How do you write fiction with characters who are mysteriously human, who evoke empathy and compassion from the reader? Is it by making them understandable?
No. Geoff Wyss explains:
The better we understand someone, the more fully we should be able to respond to him. But we don’t understand people in real life, not in the sense of comprehending them and holding their keys, not even our friends, not even our husbands and wives, not even close; real people continue to hoard as you pick through them, do so exactly so you can’t pick through them; so it’s simply a question of whether we’re willing to let our characters be real people. This ought to be the point of literary fiction, the thing that makes it different from epigram or essay or encomium: to ask questions about people, not to answer them.
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