History of things in the physical world

We can add another layer to our descriptions of places and objects by describing their history.

In the light, Corinne noticed an intricate pattern beneath the grime on Bouki’s shirt, a pattern that showed the shirt had once belonged to someone wealthy, maybe, but now was doing the work of keeping a boy’s back from the sun.

In this snippet, Tracey Baptiste points out a pattern in a shirt, and then jumps into the history of the shirt, which also tells us something about the wider world (of rich and poor) and of the character of Bouki.

Here are some examples that use the same pattern:

On the walk back home they passed the Marking Stone. Everyone Kirra knew had their names on that stone, her friends, her parents, even people she’d never met. Dimples in the stone showed where the older names had faded away.

The bright red facade of the brasserie offered a warm contrast to the surrounding townhouses. It hadn’t always looked so inviting. It used to be a run-down lodge for travelling workmen from neighbouring towns. It had gone through quite the transformation since Gustav was a child.

Write your own variation. Choose a detail in your scene, and tell us about some of the history behind that detail (either from real life, or your imagination).