"Do not forget to entertain strangers, for by doing so some people have entertained angels without knowing it." - Hebrews 13:2

Monday, October 8, 2012


Heirloom  (noun)

Merriam-Webster defines heirloom as:

piece of property that descends to the heir as an inseparable part of an inheritance of real property
something of special value handed on from one generation to another
a horticultural variety that has survived for several generations usually due to the efforts of private individuals

In my current WIP, my heroine must leave her home. Along with the necessities, the one thing that she takes with her is a precious family heirloom given to her by the man that she loves. The heirloom once belonged to his dear departed mother—so you know that it is special to him. That heirloom travels with her throughout her journey. It is a gentle reminder of him, and her love for him, even though she is uncertain of his love for her.

Short and simple this week:

Have you ever written an heirloom into your story? Did you give it some focus and importance?


Do you like to read about a precious token given away in love? A special gift kept close to the heart?

Does a small detail like an heirloom, bring flavor and substance to the story?

I would love to hear your views.

Between you, me and the gatepost,



Sandra Orchard said...

I love using symbols like that in my stories. In Deep Cover, my hero had given the heroine a dove ornament that she hung from her car mirror as a reminder that God was looking out for her even when he (the hero) couldn't be. What she didn't know at the time he gave it to her was that he was an undercover cop. But when he saw it still hanging from her mirror over a year after they broke up, it gave him hope. :)

Terri Tiffany said...

Already your story sounds interesting to me! I had an old quilt in one of my books that my MC's mother had made for her.

Karen Lange said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. I might borrow it for the WIP. Done right, I think it makes a great addition to a story.

Happy writing! :)

Julie Jarnagin said...

I love little details like that!

Unknown said...

When I come across an heirloom in a story, I tend to store it in the back of my mind as a plot prop. But when there is a precious memory or promise behind it, it is much more evocative--for instance, I just finished "Promise Me This" by Cathy Golke. Normally, I wouldn't care about packets of flower seedlings, but the passion and love of the man behind them is extremely moving. So yes, it does bring flavor and substance to the story. :-)

Keli Gwyn said...

I love the use of heirlooms in stories. They add a special element.

Lynda R Young as Elle Cardy said...

Yes I do agree that the detail of an heirloom can bring a beautiful richness and depth to the story.

Victoria Lindstrom said...

My WIP also contains an heirloom - a locket. I agree with you Loree; using a speical item in a story seems to add flavor and substance. Thanks!

Jeanette Levellie said...

Although I'm not an heirloom type of lady, I do like them in stories. They represent characters' personalities and motives, I think.

Loree Huebner said...

Sandra: I remember that, Sandra. That was a sweet use of a precious token in a story.

Terri: Old quilts are a symbol of comfort to me. Great idea!

Karen: I do love the idea. Borrow away. You are correct, it must be done right.

Julie: Sometimes details make all the difference.

Gwen: I love the idea of heirloom flower seeds...A bouquet from the past? Awesome!

Keli: You are so right, Keli. They really do add that special element.

Lynda: Yes. It does depend on the heirloom and who is giving it to add the richness.

Victoria: I love lockets! They really are a special piece to pass down.

Jeanette: In your words, "They represent characters' personalities and motives, I think." I think you hit it on the head, Jeanette!

Thanks for dropping in everyone. I love reading your views on this subject.

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Using an heirloom is a great way to introduce backstory. My heroine has an heirloom Bible from her Mom.

Cynthia Chapman Willis said...

The symbolism of an heirloom can add lots of depth, intrigue, backstory, and even mystery to a plot. So, yes, I do like to read about special heirlooms in story lines. And your plot is intriguing! : )

Rosslyn Elliott said...

I do think heirlooms are great plot devices. I also like split chronologies when you see an heirloom in two different time periods.

Loree Huebner said...

Susan: You brought it into the light - BACK STORY! Yes, that's it.

Cynthia: Symbolism, back story, depth...this is what I needed to hear. My hubby and I differ on details like heirlooms, special tokens, or gifts given and kept close to the heart.

Rosslyn: I do like the idea of split chronologies in two time periods - nice touch. You got me thinking here.

Thanks for chiming in everyone!

Anonymous said...

Loree, I love heirlooms and the use of them in our stories. I'm always curious about the sentiment attached to the treasured piece and the history behind it.

(And I've started using a new method to try and comment on blogger/blogspot. Let's see if it works! ;))

Charlotte Brentwood said...

I seem to love using gifts from the hero to the heroine as a symbol of their love throughout the novel. The object must be of special significance to either of their characters, and help to illuminate their internal changes as they find their way to love.

That's the idea, anyway :-)

Loree Huebner said...

Cynthia: YAY Cindy!!! I can finally read your comments! What ever you did...it's working! I'm the same, I wonder about the sentiment and the history! So glad you're finally here!

Charlotte: Very nice. I like the way you said "help to illuminate their internal changes as they find their way to love." Beautiful way of thinking about it.

Cindy and Charlotte, thanks so much for dropping by! Loved that you stopped in!

Jill Kemerer said...

I haven't used one, but I love reading books that feature special heirlooms. They really add to how I relate to the character. :)

Loree Huebner said...

Jill: Good point. I do think a small detail like that does help how we relate to the character.

Thanks for stopping by, Jill!

troutbirder said...

My favorite heirloom was a lock of my baby hair (when I had hair) and a well preserved piece of my first birthday cake. When we moved into our new house they were "lost" no douby in the garbage can. I thought about writing a nasty post about it on my blog but chose not to in the interests of marital harmony...:)

Loree Huebner said...

trout: How on earth did you preserve a piece of your birthday cake for years??? I remember preserving a piece of a wedding cake for one year, but for many years? WOW! I have to ask, were you ever going to eat/taste it?

I have a lock of my own baby hair. It's taped to a picture.

Trout,thanks for chiming in. It's good you didn't write the nasty post about the missing items. Harmony prevails! Have a great week!