Tag: #empathy

Does writing fiction expand the way you experience the world?

When I asked my fellow Miss Demeanors how writing fiction has altered or expanded their own views of the world, I expected to get some good answers. What I got went well beyond that. From serving justice to understanding our humanness, my fellow Miss Demeanors answered in ways that are both deeply thoughtful and utterly thought provoking. Alexia: Hmmm, had to think hard about this one. I’m not sure writing fiction has changed the way I see the world. I write fiction because of the way I see the world. I see a world full of injustice, where the bad guy often wins and evil often triumphs over good. In the world, you can do the right thing and watch helplessly as cheaters get away with it. The world doesn’t care if you’re a good person, bad stuff happens to you regardless. Life’s not fair and you have no right to expect it to be.When I write fiction, I change the world by making it operate the way I want it to. Good wins, justice prevails, hurts are healed. Writing fiction keeps me from despair.  Tracee: I agree with Alexia that writing is a means of controlling the – or […]

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How does writing fiction change you?

No matter how much you may dislike your antagonist, you know he or she must have at least one redeeming quality. In fact, the more redeeming qualities the better because then your character becomes messier, more complicated, and fundamentally more human. My favorite writers, and I suspect I’m not alone in this, are the ones who force me to see the infinite shades of gray in life. I like being reminded that even the most odious person has a mother who loves them, and, quite possibly, a very cute dog. It’s this bit of writing characters day in and day out that has altered my real life the most. Now that I write fiction, I find myself paying attention to particularly beautiful turns of phrase. I notice elegant and unexpected descriptions of people, places, and things. Still, day to day, it’s thinking about people in my writing that has changed the way I think about real life the most. First, as I already mentioned above, there’s the so-true-that-it’s-rather-worn bit of advice that no bad guy thinks of himself as a bad guy. Beyond melodramas, most of us don’t find someone twirling his mustache as he ties his hapless victim to […]

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Reading, Writing, and Empathy

If reading fiction makes you more compassionate, what does writing fiction do? Tomorrow, we’ll have Richie Narvaez here to talk about his debut novel Hipster Death Rattle. Richie’s kindness when I attended my very first Mystery Writers of America meeting is what inspired my choice of a topic for this week. He was the president of the New York chapter of MWA at the time and was so gracious. If a guy who writes about killing people can be so thoughtful, surely, maybe there is something not only about reading that allows us to better understand–and respond–to how other people are feeling, but maybe writing it does, too. I couldn’t be a bigger fan, so please join us tomorrow for a wonderful discussion with Richie, a prolific short story writer and winner of a number of awards for his first book, Roachkiller and Other Stories. His latest, Hipster Death Rattle, will be published on March 11, 2019. By the way, not only is the title and cover of his novel crazy cool, but the book is fabulous. For those of you who don’t have the time to delve into the distinction between genre and literary fiction, or, quite frankly, just don’t want […]

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