“Characters in fiction are seldom made out of whole cloth. A little of this person and something of that one and whatever else the novelist’s imagination suggests is how they come into being. The novelist hopes that by avoiding actual appearances and actual names (which are so much more convincing than the names he invents for them), by making tall people short and red-headed people blond, that sort of thing, the sources of the composite character will not be apparent.” – William Maxwell, “The Front and the Back Parts of the House”

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