality and how we see things, it’s part of our character. Special moments in our lives shape us. And the reminders are what keep us going in that direction.
Be aware of what memories you hold onto and what you choose to remember as your symbols. This makes a difference in what you become and how you choose to live in the years to come. I remember Christmas representing a time of excitement and imagination, being in complete awe, and also being humble because of the kindness I am able to see and try to reciprocate.
Use this same principle in the creation of your characters. The past really does shape who a character is, and certain things will act as symbols and cause them to make choices and changes because of them.
Look at some of the symbols and memories from you life, you may have the beginnings of a story there. If you need a refresher in developing ideas, read about Making Potions. Along with this, be aware of the message that is conveyed with the symbols you choose to include in your writing. They are instilled in you and in the reader.