May 7 – The Object of the Story

The Prompt

Look at a museum’s website. Find an object. Or an object in the background of a painting. Think about its significance to the culture it belonged to. Write a story about a character in a culture that values such things (real or imagined).


  • If you know a lot about a particular historical culture, you can write about a real culture. Otherwise you’d probably better setting this in a fantasy/futuristic/galaxy far, far away type setting, so that you don’t waste all your writing time researching Incan customs or some such thing.
  • If you’re stuck, write about the culture you know best: yours. What if someone from outside your group (from another societal group, or from the far future) found an object you hold dear. What might they infer about you from that object? Is there a story there?
  • This could be a funny story: if you’re a Doctor Who fan, there’s a lovely moment in one of the Christmas episodes, where the supposed tour-guide instructs his guests on Earth’s Christmastime customs. He gets it hilariously wrong.
  • This could be a tragedy: think of Pompeii…
  • Look at the object. Is it something our culture still values? Why? Why not? What might drive someone to value a huge urn, or a tiny carving of an elephant, or a blue plate with a spiny fish glazed onto it. Does that seem reasonable to you? Why? Why not? Is there a story there?
  • And, not to distract you, but this might be interesting if you’re stuck: Adam Savage on why he’s fascinated by objects.


Post a comment at the blog to let us know you’ve written today, or join the community and post in the Victory Dance Group.

4 thoughts on “May 7 – The Object of the Story”

  1. This turned out very different than I was thinking I’d write. Still, very interesting exercise!

  2. OK, I failed on the museum thing! But I did find an iconic item to write a thousand words or so about.
    I chose the ship of a captain making his way back to Venice after a 2 year trip to the orient, laden with silk and other valuable objects.
    The captain uses the ship as his emotional replacement for his family he left behind in Venice and, as he approaches home, guides him to safety in a huge storm in the Adriatic.
    I was a bit short on research, save from knowing how centralmVenicevwas to world trade at one time (Marco Polo and all that).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

The StoryADay

I, WRITER Course


A 6-part journey through the short story.

Starts July 28, 2023