September 26

Birthdays: TS Eliot (1888), Max Ehrmann (1872), Jane Smiley (1949), Mark Haddon (1962), Bernice McFadden (1965), Minette Walters (1949), Will Self (1961)

Tip: Remember that setting can reveal character. There’s a big difference between someone living in squalid conditions and a posh high rise. The setting helps define the character. Especially if there is a disconnect—someone raised in luxury now living on the streets or someone living in a mansion who grew up in squalid conditions will have very different opinions than someone who’s been there all their lives.

Thought for the day: “While plot and theme and pacing and every other element in fiction are important, the really key element in fiction is characters. Because if you’ve got characters that come alive, they tell your story.” Jean Auel

Jumpstart: You’re listening to the local news while cooking dinner. A news flash comes up about a dangerous criminal who’s wanted by the police…and it’s your name and picture they’re flashing. What do you do?

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