To me, one of the most challenging and fascinating process of writing my book is to give distinct voices to characters that are so different than myself, and to create a setting that I have never stepped foot in. How can I make Luke a more sympathetic character? Or, how can I put Catherine’s lack of courage into words and action? How can I describe life in post-war France in the 1950’s?
I think one of the best gifts of writing comes from the ability to breathe life into your character, and to live as they lived. And as a reader, I think one of the most rewarding experience is to be fully immersed in the life of a particular character in a book – and isn’t this the entrancing experience that writers everyday strive to create?
Arguably, it takes a wealth of imagination and creativity to weave together a fictional character and/or a fictional setting, but I also think that our ability to empathize, to relate to one another – to, put simply, “put ourselves in his or her shoes” – really comes into play when one is writing. And what a good trait it is to strive after – to have more empathy.
So there you have it. Writers should be Giants of Empathy. Is that overly ambitious?