The new thing is from THE MASTER, a novel about Henry James, and it’s just a throw-away clause “. . . the culture of easy duplicity.” I’m not exactly sure what it is about that phrase that beckons to me (maybe just that I like duplicity in its milder forms), but there’s something in it for writers, too. Sometimes my characters seem too easy to suss out. It’s clear from the first pages who they are and any added facets are fed into the story at predictable intervals with predictable results. (A sausage-making metaphor suggests itself at this point, doesn’t it.) Duplicity usually isn’t a good thing, and the usual synonyms (dishonesty or guile, for instance) aren’t compliments. But other synonyms like artifice and dissemble are more beguiling. I wonder what it would do to a character to write out an alternate life for him. And not one that intrudes into the novel but, like an underground river, runs beneath the narrative surface and cools (or heats) the episodes. Hmmm.