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Pickle Me This

August 19, 2010

Sometimes just laziness

Hmm. I’ve written before about how much I love recurring secondary characters throughout an author’s works, which creates the sense of a self-contained universe with millions of tiny whirling lives that I’m privy to glimpses of– in books by Margaret Drabble, and Barbara Pym. But how interesting then to read in a letter from Pym to Philip Larkin: “With me it’s sometimes just laziness– if I need a casual clergyman or anthropologist I just take one from an earlier book. Perhaps really one should take such a very minor character that only the author recognises it, like a kind of superstition or a charm.”

2 thoughts on “Sometimes just laziness”

  1. Rebecca says:

    I’m not in the Pym/Drabble/Larkin league, but this is certainly true for me too! When I write a new character, it’s like I am a boss looking to hire for a job, and although I am certainly *open* to completely unknown characters/candidates, if there’s already one I know well and feel comfortable working with…it can be tempting!

  2. This might be my most favouritest thing ever to discover in a book. Oh no, the favouritest, I guess, would have to be when one of these secondary characters gets their own book, and the previously primary character passes by in the narrative shadows for a change, and other familiar personages still slip past here and there.
    ::rubs palms::

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