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J.K. Rowling: ‘We need to become absorbed in something bigger than ourselves’

Over at Goodreads, J.K. Rowling responded to one reader’s question about writing gritty characters–sharing advice for both writing and living.

With the new paperback release of The Casual Vacancy, reader Anne Gunden asked about the “gritty exposure of the ugliness and weakness of human nature” in the book. Rowling replied with a short essay about her novel for adults:

I suppose that is my real answer to the second part of your question: we need to become absorbed in something bigger than ourselves. That doesn’t mean that everyone should stand for Parliament (God forbid); it is a more subtle business than that. If we make decisions in small matters in the awareness that our actions can have huge impact on others, we will begin to make a difference. If we choose to understand the other person’s point of view, if we make the effort to understand before rushing to judgment, all kinds of different vistas might become apparent to us.

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