The Write Practice

The Online Writing Workbook

Inanimate Object [writing prompt]

PRACTICE

In general, telling a story from the point of view of an inanimate object isn’t usually a good idea. But it is a good way to get your creative juices flowing. Since the practice is warm-up, let’s warm up by telling the story from the perspective of someone who cannot tell it.

For fifteen minutes, write from the point of view of an inanimate object witnessing the scene unfold.

When time is up, post your practice in the comments and be sure to comment on some other practices.

photo credit

photo credit: Express Monorail via photopin cc

About Joe Bunting

Joe Bunting is a writer and entrepreneur. He is the author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller Let's Write a Short Story! and the co-founder of Story Cartel. You can follow him on Twitter (@joebunting).

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  • http://www.thestewardshipsentinel.com/ Adam Miller, CFP®, CAP®
    • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

      Nice! I once had some characters argue over price without ever stating a dollar amount.
      “A Franklin? You want Ben? Please! I’ll give you a Jackson.”

      • Winnie

        I read a story where they spoke about ‘dead presidents.’

  • AmyZ

    She lays on me all the time. Talking on the phone. Drinking her wine. Oh and that dog of hers always running back and forth leaving shit in my crevices. It’s disgusting. He stinks. She has been spending more time here with me. She sleeps on me many nights when I know she has a perfectly good bed in the back of the house. He is very mad about this. She has started some sort of new relationship. She gets up and checks her email way more than she use to. She finally made a call this morning and talked inappropriately for a long time. I wonder if he knows. I think she drinks too much but what do I know, I’m a couch.

    • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

      Great awkward opening line. :)

    • Winnie

      Nice air of mystery about the whole thing.

  • BernardT

    Nice challenge: here is a little something, with the added challenge of writing in the first person without using “I”……

    Here we go, it looks like we’re in business. The waitress, that tall one with the slight limp who never smiles, is leading a couple over. Middle aged, probably married – yes, she’s got a ring on. Always a good place to look to get some early gen on who you’re dealing with. The question now will be – to each other?

    They take their seats, he seems to be very keen to take care of her, making sure she gets the seat she wants – look, it will be the one facing the restaurant, you idiot, women never want to sit with their back to everyone else, they don’t want to miss a moment of the action. The waitress hands over the menus and recites the day’s specials, though why she bothers when the blackboard is only a couple of metres away, nobody knows.

    Pay attention now. Listen in to the conversation, you don’t want to be unprepared, like that time when the man with the funny hat and the eye patch decided to chow off to his lady friend by attempting to whip out the table cloth without disturbing anything. That was a Very Unfortunate Incident, to be sure. He’s asking her what kinds of things she likes: aha, they don’t know each other very well. Maybe it’s even a first date, they are always good entertainment.

    But no, she’s talking about some incident in their past, when they were away in Las Vegas together, they can’t be new to each other after all. This could be interesting. Just follow along for a moment, see where they go: he remembers that time, he’s describing it … urghh, that was definitely Too Much Information, we really didn’t need to know what you both got up to with the leather jacket and the riding whip, thank you very much.

    Now we’re onto slightly safer ground – he’s talking about his wife, in the third person. That settles it, they’re not married. He’s using the past tense but that’s not definitive, he might be widowed or then again she might have run off, you can’t always tell. She seems to know the wife, she’s talking about her. That wasn’t very nice, there’s no need to be quite so rude about someone behind their back, you know.

    Right, here comes the food. He’s asking her to pass the salt – here we go – ouch, that hurt, there’s no need to bang my ass like that!

    • Bookmark

      Clever. I liked it.

    • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

      Way to take the prompt and further challenge yourself. Well done.

    • GuesD

      if you haven’t already, stop whatever the hell you’re doing and start a career as a writer!! Brilliant, man!!

    • Li

      Wow, great. You made it look easy.

    • Steve Stretton

      Very clever, liked the ending, it was quite mysterious until the final sentence.

    • Chase G

      I dig. Very nice!

    • BernardT

      Thanks, all, for the supportive comments, much appreciated.

    • Winnie

      Take it further and you’ve got a winner.

