It takes practice, and sometimes a bit of luck, to affect your reader quite like this.
Someone once asked me, “What makes something art?”
I feel that every writer, artist, creator must have an answer to that question. What makes something art?
For me, the answer is: A piece becomes art when it makes you feel something. Other than bored or nauseated, of course (unless that was the artist’s intention).
What about this quote hits you right in the feels?
I’ll tell you what does it for me: It’s the juxtaposition of two words: kid’s and burnt. Pushing those two loaded words together creates a dissonance in the mind of the reader, like putting Chairman Mao’s Little Red Book right next to a Bible on your bookshelf. Or Ecce Homo and Pilgrim’s Progress. Or your boudoir photos next to a portrait of you and your grandma, or you and your sheep from last year’s 4-H fair. With kid’s and burnt, Richard Price takes youthful innocence and gives it a seat next to charred remains that imply death and destruction.
The effect is jarring, purposely so.
How will you create the kind of dissonance that resonates with a reader’s emotions? What works for you in this quote? Did it work at all? Share your opinions in the comments.