How to Write Empathetic Characters Without Boring Your Audience

If you want to be a published author, you’ll need to find a way to make your characters realistic and convincing. This includes adding flaws, believable conflicts and plausible reactions. It also includes having empathy for your characters regardless of how different they may be from you.

Know What it Means to Really Be Empathetic

Empathy is defined as being able to read others accurately. People who possess this quality are capable of more than merely sympathizing. They tend to understand the motivations of others. These characters are usually highly intuitive.

The first thing you want to do with your characters is humanize them. This means giving them emotions such as courage, frustration, desperation, excitement, etc. You also need to remember that human emotion is not always blatant. If your character is terrified because her best friend is being rushed to the hospital, she won’t necessarily become hysterical while explaining her own motivations. People in shock tend to become unresponsive and somewhat frozen at first. They may then try to distract themselves with some insignificant and repetitive act. Often, tears only come slowly.

Add One Flaw That Gets in the Way (or More!)

Give your character a personal flaw. Maybe it’s something major such as an addiction or a narcissistic personality. On the other hand, it could be something minor such as being constantly disheveled.

It’s also possible to make flaws attractive. For example, have you ever known someone voluptuous who exuded confidence about his or her appearance in spite of being routinely put down for being overweight? You could instill that trait into one of your characters.

Make sure not to use the flaw as an afterthought, though — that’s a quick way to get weak or boring characterization. Instead, try starting with a flaw and building your character around it.

Make Your Characters Three-Dimensional

Minor characters may come and go rather suddenly without giving the audience a chance to know much of anything about them. You do not want to do this with your main characters. Flesh them out.

Place your protagonist in a conflict that demands growth. You don’t want to make the challenge too easy. After all, without change, there is no plot. You should put a major conflict at the forefront of your story. It will set the tone from the outset.

You won’t engage your audience unless you add depth and humanity to your characters. This means considering things like whether a character has a vocation, is religious or displays personal idiosyncrasies. In fiction writing, characters often seem to develop voices of their own. The strong ones tell you what they’d do in a given set of circumstances.

Need an outside perspective on your writing? See what I can do for you here!

Why I have Been Gone

In June of 2018, I suffered a mental collapse brought on me by stress and an undiagnosed mental health condition. It had caught me by surprise that I had gone from going along to massive mood swings, mild paranoia, and hyper-alertness. By August, my beautiful wife convinced me to go to the VA and speak with a mental health professional, and it turns out that I had Bipolar disorder. Since June, my life has completely changed.

What Happened

In 2010, I served eight months in Afghanistan and to put it mildly; it was packed full of stress, anxiety, and sheer terror at times. Since getting married and having children, I have always struggled with my temper.

June was a turning point for both good and bad. I had come home from work and collapsed in my chair and suffered a fit of sheer fury for no reason which slammed into a high manic state which scared me. Susanna, my sweet, long-suffering wife, talked me through it and told me with no uncertainty that I needed to speak with someone and recommended the Veterans Affairs. She thought it was the best choice as the visit would be free (due to me having a combat badge from the war) and they would be more understanding of the things that I experienced.

My doctor found that I was Bipolar and that what I thought was part of the PTSD was something entirely different and that I had to change a lot of my life around to consider this. That was why I disappeared; I needed to figure out how my online presence was going to be now that I know what’s going on and have the support to get through it.

Why Am I Saying All Of This?

Mental illness has been shoved in the corner far too long which has allowed horrible people to treat those with mental illness as second class citizens that should be locked away and forgotten. Because of people spending so many years refusing to talk about mental health, it has been regulated to the world of mystery, and when someone mentions it, others get uncomfortable.

I’m not going to do that. It’s a part of my life I now understand as best as I can, and it’s something I will talk to people about if they want to listen. If it makes someone else with a mental illness comfortable and to know that I can relate as much as feasible, then I feel that I have done something right.

If anyone watched my Twitter feed, they would have seen the gift I got for my wife as a thank you which turned out to be so much more. Susanna and I have liked the Teen Titans show, and I found that my favorite voice actor who voice Susanna’s favorite character Raven (this would be the wonderful Tara Strong). I discovered that Ms. Strong had a profile on Cameo and requested her to do a positive message from Raven.

What we got not only helped cheer my wife up but made me realize that other people understood. Ms. Strong could have done something basic, but the recording felt like she took the time to figure out what Raven would have really said.

So, besides making me realize that I’m not alone in supporting those with mental illness (and making sure I’m an ardent Tara follower), I knew that it was essential to speak out and that’s what I’m going to do.