  • Bookmark

    I don’t have a birthday because I don’t remember when I was created, but I have a long history. There I was, sitting among all those whom I considered to be not as pretty as I, and I had seen some of them go on to more exciting places. One day a girl, of 15 or 16 years, came in and looked around. I didn’t pay much attention to her because girls of her age usually wanted blingy things and I didn’t qualify for bling I am more tailored and classic. Then she picked me up and asked how much it would cost to buy me. I heard, “You can it for $.50″. What a shock when she said, “I love this pin. I’ll take it”. That was in the middle 1950′s and we’ve been together ever since. I went to school with her, I went on dates and to dances. Everyone admired me.

    At first she wore me often and as she grew up an acquired more costly things, she would sometimes leave me at home. Even so, I’ve been in 49 of the 50 states. I have adorned clothing from casual to more dressy. A jeweler once asked if he could examine me because he felt that I had mistakenly been put in a less expensive section than I should have been. Neither of us was disappointed when it was determined that I was not made of gold but we were comfortable knowing that we had been made for each other.

    I spend most days on a padded board, hung on the wall, with some finer jewelry but I have the honor of knowing that I was the first. The day will come when I will be given to someone else and I hope that that person will be capable of showing me the love I have known for over 58 years.

    • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

      That’s awesome. What a great sentimental story. Not something I would expect from a pin. A teddy bear or ring, yes, but I like the pin.

      • Bookmark

        Thanks, Katie. Its a beautiful pin and I still love it.

    • GuesD

      I love how people’s creativity is allowed to run wild and still lands on the most obvious things and makes great stories out of that :)))

  • http://pickadirectionandgo.blogspot.com/ mickholt

    I wrote a short script based on this idea. It was the perspective of some lawn chairs, a table, the pool, a beach ball and the diving board. I called it “Patio Woes”

    • http://KatieAxelson.com/ Katie Axelson

      That sounds like it’d be quite entertaining

      • http://pickadirectionandgo.blogspot.com/ mickholt

        It was cute. At least I thought so. Well, me and my mother. If I can find the notebook where I wrote it I’ll type it and post it.

  • Steve Stretton

    I wish they wouldn’t just kick me over like that. I’m a chair, and I’m used to being treated with some respect. I’m no ordinary chair, I have a heritage. And yet they stand on me and then kick me over. I should be sat on with care and lifted if they want to move me, not dragged about. And they take other liberties. They tie people to me and beat them. That is no way to treat me. I have a history. I am a respectable chair and I resent this impertinence. Once I was sat on by the president of my owner’s company. He was a refined man and I was proud to support him. Another time a famous sportsman sat on me. I was fascinated by his anecdotes of the games he had played and the people he had met. Now I lie on my back and watch her hanging there. None of the others had the courtesy to lift me up, they just left. I’m sure the light fitting is as annoyed as I am. People take such liberties of us furniture. They treat us like, well, furniture. We’re more than that.

    • GuesD

      I like how you gave it an extra edge with the suicide (or murder?) thing… good practice!

    • Chase G

      Good. I think it was a bit overt though. In my humble opinion, I’d tell less, show more, but all in all, great piece!

    • Winnie

      I like ” i was proud to support him (the president).

  • GuesD

    “It happened just as I sat here motionless.”

    Mug and Bucket sat enraptured, listening to the master.

    Mop had always been, since the day he was brought to the house, the most famous guy in their dwelling, because of his ability to narrate even the most mundane events brilliantly.

    Visitors from remote corners of the house arrived night after night to listen to him, and revel in the glory of a great storyteller. This night, as Mug and Bucket sat closest to Mop, they were joined by almost everyone from the house. The Lipsticks, Spoons, Forks, Bottles, Pens, all the rest of the families were present. The Chairs and Tables from the drawing and dining room stood at the door (for they couldn’t fit through it), shoving at each other to get a good look at Mop. Dimly lit by the street-light, the bathroom plunged into silence as Mop stopped to catch a breath.

    “Mary,…. you know Mary is, right?” asked Mop.

    Everyone knew Mary. Of course they did! She was their owner. But in Mop’s stories you were always involved.

    “Yes we do!” shouted everyone together.

    “Good..good,.. well, Mary came in through Door…”

    “Yes, yes, she opened me wide and stepped into the toilet!” interjected Door.

    “Yeees.. she came, took off the towel wrapped around her body (Toothpaste twins nudged each other with a playful grin) and stepped into the bathtub.”

    “That she did.” concurred Bathtub.

