I am reading Alice Munro because she is brilliant. In the mid 1990s, I studied her stories for “weather,” ie the external details that make a story come alive. In the margins of a book of her short stories, I wrote “clothing,” “smell”, “rain.” Then I added weather to the next draft of The River Midnight and it suddenly popped into the third dimension.
In my new novel the main character meets many minor characters who come and go, so there isn’t the time to develop them in the way of characters who remain throughout a novel. Hence I am studying Alice Munro to see how she quickly and deftly sketches a character. It’s a hard study because the stories are too absorbing; I forget to notice technique. In Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, what I am noticing are the sudden twists: surprising, shocking, brilliant.
Maybe I will learn something different than what I was looking for.