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'They take on lives of their own'

27 October 2014

'I've a pretty good idea of what the story is and where it's going. The trouble is that, though you've laboured to create these characters and thought of plausible things for them to do, they take on lives of their own. I've often thought that writing fiction was like industrial management. Sometimes I've felt like putting thumbscrews on my employees to prevent them messing up on my plans, but you have to persuade or compromise or negotiate with them. And allowing them to develop does give them more life.'

Michael Frayn, author of Noises Off and Matchbox Theatre, in The Times