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Empathizing with Characters
Worcester Phoenix Tenderness review
This review explores Cormier's novel Tenderness. It touches upon the terrifying realism of the plot and the characters. Later, it quotes Cormier's discussion regarding character development; specifically the ways that characters come alive for him through the writing process, and his own identification with characters -- even Eric, from Tenderness. It closes with Cormier's thoughts about Eric, and the mix of humanity and evil he represents.
Robert Cormier's letter to Mike Gubbins 6 March 1999
In this letter to a student, Robert Cormier describes how his own emotions fuel his writing and how he must be emotionally invested in all his characters to understand their motivations. He also discusses World War II and his fictional town of Monument.
"Tenderness and troubled lives" Sentinel & Enterprise
This article presents an edited interview with Cormier after the publication of Tenderness. Cormier expresses doubts about being able to "pull it off" because the protagonist is a serial killer --a "monster." He discusses his character-driven writing process. A good plot relies on conflict that is both believable and complex enough to be intensely interesting. In order to achieve this, Cormier had to think carefully about the Eric character and his relation to the Lori character. His commitment to both characters is unflinching. Further, this article sheds light on the book's dedication to three Leominster teachers who impacted his early career as a writer.
Michael Antoniak's letter to Robert Cormier April 1986
In this one-page letter, young reader Michael Antoniak identifies the theme of injustice in Cormier's work, and asks the author if he experienced teasing and injustice as a child. He also notes the depressing tone of Cormier's endings. Handwritten in ink at the bottom are the words "postcard answer 4/5/86".
Is This the Upside Down? In this Atlantic article by Megan Garber (2017 Nov. 2) the author considers sexual predation and concludes that today's monsters "walk among us".
The Evolution of Movie Monsters In this four minute Atlantic Experiments mini film (2015 Oct. 30), the creator illustrates how popular culture's conception of monstrosity has both changed and stayed the same. This film is one of 18 on this same topic.
The Connection Between Character Emotion and Reader Empathy In this guest blog post by Becca Puglisi (2019 Feb. 4) on C. S. Lakin, the author counsels other writers on creating emotional connection with characters in the minds of readers.
The Grisly, All-American Appeal of Serial Killers In this Atlantic article by Julie Beck (2014 Oct. 21), the author tries "to make sense of the darkest extremes of human behavior, the public turns murderers into myths and monsters."