Surely… Not

I’ve noticed a rule. Whenever a character thinks “Surely [X],” the opposite of [X] is absolutely guaranteed to happen.

Let me show you what I mean:

Surely an orphan kid could never beat the reigning champion.

Surely this must all be a nightmare, and I’ll wake up any second.

That look must mean something else—surely he couldn’t like little old me.

Her own house must surely be safe from creepy axe murderers.

You get the idea. That orphan kid is getting a trophy, it’s not a dream, he likes you, and OMG get out of the house it’s full of creepy axe murderers.

The moment you read that surely, you know: this character is wrong, or lying to themselves.The exact opposite is true. You’re sure of it.

But surely there must be some exceptions!

…I just can’t think of any. So now I have to add that word to my RUINED FOREVER list, and refrain from ever using it again.

Surely.

About Melissa Caruso

I'm the author of THE TETHERED MAGE, first in the Swords & Fire trilogy, coming from Orbit Books in October 2017. I write fantasy novels. I love tea, adventure, and the great outdoors. I live in Massachusetts with my husband, two amazing daughters, three cats, and a Labrador. Represented by Naomi Davis of Inklings Literary. View all posts by Melissa Caruso

One response to “Surely… Not

  • Nicolette Elzie

    I love this post! It’s funny because I never really noticed how annoying “surely” is before. Now that you’ve brought it up and highlighted its flaw as a writing device I just know that from now on its going to bother me whenever I see this come up again in a book. 😉 I’ll still laugh though because of your last line here, “But surely there must be some exceptions!…Surely.” I love your sense of humor, thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

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