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8\. The Supernumeraries

  • As to the supernumerary characters, the author must exercise his own taste and
  • judgment, and he has fine scope for both. Of less importance in a short-story,
  • they require merely to be kept in the background; but in a novel, they have
  • their exits and their entrances, and play many, though subordinate parts. Each
  • of these characters must have a positive and definite reason for being, and,
  • if at all prominent, must be an inherent part of the plot. They are not to be
  • scamped or slurred over in workmanship, for they are as important a part of
  • the whole as the setting of a jewel or the binding of a book. They are the
  • pence of a Detective Story, and must be taken care of; though in this case it
  • does not follow that the pounds will take care of themselves.