This weekend, a friend of mine invited me to brunch at her house with her roommates and some other folks. We had crepes, and they were delicious (I would recommend everyone make them at their own brunches). We ended up spending a good chunk of the afternoon discussing cards from this Table Topics deck. Most of the questions were terrible conversation starters (“How would you go about ending homelessness?” Really?). But we found one that dealt with movies, and someone mentioned the Toy Story trilogy, which immediately sent all of us into the nostalgia zone. This also brings me to today’s writing tool: anthropomorphism.

Toy Story AlienPin

Anthropomorphism is when an animal or object is given human traits. These can range from the oft-cited “whispering wind” to the talking toys in the aforementioned Toy Story trilogy. Classical mythology and folktales utilize anthropomorphism frequently, as seen in Aesop’s fables, which frequently include animals or elements of nature that exhibit human tendencies.

Anthropomorphism can be either an additional method of description in your narrative when elaborating on the story’s surroundings, or it can be a key point in the actual storytelling, as in the case of classics like Animal Farm, or Charlotte’s Web. It opens up new avenues for your storytelling.

PRACTICE

Well, you can tell where this is going, right? Write for fifteen minutes, and use anthropomorphism liberally. It can be either in your description of the setting, or maybe you’re telling the story of a pair of skis that somehow end up in a garage sale in Texas. However you choose to direct your practice, post it in the comments when you’re done, and be sure to check out the work of your fellow writers.

Joe Bunting is an author and the leader of The Write Practice community. He is also the author of the new book Crowdsourcing Paris, a real life adventure story set in France. It was a #1 New Release on Amazon. Follow him on Instagram (@jhbunting).

Want best-seller coaching? Book Joe here.

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