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how to use Anthropomorphism

Discussion in 'Writing Discussions' started by hungry bird, Nov 16, 2020.

  1. hungry bird

    hungry bird New Member

    im writing a short story and want to give voices to butterflies midway through my story but only for one scene. how can I suddenly let them speak? any advice?
    Taniwha and S.T. Ockenner like this.
  2. Taniwha

    Taniwha Scribe

    They communicate by light - visions?
  3. Arranah

    Arranah Troubadour

    I'd say do it whatever way seems right to you. I consider critters of all kinds sentient. To me butterflies are people too.
  4. CupofJoe

    CupofJoe Myth Weaver

    Set up the possibility earlier on... have a duck talk to a sparrow or a character listen to two dogs chatting... or something.
  5. Agreed. Depending on the tone of your story, It could even as simple as a character, early on, relating something they'd overheard from an animal, or sharing advice a friend had received from one.

    An offhanded, "Well, think what you will Amos, but the crow told it true, he did."

    Or something sarcastic?
    Marta leaned in, barely able to stifle her laughter, "She claimed a sparrow set her straight, poor thing. Can you believe it? A sparrow?"

    The hows and whys of butterfly communication don't need explained unless they're important to the story itself but, because it isn't going to occur til the midway point, I'd want to plant that seed of possibility in a reader's head before hand and set up the belief/disbelief in the essential characters etc.

    When it comes to those characters, Is this normal? Is this unusual? Is it a folk tale belief? Is it magic? Is it a fever dream or some ailment? All of that can be set up in a few sentences early on laying the groundwork for the speaking butterfly scene. OR, if it is only the butterflies who speak in this world and only a single character who will ever hear them, again, hint at those limits ahead of time:

    Whenever Marta visited the forest she listened as she never seemed able to in the populated world. In her village, what people blathered on about held so little interest for her, their non stop chatter like the buzzing of flies. But there, among cedars and sword ferns, she believed each living thing around every turn in the path might speak — if only she could quiet herself enough to hear.

    Good luck!
    hungry bird likes this.
  6. Chasejxyz

    Chasejxyz Sage

    Depends on the type of story. If it's a kinda "soft magic" and things are wonderous feeling (like The Last Unicorn) then butterflies talking kinda fits with it and people won't really question it. Since you're writing a short story that will make the most sense.
  7. Electric Bone Flute

    Electric Bone Flute Minstrel

    Is it literal? Maybe it's only those butterflies, who aren't true butterflies, but butterfly-resembling creatures that also talk, or butterflies who have been bestowed talk without being alienated from their peers.
  8. K.S. Crooks

    K.S. Crooks Inkling

    Two possible ways to go about this:
    1. Early in the story mention that butterflies and maybe other things can speak as humans do. You could refer to a previous conversation.
    2. If you story is full of surprises like this then simply pop it in. In a story where one must expect the unexpected, that would be another instance.

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