Characters are often revealed by the ways they misapprehend others.
I write a ridiculous number of drafts. The characters change and grow through the drafting, and my understanding of them deepens. Creating characters in a novel is like shooting at clay pigeons and missing, and then missing more productively as the narrative continues.
I guess if life were fair, people who led decent lives would be rewarded, and people who led indecent lives would not be rewarded.
Writing is such a solitary thing, so it's nice, when I'm discouraged, to see people still have such faith in fiction.
You have to avoid caricature, at the one end of the spectrum, and sentimentality, at the other; which is not to say that such characters shouldn't be funny part of the time, or that their actions shouldn't evoke genuine feeling.
We lived on a farm outside a town of about 900 people. My father was the principal of the elementary school. It was a typical Southern town - there are a lot of churches, and it's dry.
I guess I'm struck all the time by how outrageously wrong life is. There are times I can't stand to read the newspapers. It makes me insane.
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