Tag Archives: Sympathy Slider

Writing Excuses 9.25: Adjusting Character Sympathy

This podcast references episode 9.13 where we introduce a three-slider model for characters. Here we talk about character sympathy, or rather the sympathy that the reader will have for the character, and how we as writers go about adjusting that sympathy — moving the slider, if you will. We also talk about why we want to make that adjustment, whether we’re dealing with villains, side-characters, or protagonists.

Some of our tricks for moving the slider include changing the characters around them, controlling the distance between the reader and the character, showing character weaknesses, and using humor to mask the unsympathetic moments. We talk about how we’ve deployed these tools in our own work, and how we’ve seen it done well in the work of others.

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Take something that you’ve written recently. Swap out all of the dialog with completely different words (you can keep articles and pronouns) but retain the meaning.

The Butcher of Khardov: The Warcaster Chronicles Volume 2, by Dan Wells, narrated by Marc Vietor.