Flags. It’s a seemingly simple concept: a piece of cloth with a design on it that represents something.  Simple, right?

The other day, I brought up how I liked a certain flag design I saw on the road, and that led to a discussion on what makes a good flag. And since flags come up in fiction a lot (I recently designed one for my WIP), I decided to record my thoughts here.

Well, one of my thoughts.

Has anyone seen the New York flag before? Or the Pennylvania flag? They’re… well, let’s just say I wouldn’t recommend that type of flag.

I think the best flags, in both real life and in fiction, are those easily replicated. Flags are supposed to represent something – the American flag represents the USA, etc – so a good flag should, at least in part, be able to be reproduced by the members of that something, even if not perfectly.

This applies especially in fiction. Readers love to recreate things from stories, even those who aren’t amazing artists. Keeping a flag – or other symbols in the story – easy to reproduce lets fans recreate it in real life, and that helps keep fans involved.

After all, the point is to engage the reader, right?

Follow me on twitter at @shadoweyeblog