Do You Need Sympathy or Empathy?

The writer working to develop an EMPATHETIC character is careful to delineate between the root word EMPATHY as it contrasts to SYMPATHY.

empathetic | adj.

As mentioned above, empathy is the root word in “empathetic,” so we must look to its definition to begin to understand character development or personality traits of an empathetic person.

Closely related to the word “compassion” in its definition, empathy is more difficult to characterize because the traits are more transparent.  A list of related words found at Merriam Webster is very helpful.

When developing this character, ask yourself how you would want to be treated in a time of trouble, frustration or worry. Then work from there.  Perhaps even a visual will help to capture your empathetic character.

The basic difference between the empathetic character with one showing sympathy is found in the fact that empathy can be shown when one has experienced the same circumstance as the person needing comfort and understanding.  Sympathy is shared when the other person has experienced a loss and comfort is being offered.

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A to Z Challenge 2013

A few weeks ago I committed to participating in the Blogging from A to Z Challenge during April.  What this means is that I will be writing 26 posts during the month of April, in addition to my regular posts here.  You’re probably asking WHY.
WHY?  I want and need the exercise of discipline that the challenge brings to my writing life.  These 26 posts will push me to write more, to be more creative, to be prompt.  All of those things, I believe, will be good for my writing routine.

As a theme for my 26 posts, I have chosen to explore the emotions and feelings our characters possess and/or express, whether our genre is memoir, fiction, nonfiction or any of the myriad of genre available.

Each post will move from “A” through the alphabet to “Z.”  In the event I am at a loss for a feeling or emotion matching the appropriate letter, we’ll just have to see what I write about that day!

The first post will appear on April 1st, or April Fool’s Day which may indicate the level of my sanity to take part.  I hope you’ll come along with me in April to see if I can meet the challenge.

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