At a fabulous writing workshop yesterday, Camille Minichino introduced the concept of objective correlative. While I had not heard the term before, I was pleased to realize that I had intuitively used the technique in Between Shadow’s Eyes. The idea is nothing new.
T.S. Eliot described it as:
“The only way of expressing emotion in the form of art is by finding an “objective correlative”; in other words, a set of objects, a situation, a chain of events which shall be the formula of that particular emotion; such that when the external facts, which must terminate in sensory experience, are given, the emotion is immediately evoked.”
Typically, the use of a particular object or event is symbolic of a deeper feeling. According to Minichino, the objective correlative should appear within the first three chapters, recur in the novel four to five times, and the character’s relationship to the object should somehow shift. In my book, the objective correlation is a letter written by my protagonist’s deceased father.
Have you ever used an objective corrective in a story? Have you ever used a pet or animal in this capacity? If so, how?