Simplicity in Opposites

Let’s talk simplicity.

Simple = easy to understand.
–> Easy to understand = engaged reader.
—->Engaged reader = happy customer.

I’m in the middle of reading this story – which I’m doing abnormally slowly, proving that as soon as you’re in school, you get busy – and I read 4 sentences. Perhaps the simplest four I had come across so far in this story. Remember it = her child.

I don’t want to neglect it.

I’m going to neglect it.

I don’t want to hurt it.

I’m going to hurt it. (Cornell 38-39)

Wow. A while back I talked about opposites, how they’re great at forming your character because they establish a difference between wants/actions, and here we see exactly that. She wants something, but she isn’t going to do that. Why? Because she blames her parents.


But, this simplicity – these simple statements that go back and forth between what she wants, what she’s going to do, it really helps set this character up for her greatest fear, her greatest pitfall.

It’s an easy technique other writers can imitate to show this disparity between wants and her future actions/problems.

Cornell, Paul. “The Ghosts of Christmas.” Year’s Best SF 18. Ed. David G. Hartwell. New York, NY: Tor, 2013. 34-54. Print.


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