    “Well, she lay there for a long time, soaking in the water, when I suddenly heard Door creak open a bit.”

    “Yes! A man forced me open. I swear to God I tried to stop him! I swear I did!” said Door.

    “It’s alright, Door dear, we know you tried.” consoled Tap.

    “Hmm.. well, next second the man, with a black mask on his head, streaked across the whole toilet in a flash and reached Mary at the bathtub. Mary tried to shout but he quickly placed a hand on her mouth. Then he swiftly took out a knife and slashed her throat with it!”

    “Ah!!” cried the Spoons and Forks in unison.

    “Well, after that he pulled his mask off his face and believe it or not, I saw who it was!”

    “Who was it? Who was it?” A clamor broke out and everyone urged Mop to tell the identity of the man. “Please tell us, Mop, please! Won’t you??!!!”

    “Of course, of course.” Mop said self-importantly, “Well, it was….”

    “That is SO not what happened!” said a snobbish Lipstick.

    Everyone stared at her, with wide eyes, as no one had ever been audacious enough to tell Mop that he was wrong, let alone call him a liar.

    “It did indeed!” said Mop defensively.

    “No, it didn’t! Here’s how it really went….” said the Lipstick as everyone turned towards her to listen to her tale.

  • Guest

    “It happened just as I sat here motionlessly.”

    Mug and Bucket sat enraptured, listening to the master.

    Mop had always been, since the day he was brought to the house, the most famous guy in their dwelling, because of his ability to narrate even the most mundane events brilliantly.

    Visitors from remote corners of the house arrived night after night to listen to him, and revel in the glory of a great storyteller. This night, as Mug and Bucket sat closest to Mop, they were joined by almost everyone from the house. The Lipsticks, Spoons, Forks, Bottles, Pens, all the rest of the families were present. The Chairs and Tables from the drawing and dining room stood at the door (for they couldn’t fit through it), shoving at each other to get a good look at Mop. Dimly lit by the street-light, the bathroom plunged into silence as Mop stopped to catch a breath.

    “Mary,…. you know Mary is, right?” asked Mop.

    Everyone knew Mary. Of course they did! She was their owner. But in Mop’s stories you were always involved.

    “Yes we do!” shouted everyone together.

    “Good..good,.. well, Mary came in through Door…”

    “Yes, yes, she opened me wide and stepped into the toilet!” interjected Door.

    “Yeees.. she came, took off the towel wrapped around her body (Toothpaste twins nudged each other with a playful grin) and stepped into the bathtub.”

    “That she did.” concurred Bathtub.

    “Well, she lay there for a long time, soaking in the water, when I suddenly heard Door creak open a bit.”

    “Yes! A man forced me open. I swear to God I tried to stop him! I swear I did!” said Door.

    “It’s alright, Door dear, we know you tried.” consoled Tap.

    “Hmm.. well, next second the man, with a black mask on his head, streaked across the whole toilet in a flash and reached Mary at the bathtub. Mary tried to shout but he quickly placed a hand on her mouth. Then he swiftly took out a knife and slashed her throat with it!”

    “Ah!!” cried the Spoons and Forks in unison.

    “Well, after that he pulled his mask off his face and believe it or not, I saw who it was!”

    “Who was it? Who was it?” A clamor broke out and everyone urged Mop to tell the identity of the man. “Please tell us, Mop, please! Won’t you??!!!”

    “Of course, of course.” Mop said self-importantly, “Well, it was….”

    “That is SO not what happened!” said a snobbish Lipstick.

    Everyone stared at her, with wide eyes, as no one had ever been audacious enough to tell Mop that he was wrong, let alone call him a liar.

    “It did indeed!” said Mop defensively.

    “No, it didn’t! Here’s how it really went….” said the Lipstick as everyone turned towards her to listen to her tale.

  • GuesD

    “It happened just as I sat here motionlessly.”

    Mug and Bucket sat enraptured, listening to the master.

    Mop had always been, since the day he was brought to the house, the most famous guy in their dwelling, because of his ability to narrate even the most mundane events brilliantly.

