Others will tell you it’s the ability to describe things.
A few will maintain it’s plotting.
My opinion is that empathy is a writer’s greatest tool. Without empathy, you truly can’t understand human nature. And if you don’t understand human nature, how can you write about humans?
But there’s a downside to empathy.
- You’re forced to see both sides of a discussion.
This makes for interesting arguments and it also means you’re occasionally irritated. Because, sometimes, you want to wholeheartedly support one side against the other. But your capacity for empathy means you can genuinely see the other side and the other point of view.
- Empathy makes you too darn weepy.
You read a story of someone struggling with a dread disease and you’re a puddle of tears.
But, on balance, I think empathy is a wonderful human emotion, one of our best, and one not limited to writers, of course.
How about you? Have you ever experienced the dark side of empathy?