During a season 10 episode of Frasier, the titular character tells his friend and radio producer, Roz, that he’s taking a date to see one of his favorite foreign films, Noch einen Stuhl:

Frasier: It’s the story of a nineteenth-century Austrian family from the point of view of an old fireside armchair.

Roz: I’m sorry, I dozed off. What were you saying?

The concept for this film got me thinking about point of view and perspective when it comes to how we see a scene or chapter seemed perfect for today’s writing exercise.

The Assignment – Part One

Pick a piece of furniture, a light fixture, or other stationary object in your location and write a short story from its perspective describing the space. Remember, since it’s stationary, it can only see what’s around it, so this should be a bit of a challenge.  If you can, sit on or near the piece of furniture and describe the space from that angle and height.

Obviously, if you choose the ceiling fan, don’t climb up and hang on it, but what can be seen by the fan versus a coffee table does make a difference in how the object would perceive the space it’s in.

The Assignment – Part Two

Craft a two-person short story, keeping the perspective of the piece of furniture you chose in Part One. What’s happening between them? Is there conflict? Are you involved (did they place a drink on you if you’re a coffee table?  How do the drinks feel?) or just a passive observer, like a knickknack on a shelf?  What are the object’s thoughts on these two people?

Why Am I Doing This?

Point of View and perspective are important in telling a story, and while we usually rely on the POV of human characters, breaking the mold and experimenting with unique perspectives of objects can show us new ways to approach a chapter, a story beat, or a character moment.  

Try this exercise with a variety of objects in the same room and see how the story changes from each object’s vantage point.

Happy Writing, and I’ll see you next time!

NOTE:  The conversation from Frasier appears in Season 10, Episode 22 of the series.

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