By: Anita Mumm
“I try to create sympathy for my characters, then turn the monsters loose. ” ~ Stephen King
How’s that for an awesome quote? I thought it would be perfect to kick off a new series where I take a quote or piece of advice from a famous author and talk about ways to apply it to your writing.
So let’s talk about sympathy.
Stephen King is hitting upon one of the most important skills you can have as a writer—the ability to create an emotional bond between your readers and your characters. Without that, it won’t make much difference what happens when the “monsters” come out. And by the way, this is vital not only in fiction, but memoir and other forms of creative nonfiction as well. Ever come across a first-person essay or memoir that made you say, “Give me a break! This guy/gal is way too arrogant”? You can substitute shallow, close-minded, or otherwise unlikeable. . . the point is, you probably dropped that book before the plot even took off.
So how do you go about making a character sympathetic? Here are a few examples:
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If you missed my writing & marketing tweets and retweets yesterday, here they are again:
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