What the Dickens continued

I admit to coming to read Charles Dickens late in my life, and long after I began to do my own writing. There was a time when I didn’t want to read any other writers for fear I ended up sounding like all of them.
Dickens taught me a lot when I got over that silliness, and the most valuable lesson was to write without judgement about the characters who reveal themselves in one’s stories, and leave them, as they are, to pick their way through their story lives.
It is so easy to paint a colour onto a character that is not actually there, be responsible for something that diverts the reader’s attention from what is important, and thereby inject an element of contrivance into the writing that is quite unnecessary.


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