Dec 21, 2017

The Write-A-Story Calendar Day 21: Charged Objects

Okay, listen up. Today we'll try out a cool writer trick: charged objects. A charged object in a story is something that becomes more than the thing itself, a symbol. The classic example is the green light at the end of Daisy's dock in The Great Gatsby, symbolising Gatsby's unattainable dream of a future with her, but it could be anything, even a particularly clever metaphor that you can build on and use in different ways throughout the story.

Using a charged object is a great tool in bringing your theme to life.  Remember, it's supposed to be subtle, not so obvious that it feels like you're bashing your reader on the head with it, so stay away from symbols that have been used so often that they've become clichés and try to resist the impulse to overexplain and underline what you're doing. 

I feel that the best symbols arise organically from your story as you write. Go through your story so far. Does something stand out to you? For today's 350 words, expand on that symbol and create a powerful charged object of your very own. 

You should mention the object at least three times so it sticks in the reader's mind. It should be something that sparks a strong emotional reaction in you, maybe a different one each time it's mentioned. (Think of that green light: what if Daisy were an old woman or dead and Gatsby stood on his dock, watching the light? What if she had moved away? What if the light suddenly wasn't there anymore? What if Gatsby was a horror story, how would you use the light then?) 

Don't have a charged object in the story? You can always add one. If you need inspiration, a symbolism dictionary can be helpful. Here's a link to one online: Dictionary of Symbolism

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