I just finished my newest children’s book called I’ll Never Let You Go. It’s the story of Edward (a bear) and his best friend Blankie, a fuzzy blue fabric scrap. Yep, Blankie is as real as any human friend with emotions and idiosyncrasies to match. Cuddly, thoughtful, kind, protective… and afraid of thunderstorms.
People have long attached human qualities to inanimate objects as a way of showing affection, humorizing attachment, and honoring this possession’s important space in our lives. Think boats, cars, computers, bicycles, Pet Rocks, shoes, robes, hammers and of course teddy bears and stuffed lions.
How the addition of an inanimate object can impact your story
When we ponder the players in our plot, we naturally think of the kind that breathe. But what might the addition of a beloved rocking chair, long-worn robe or well-traveled VW Bug add to your story?
1. Objects humanize characters in unexpected ways.
Humorless Lawyer McCloud might evoke unexpected empathy from readers as he props his feet on his late Grandmother Elsie’s favorite footstool.
2. Objects offer new direction for plot lines.
What indeed is the journey of that yellow Pinto that now sits in Tyler’s driveway? Does that impact your story in a significant way?
3. Objects add relationship that might not be found elsewhere
Think Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. As you contemplate connections between your characters, might an inanimate object be a key link between people or among a group?
Let’s get personal with a non-person.
How do you add personality to the inanimate objects in your story?
For today’s practice, write a paragraph that describes the relationship between a main character and a special object of some kind. Perhaps you can show where it came from, how the character feels about it, what qualities the object possesses.
Post your practice in the comments section. And if you post, be sure to give feedback on a few practices by other writers.