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Props for Characters: Toys, Games, and Other Items

“Props for Characters: Toys, Games, and Other Items” by Joan Y. Edwards

Use everyday items or games as props to represent one of your characters. Download images of the them and put them in the draft of your story. It’ll help spur your imagination.

Make use of the power of three meaningful props or the intensity of having only one. Here are two beginning sentences for stories:

  • “Three things were important to Slade Malone: his knife, his car, and his crockpot.”
  • “There was one thing that Josh Ingalls was afraid of. It was the bull in his neighbor’s yard.”

Think about your favorite games. It’s fun to play old games, a new game, or create a new game yourself.

Choose a toy that would be significant to a child in one of your stories. Why is it important to him? What if someone stole this toy? What would your character do?

What would a parent do that couldn’t afford or couldn’t buy the “in-thing for their children for Christmas?

What if a man kidnaps a child. She begs the kidnapper to let her take 3 toys with her. She is smart enough to drop the toys with notes attached.

Here are links to toys from 1920’s to 1990’s.

http://www.thepeoplehistory.com/toys.html 1920’s-1990’s

The old games I played when I was younger: 1940-1950 tricycle, playing in dirt, hopscotch, jump rope, double-Dutch jump rope, marbles, jacks, basketball, riding a bike, climbing and sitting in an apple tree, Canasta, Rummy, Go-Fish, Old Maid, Crazy Eights, Parcheesi, Solitaire, Penny ante Poker, Slap Jack, Chinese Checkers, humming lariats, slingshots, nets to catch butterflies and let them go, make and fly a kite from sticks and newspaper, softball, dodgeball, dolls: porcelain miniatures, dolls with balloon bellies, Toni Home Permanent  dolls, doctors, nurses, teacher and class, One Potato, Two Potato, roller skate, reading books, Pik up Stiks

1950-1960 Teenager Penny-ante Poker, Slap Jack, Ball room dancing, square dancing, Mexican Hat Dance, roller skate,  reading books

 1960’s Twister, Clue, Play-Doh

1970’s http://gamesweplayed.com/2010/04/02/board-games-we-played-in-the-1970s/

1980’s Trivial Pursuit Games go Electronic – Pacman Space Invaders, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Simon, Simon http://www.80smusiclyrics.com/games.shtml

1990’s http://www.squidoo.com/kids-of-the-90s-nostalgia-trip-games-tv-shows-crazes-fashion-toys-nostalgic-uk-children-films

If you’re not into toys, choose an item from a different category…tools, shoes, suits, socks, cooking utensils, fishing rods, cars, books, chairs. These could be props to represent 3 strengths or weaknesses of a character.

In a murder mystery, there could be 3 clues. In a romance, 3 traits the girl wants her beloved to have…three traits that she hates…that disgust her. Those are the ones the guy who wants to date her has. Opposites attract.

I hope you discover fun props to ponder for your characters.

Here are articles about using props with your writing:

  1. Writing with Props…http://erikamarks.wordpress.com/2011/02/17/writing-with-props-and-i-dont-mean-the-thumbs-up-variety/
  2. Using Props in Presentations http://www.speakernetnews.com/post/props.html
  3. Public Speaking: Props http://www.public-speaking.org/public-speaking-props-article.htm
  4. Character Interview on TV http://ywp.nanowrimo.org/ms_lesson14

Here are links to my whole series on Props for Stories:

  1. You are reading this one. Joan Y. Edwards. “Props for Characters: Toys, Games, and Other Items:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2011/09/21/props-for-characters-toys-games-and-other-items/
  2. Joan Y. Edwards. “Image Props for Stories #1:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/01/02/image-props-for-stories-1-all-that-was-left-a-stapler-a-money-bag-and-a-bird-ornament/
  3. Joan Y. Edwards. “Image Props for Stories #2:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/01/16/image-props-for-stories-2-bananas-scissors-a-vacuum-cleaner-and-a-ferris-wheel/
  4. Joan Y. Edwards. “Image Props for Stories #3:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/01/23/image-props-for-stories-3-a-basketball-a-pillow-and-a-pair-of-boots/
  5. Joan Y. Edwards. “Image Props for Stories #4:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/01/30/image-props-for-stories-4-a-remote-control-a-basket-of-flowers-and-a-bandage/
  6. Joan Y. Edwards. “Image Props for Stories #5:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/02/14/image-props-for-stories-5-love-bug-dogcat-and-love-letter/
  7. Joan Y. Edwards. “Image Props for Stories #6:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/image-props-for-stories-6-coffee-maker-earphones-and-a-lamp/
  8. Joan Y. Edwards. “Image Props for Stories #7:” https://joanyedwards.wordpress.com/2012/08/29/image-props-for-stories-7-pay-phone-blue-wildflowers-and-fast-moving-river/

Thank you for reading my blog. May God bless you abundantly.

Please leave a comment below. I enjoy hearing from you.

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Joan Y. Edwards

Copyright © 2011 Joan Y. Edwards


6 Responses

  1. Choosing a prop or toy to represent a character helps the writer to keep a visual of that character. Thanks for sharing this great idea.

    Linda A.


    • Dear Linda, Thanks for taking time out of your ultra busy schedule after working all day to post your comment. I am honored. I agree with you that a prop or toy gives the writer a visual of that character in his mind. Do something fun for you!

      Add Color to Your Life

      Play. Laugh. Smile. Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.com


  2. Joan,
    I never thought of using props for my characters. This is a great idea. What I do,do is look at magazines and look for pictures of what my characters would look like. I write sweet romance.


    • Dear June, Thanks for writing. I’m glad you think that using props for your characters is a great idea. Your idea of looking at magazines for pictures of what your characters look like is an excellent idea. It gives you a concrete visual to describe. Awesome! Thanks for sharing. Good luck with your publishing dreams.

      Add Color to Your Life

      Play. Laugh. Smile. Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.com


  3. thanks for the blog. adding it to my :writing for children” class wiki now!


    • Dear Carol, It is good to hear from you. I hope your classes are going well. Thanks for adding my blog to your “writing for children” class wiki. I hope the writing of your novel is going great! Do something fun for you today.

      Add Color to Your Life

      Play. Laugh. Smile. Joan Y. Edwards http://www.joanyedwards.com


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