Think outside the human (or animal) brain

I’m talking about personification of inanimate objects. I recently got a query letter with such an interesting story. Only problem was, it lacked the children appeal. I suggested to the author of this awesome query that she perhaps personify the main object in the story…the house.

Remember the epic film The Brave Little Toaster? Very few humans in that film. It personified everything from the toaster to the blankey, to the creepy metal machine that obliterated old junk cars (even the old junk cars if memory serves me correctly).

I’m going to be painfully honest: something does not sit right with me when it comes to anthropomorphic animals. Talking animals are as common as talking humans now a days—only there is something covertly sly about them. Anthropomorphic animals have gigantic potential to give me the heebie-jeebies. Not always…just the potential. But give me a house with an attitude? I’m all over that. Especially if it’s perhaps…a haunted house with an attitude? A sassy tea infuser that is picky about the tea leaves placed within her metal perforated belly?

I encourage you to think outside the human and animal brain. I encourage you to look around yourself and assign emotions to the objects in your house. Make homework out of it. You never know what you’ll come up with. And when you do come up with it: Query me!

2 thoughts on “Think outside the human (or animal) brain

  1. I found it interesting that you are suggesting that as writers we personify inanimate objects. At every writers conference I’ve ever attended someone told us the exact opposite. “If it doesn’t have a brain or look like something that has a brain (ie. stuffed animals) don’t dress it up and make it talk.” I posted a story to my critique group this week which started with an apology because I knew was breaking the rule. I had personified the Earth and for the story I had to tell, it had to be done. This definitely can work, look at the popularity of Monster House, but I was always told this type of thing is an exception to the rule. Now you have me all turned around. Are editors changing their opinions about the anthropomorphization of things? What’s the deal?

    • I think as a writer, you do what feels right to you. You are absolutely correct…Monster House was awesome. I think personifying the Earth sounds awesome. I don’t know exactly how editors feel about it, but I know that a good story is a good story…and if it includes a talking earth, so be it!

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