The following applys mostly to shorter stories and minor characters.
In a way, character delineation can never be microscopic. Just as a portrait portrays the sitter in one mood, the character draw¬ing in a story touches only those points of the per¬sonality which concern the story. In real life no bad man is always thinking wicked thoughts or planning worse acts, nor is every good man always above reproach. We are neither angels nor devils. But in the play it serves our purpose better to use just those sides of a personality which will present the action without confusion either in delineation or com¬prehension. We are dealing with some particular crisis in the life of an imagined personality. Art demands therefore that we show, not the whole of that character's possibilities in every phase of exist¬ence from dawn to dark, but only those characteris¬tics which are consistent with our story and its pres¬entation. In handling a first story, it is easier to make the people in it entirely simple in delineation as in the old days when hero and villain, heroine and adventuress never deviated for a moment from their virtue or wickedness, as the case might be.