Recently I was sitting with a couple of my girlfriends who asked in subtle terms how I could write on the subject of BDSM? “I mean, you don’t really live that lifestyle, do you?” “No,” I said, honestly.
I believe, in the heart of every fiction writer dwells the power of empathy. We create characters, give them names and identities and place them in crazy situations. As an author, I have to listen carefully to my characters once underway because as they get involved with one another they tell me things about who they are and what they need. Everyone is just trying to make the best of what they have been dealt and if I listen carefully enough I can empathize with their circumstances and share that on the page. When Jane feels…I feel it as well.
I’m not discounting research when necessary but at some point the research has to meld into a palpable situation I can feel so you can feel it too.
Maybe empathy is why I can’t watch violence, torture or gore in movies and TV. I can’t tell you the number of movies where I have had my eyes closed for parts of the film.
Authors write about all sorts of subjects whether or not they have direct experience with them. Fortunately I finally figured out a good use for my vast imagination. At least I hope you all think so. 😉