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  1. #1
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    Jul 2011
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    Advice from a former Stephen King editor

    I'm sure most of the established writers here already know this; this is geared to those, like me, who are starting out.

    Swapped a couple emails with a former editor of Stephen King. Then I went to his website and read his opinion on the most important aspect of being a successful writer.

    He says it is empathy towards your characters. Period.

    That is what makes people remember SK's works--his characters. King knows his characters so well that it is easier to write their feelings and emotions out in scenes.

    He says to read Stephen King's The Stand to really understand empathy.

    Thought I'd pass that on in case it can help anyone.

    I have gone back and started empathizing with my villain and hero--and asked the question, "What makes each one act the way he does?"

    I now know their answers, and as my book forges on, I think it will show up in a better final product.



  2. #2
    Junior Member
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    Apr 2011
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    Paris, France not Texas
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    26
    Thanks for the suggestion, who was the editor?

  3. #3
    Member
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    Jul 2011
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    84
    Michael Garrett. He is going to be teaching a writer's workshop over here at the University of Georgia in October.

  4. #4
    Junior Member
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    Aug 2011
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    That is really interesting, thanks!

  5. #5
    Cat
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    Quote Originally Posted by Henry Castle View Post
    I'm sure most of the established writers here already know this; this is geared to those, like me, who are starting out.

    Swapped a couple emails with a former editor of Stephen King. Then I went to his website and read his opinion on the most important aspect of being a successful writer.

    He says it is empathy towards your characters. Period.

    That is what makes people remember SK's works--his characters. King knows his characters so well that it is easier to write their feelings and emotions out in scenes.

    He says to read Stephen King's The Stand to really understand empathy.

    Thought I'd pass that on in case it can help anyone.

    I have gone back and started empathizing with my villain and hero--and asked the question, "What makes each one act the way he does?"

    I now know their answers, and as my book forges on, I think it will show up in a better final product.
    And the villain thinks he's justified in doing what he's doing. That's what both humanizes him and makes him so chilling.

  6. #6
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
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    24
    I read a lot of Stephen King when I was younger, and looking back I think it probably was because the characters really were depicted as more than just two dimensional figures occupying a page. Even the most heinous villian was given the respect of a personal history, and evolving behavior patterns and life experiences that led the reader to understand (though not necessarily support) their decisions and actions. Great post. Will put it to good use.

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