    Visitors from remote corners of the house arrived night after night to listen to him, and revel in the glory of a great storyteller. This night, as Mug and Bucket sat closest to Mop, they were joined by almost everyone from the house. The Lipsticks, Spoons, Forks, Bottles, Pens, and all the rest of the families were present. The Chairs and Tables, from the drawing and dining room, stood at the door (for they couldn’t fit through it), shoving at each other to get a good look at Mop. Dimly lit by the street-light, the bathroom plunged into silence as Mop stopped to catch a breath.

    “Mary,…. you know who Mary is, right?” asked Mop.

    Everyone knew Mary. Of course they did! She was their owner. But in Mop’s stories you were always involved.

    “Yes we do!” shouted everyone together.

    “Good..good,.. well, Mary came in through Door…”

    “Yes, yes, she opened me wide and stepped into the toilet!” interjected Door.

    “Yeees.. she came, took off the towel wrapped around her body (Toothpaste twins nudged each other with a playful grin) and stepped into the bathtub.”

    “That she did.” concurred Bathtub.

    “Well, she lay there for a long time, soaking in the water, when I suddenly heard Door creak open a bit.”

    “Yes! A man forced me open. I swear to God I tried to stop him! I swear I did!” said Door.

    “It’s alright, Door dear, we know you tried.” consoled Tap.

    “Hmm.. well, next second the man, with a black mask on his head, streaked across the whole toilet in a flash and reached Mary at Bathtub. Mary tried to shout but he quickly placed a hand on her mouth. Then he swiftly took out a knife and slashed her throat with it!”

    “Ah!!” cried the Spoons and Forks in unison.

    “Well, after that he pulled his mask off his face and believe it or not, I saw who it was!”

    “Who was it? Who was it?” A clamor broke out and everyone urged Mop to tell the identity of the man. “Please tell us, Mop, please! Won’t you??!!!”

    “Of course, of course.” Mop said self-importantly, “Well, it was….”

    “That is SO not what happened!” said a snobbish Lipstick.

    Everyone stared at her, with wide eyes, as no one had ever been audacious enough to tell Mop that he was wrong, let alone call him a liar.

    “It did indeed!” said Mop defensively.

    “No, it didn’t! Here’s how it really went….” said the Lipstick as everyone turned towards her to listen to her tale.

    • Steve Stretton

      Love the ending, leaving the reader wondering just what did happen.

      • GuesD

        thanks :))

    • Li

      Fun, for a murder scenario ; ) the tone was innocent but the subject terrifying.

      • GuesD

        I don’t know.. something about “talking things around the house” makes my mind write in a childish way… weird!! … thanks for reading :))

  • Li

    She’s come back. We share everything, well most things. It’s an intimate relationship, lord knows I am her slave. When she comes to me, sometimes doubtfully, each morning I ignore her sour breath and present to her a perfect reflection. All these years we have returned to one another, simply to be in one another’s glance. We are not always happy, but we can be honest, and there aren’t too many relationships that can boast such painstaking depth. Surprises abound, did you expect monotony? On the contrary, one afternoon I gave her such a scare, out of cruelty I confess. She put on that little black cotton dress, casual but tight fitting. She walked right up to me with such confidence, and I knew, I knew she expected to be flattered. Well, my life would be worth little if I never stretched the truth. I mean I never said I wanted to be stuck in here waiting to smile at all her smiles and count the whiskers on her chin, so that she could run around the world seeing new faces! And places! And half the time we just stand grimacing at one another. So, just for fun I distorted myself and we both cried. I am a clever artist, but she wont acknowledge this, just cries and cries piteously, ignoring my will altogether. If I could trade places with her for one day, I’d make her smile or better yet I’d leave her to wonder all day, as I do in here, when she goes and is away all day. She’s completely ungrateful.

    • BernardT

      Nice. I expect there are quite a few people (dare I say women?) who feel their mirrors are deliberately distorting themselves!

      • Bookmark

        I have a magic weapon to combat distortion, I remove my glasses and I look great..

    • GuesD

      “So, just for fun I distorted myself and we both cried.” classic!! great practice;))

    • Winnie

      If mirrors could talk!

  • Chase G

    There she goes again. Why does she do this to herself? Like every Sunday morning, she wakes up from the spot she fell, uses the door jam to pull herself up, she stubs her toe on the nearest piece of furniture, curses, and makes her way to the toilet. She prays in a tongue that sounds like she is yelling at the blender in his native tongue for a good two minutes. By the time she finishes, her hair looks like undercooked pasta. She usually stops before the blender gets too self-conscious, (although I thought I saw some pureed ice on the counter).

