The poetics of your story are expressed through your treatment of Image Systems. Wise use of symbols has tremendous power in our subconscious mind, but be aware of the difference between Image System and Symbolism. Symbolism tends to be on the nose images that will call attention to themselves – a national flag to symbolize patriotism, or a heart representing love. Instead, you want the images to slip into the subconscious mind of your audience – a city becoming a virtual penitentiary, or political corruption presented as “progress”.
View two classic films that show the difference, DIABOLIQUE and CHINATOWN, as examples of Image Systems that use water. Both films subvert water’s traditional, positive connotations and use it to elegantly express a message far more sinister.