Empathy Is A Must

582dab8d5a4e7If you want to draw your reader in, you have to figure out a way to get them to empathize with the main character in your novel. They have to connect. Help them to see and feel what your character is going through.

In order to do this, you need to change the focus from the us/them mentality. People don’t listen to facts because of their own personal bias. They accept or reject them depending on whether they line up with their beliefs/agenda or not. Think about the USA today and the divide between the Democrat and Republican parties. Ouch! Maybe not!

You have to change your methodology and come in a little sneaky. Instead of lining your prose up from the us/them point of view, you want to look at things from your main character’s point of view. Your reader will be pulled in immediately, not because of the facts of the situation, but because they empathize with the feelings of the character. They are seeing things through his/her eyes.

I’m not a Malcolm X fan, but if you pick up the book entitled Malcolm X you will be pulled into his story immediately. It was an autobiography that followed his life and the events that brought him to the beliefs that he strongly supported and fought for.  The story allowed you to look into his head. You could see what he saw and feel what he felt. You may not have agreed with his point of view, but you understood where he was coming from and empathized with him.

That’s the same technique you would use in a novel to draw your reader into the story. You have to present things from your character’s point of view. You reader has to see what they see, feel what they feel, and experience situations as they would.

Something else to think about.

-Jan R

Empathy Is A Must