Turning contradiction into possibility

So you’re sitting in a writing workshop and your fellow writers decide to poke holes in your story, saying “Your character would never do or think that.” Perhaps they’re right. Or maybe, just maybe, the character on the page, the character you’ve drawn for the reader, is too narrow. You’ve relegated your creation to a thin slip of existence, a shallow pool, one that limits the possibilities of their thoughts and actions. Take the critique as an opportunity to re-imagine your character and consider the following:

“The key to resolving a paradox often lies in the imagination. In a paradox where some experience points to one conclusion and other experience seems to point to its opposite, what is needed is not simply more experience. Truth is not a democratic matter to be decided by simple majorities. Rather, what is needed is some new idea that can widen the space of hypotheses. Then the conflicting evidence that seemed to lead to contradictory conclusions can be seen to converge on this new possibility.” from The Atoms of Language: The Mind’s Hidden Rules of Grammar by Mark C. Baker

By creating a broader existence for your characters, contradiction enters the realm of possibility. Welcome to quantum writing…

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