Here is one of the most economical sentence pairings I’ve come across in a while: He couldn’t remember his wife clearly–only the hats she wore. How surprised she would be at hearing from him after this long while; there had been one letter written by each of them since the boy died. Graham Greene, The Power and the Glory

The exercise:
Compose two sentences in which a great deal is revealed about a character. Like the sentences above, yours should suggest something fundamental about the character’s inner life and/or relationships, as well as revealing something significant about his past.

If you think of other examples of this from published works, please post them here in the comments section! (Jordan R., if you’re reading this, I know you can find something that fits the bill! Karl S.–you too.)

1 Comment

  • August 30, 2006

    Kathleen Marie

    I just thought I would give this an amateur try.

    She was standing, eyes faded, skin gray with fatigue
    stirring by a stove and while flies buzzed overhead she blinked hard and stirred, unaware. Her mind drifted to a heartbeat, a joy, running with a child’s delight, and she smiled faintly at the memory.