Robert Boswell thinks about the all-important question of how fiction writers establish complex and believable characters. Looking at Joyce’s “The Dead,” Melville’s “Bartleby the Scrivener,” Munro’s “Friend of my Youth,” and Welty’s “The Wide Net,” Boswell develops twelve possible useful stratagems. These include imagining a character’s approach to the inscrutable, describing the illusions to which a character clings, and exposing a character’s darkest and ugliest motivations.
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