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This, I feel, is the hardest part of writing and I commend anyone that can get me to really feel for a character. I write a lot of fantasy and horror, but that doesn't mean I don't have to get the emotions right. It actually means that I've got to get the reader to believe the character's emotions and attitude even more because the situation is totally made up.
In my current WIP, I have a character that dreams about death. She is the modern version of Cassandra (from the Greek legends who saw the fall of Troy) and I can tell you that I know squat about what it feels like to be burdened with those sorts of visions, but even worse that no one believes her.
So, how do you become accustomed with empathy?
- Watch as many movies as possible which has that sort of situation/emotion
- Go and sit in the park and watch people, making notes if needed, to see how people act (hey, this was what I was told about creating believable emotions in acting)
- Start an emotion diary and write down the different emotions you feel, what brings them on and how you act
- Listen to music and think about how each makes you feel. Perhaps create a playlist for the story/scene you're writing.