What is the future?


I’m coming back. There are a lot of projects that have sat on the shelf for half a year, and it’s time for me to get them done. I have a few more novellas, adventures, and even a program coming out soon. There is also the new Star Traveler #4 book in the work!

Thank you for listening and make sure to look to those with illnesses and let them know they are safe and supported.

What do you think about society and mental health? Want to keep up with more of my writing? You can do so by subscribing to my blog! Promise, no spam!

The Writer’s Struggle to Stay in Shape

It has been a little bit since I posted that I was going hiatus, but that didn’t mean I was not going to keep writing. Having opened up as much free time as I have has led me to think a lot about the things that I could do to help with the stress with family life and also with just trying to keep work/life balance from collapsing.

When I was in the military, one of the things that I used to do is run when I was stressed as it allowed me a simple challenge and it really battled the anxiety and stress that came with my job. Nowadays, I don’t have as much time to run and decided that having a desk job was not going to make me any healthier. It was one thing when I worked in a warehouse but those days are gone. I’m at a desk, and I like it.

So, I decided it was time to start looking into exercise health options that would be great and wanted to share with you one that came to my attention that, after trying for a few days, has been helping me out a lot.

I know a lot of us authors and millennials have to deal with a lot more stress than we once did and I thought an excellent regimen that I could do at the house before or after work that wouldn’t take away from my family was the thing.

One thing that grabbed my attention was a seven-day regimen that focused on losing body fat that I have happily put on consuming soda and fried foods. I’m not blind, I know that my eating is one of the areas I plan to work on next. The exercise set that I found was the 7 Day Challenge To Lose Belly Fat created by Roberta’s Gym. I’m not a fitness expert nor anyone with training, but I found the exercise to be very robust and challenging. I actually tried it for four days before I got distracted by life and could not keep it up.

I do not know if you’re looking for a new in-home exercise, but I thought maybe anyone who is reading my blog might be willing to try it. Sitting at a desk both professional and personally can take a toll and finding something that can fit in my schedule is a godsend.

What do you think? Do you have an exercise you want to recommend? Do you want to keep up on all the little things I write? You can also do that by joining my newsletter. Promise, no spam!

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The Lilac Princess & The Blood King (2017)

The Lilac Princess and the Blood King: By Karine Green (The World of Shestafa)The Lilac Princess and the Blood King: By Karine Green by Karine Green
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Received this book for an honest review from Book Tasters. When I first got a copy of the Lilac Princess and the Blood King, I was not quite sure what I was expecting. The title had a very fantasy feel to it but the cover hinted at something science fiction. Upon delving in, I found the book quite enjoyable and interesting.

Without giving too much away, the story turned out to be an entertaining book about dragons and their relationship with humans in a direction that I have never seen before. It brought a blend of humor while showing that the world that Karen Greene has created is filled with more possibility that this book contains.

For dragon lovers and those who enjoy fantasy, I would recommend this book heartily!

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Gary the Four-Eyed Fairy and Other Stories (2011): A Review

Gary the Four Eyed FairyGary the Four Eyed Fairy by Frank Mundo
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received a copy of Frank Mundo’s Four-Eyed Fairy Anthology collection from Booktasters for an honest review and I am happy to say that I was impressed with the story structure and unique ideas that he presented.

Each one of the twelve stories was carefully crafted and presented in a colorful way. My favorite was the “A Strong Independent Woman”. It was a great read and would recommend it to anyone else who would like fantasy!

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Coffee over Indie Books – The fear of Independent Publishing

Let’s face it. Any of us who have been in the indie publishing world long enough come across a meme or a saying about people who would instead buy a four dollar cup of coffee instead of an indie book. It’s a strange disconnect that does not seem to make sense. Well, in this blog post, I hope to put forward a theory why we are challenged the way we are. Of course, there isn’t a lot of empirical evidence, so the most of this theory is my own personal experience and extrapolating from it.

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YWriter6 – The Software I develop All my Stories in

YWriter6 Software logo
(c) Simon Haynes

Just a little while ago I was talking to my best friend Jessica Werner about the software that we use to write our novels. If you have been in the writing world long enough, you know there are quite a lot of options out there ranging from the simple pen and paper to the complicated and advanced Scrivener.

It dawned on me that I haven’t shared the program that I use to write my novels and novellas and why I like it. So, to rectify that mistake, here is my discussion and review of Ywriter6.

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