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Stories thrive on bad behavior, bad manners, confrontations, and unpalatable characters who by wish or compulsion make their desires visible by creating scenes

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Novels are about development of character, short stories are about incident

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all novels, that is to say, deal with character, and that it is to express character — not to preach doctrines, sing songs, or celebrate the glories of the British Empire — that the form of the novel, so clumsy, verbose, and undramatic, so rich, elastic, and alive, has been evolved

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I didn’t know from one chapter to the next what was going to happen – I was just following. That’s what I like to do. I just start out and follow the characters…The main thing for me is characters. I don’t really worry about anything else. I don’t think about the storyline too much actually – just the characters and what might happen to them because of who they are and where they are and who they interact with. The settings, the stories, the themes and the voices and everything else, the inter- relationships – all belong to the characters. So if you keep true to those characters and how they might develop because of who they are and who they have around them and, to a degree, what happens to them, then the story will unfold. I’ve learned to have faith that something will come out.

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I think that the character is the fount of all fiction. That’s where the conflict comes from, where the plot comes from, where the story comes from. If I feel that something isn’t go, if it doesn’t have it’s own drive, I don’t look at the incidents to try and understand what’s going wrong, I look at the character.

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It’s the geeky stuff, in fact, that makes Crichton’s books so hugely entertaining, lending thrilling documentary realness to the proceedings. And he makes the factoids seem — well, fun.

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