    She opens the door and stares at the light emanating from Decker. He shows her his butter tray. I was unimpressed, but she seemed transfixed. Maybe she has a thing for guys who can provide a stable environment. After he can no longer hum out bad pick-up lines, silence falls over the kitchen. This brings her out of her oogling. The then grabs a bag of Saralee Wheat bread and threw it next to me. This got me all excited. She’s going to plug me in!

    After what seemed like hours of hope, I began to feast on ampic ambrosia. This gives me the strength I need to take care of her… poor girl…

    She dials me to a setting that makes me uncomfortable. I don’t think she needs that much fiber, but I say nothing. Heaven forbid she sticks me in the cabinet. They haven’t paid the electric bill there in years!

    She shoves Saralee in my back and stares at the orange glow I’ve been perfecting for years. After doing my neon dance for as long I as I can stand it, I push out two pieces of perfectly toasted charcoal.

    Even though she looks mad, I can tell she admires my handiwork as it moves from her plate to the garbage.

    Not everyone can toast like that!

  • Winnie

    Yesterday he didn’t show up. Actually for the last two weeks he‘s missed his morning call.
    I can hear him stirring next door to me. The birds are singing outside already,
    the east is lightening.
    He’s late again.
    Still, today is Monday, Blue Monday, like all the rest. I’ll give him an extra ten minutes under the blankets.
    He’s dressing, now he’s shuffling past, yawning, into the bathroom. I bet he’s staring at himself in the mirror. He does this every morning.
    Doesn’t he know once you start, it gets easier as you go along. It’s the sense of
    having put it past you, successfully, that’s the cherry on the top.
    Wait! He’s coming in. He’s switched on the Internet. Is he just going to browse through email again, and then wander off for a cup of coffee?
    Wait for it. The suspense is killing me.
    Yippee! He’s drawn me out of the corner. And switched me on. He’s fingers start moving over the keyboard, one eye on the clock.
    Attaboy. Go for it. As his reading lamp I get to see what he writes when he get up, before the birds, and nudges his muse awake, gets the creative juices flowing.
    I don’t really care what he writes the rest of the day. I just know this brain
    dump exercise is vital. This early morning session sets the tone for the rest
    of his day.

    Is it writer’s block, forgetfulness, or procrastination. Which is another word for
    laziness.
    There you have it: a problem for the experts – is writer’s block another name for
    s—h?

  • Adalind Monroe

    THE TEAPOT

    The kids didn’t come ’round anymore. No one really came ’round anymore.

    The teapot looked out from the china cabinet at an empty dining room, the table and chairs long since covered in sheets to protect against the dust. Wan, yellow light occasionally spilled from between the drapes hung across the windows to the back porch. It remembered warm summer days and tea with the children, their laughter echoing through its steaming interior, dampened only slightly by the tea cozy She would wrap around it. Those were the happy days.

    All too soon it seemed its adventures beyond the china cupboard became rare and infrequent, only seeing the occasional tea cup when the nurses served Her in the cool shadows of the bedroom. Eventually, even the nurses stopped bringing it out, even to keep it free of dust and ready for Her need.

    The lights went out, and the furniture was shrouded. The nurses left, and the house become still.

    Then the lights came back, but She was not with them. People, people it had never seen milled about the house, touching chairs, moving paintings, and rummaging through drawers. The teapot was taken from the cupboard and turned every which-way. So many hands, so many faces.

    Finally, a warm pair of hands, hands it knew had touched a life-time, held it close. These hands felt right. They weren’t Her hands, but they were like Her hands.

    She spoke to a man and gave him something. The teapot wore newspaper as it had worn the cozy She had knit for it before. Nestled in its newspaper bed, it dreamed. It dreamed of new children, new laughter to hold in its belly on summer afternoons. It dreamed of new teas, teas it had never before brewed.
    It dreamed of a new kitchen and a new Her to whom it could belong and serve faithfully.

    It dreamed. And when it woke, it was upon a new shelf, with new cups and chinaware. Light poured in through open windows with sheer, airy curtains spread wide to welcome it in. It woke to the feeling of home, and a new sense of purpose.

    She looked at it, and it looked at Her, and She smiled.

    It was home.