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Using Objects—A Writer’s Eye

Does everyone recognize what this door leads to?

 

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It’s an elevator. I never gave it much thought until a friend told me she had never seen one of these in real life. It made me take a closer look.

True, new elevators don’t have doorknobs. Or little windows so I can see when it’s coming to my floor. When it stops, I can see inside the elevator car. That’s my cue to grab the doorknob and open the door. (Don’t worry, there’s a safety lock—if the elevator isn’t there, the outer door won’t open.)

But to me, it’s just an elevator. It never occurred to me that there are people in this city who never saw one like this or would be excited to know it exists.

Suddenly, it wasn’t just an elevator anymore. It had possibilities. My fingers twitched even though no solid plot evolved. I know that when I sit down to write about this amazing, magical elevator, the story will come.

Everyone has something right in front of them that they’re not seeing. Take a look around your house. Your street. Look at the buildings, the transportation available, the stores. It’s all magical. You can do a lot with gravel in the driveway.

But what if you don’t write fantasy?

An elevator like this one would be a nice little detail to slip into a description. It offers many meanings as well. Either you’re writing a period piece or your character entered into an old building. Or something else you might think of. You can use it to add depth to the surroundings and then move on.

These are the details that will help make your stories authentic, even in fantasy.

2 Comments
  • jan • June 2, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Very true – it is those little details. I’ve always been fascinated with those cage-like elevators dangling from chains you find in older buildings in Europe. Fascinated and frightened!

    • J. M. Levinton • June 2, 2015 at 9:15 pm

      I didn’t know about those but you just gave me a pretty good visual! 😀

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