the point with the theme i presented was to gear up horror writers to the mass-market fiction realm. empathy, well, we all need empathy to share our understanding of the world, whether it be good or evil, as that is what writing is all about: sharing emotions, digging deep into the dark realm were most people will not venture. we are sharing our thoughts to educate others to good or evil. and that is the freedom we have to present to others, to let them read, learn, enjoy in perhaps ghoulish ways... and pay money to delve into the darker places.
empathy is not the end of freedom, but the beginning of a freedom, since to belong to a group of like-minded individuals allows one the freedom to move beyond the selfish blinders and myopic distortion of a self-contained, limited worldview to then see your place as a successful writer within the world and of the world. poe was a dunk and a nut-case, but his command of the english language and his ability to share (for money, he hoped) his dark thoughts was in many ways his way to express emphatic empathy. he knew the feelings, emotions, dark emotions of others and self, and like many artists he worked and played with this knowledge of drastic and painful emotions to create refined works of art that endured.
murder/suicide of people one loves creates a searing brand within the brain's neural nets that is elusive, scaring, tormenting and for me, vile. murder/suicide/extreme fear & violence are types of experience that will never dissipate, but may only increase and complicate one's life and loves; thereby making the individual an outcast in the realm of polite society. to be cast into impolite society, into the realm of the angry artist, is a hard road to travel. turning a horrific, terrible, monstrous event in one's life around, placing in an artistic format can exercise or excise the psyche to strengthen one's will power to overcome and perhaps understand the horrific. then again it may turn one to escape routes: drugs, drink, other addictions- wine, women and song, lol.
i conjure up the memories of body pain, the smell of gunpowder, the compression of time when i was shot with a shotgun in the abdomen to enhance my writing when a scene needs a drastic lift in emotions or pace. i'm still dealing with the look of death on my wife's face when i discovered her hanging. a year has passed and i realize my writing ambition will not let this horrible event go; at some point i will allow that horrible day rise up and push my writing... one writes what they know; few people are survivors of a suicide and I am going channel this horrible event into my art, my writing, my music composition. but i'm not ready for that yet.
death is an abstraction that can never be understood in its entirety and that is one of the clays, the raw materials that we can use to shape and mold around the abstraction (death and dying) to create 'edge-of-the-chair' suspense. empathy, imo, should be an element suffused into stories with measured amounts, to be played with, but in the end (literally) an emotion that can move and should move a reader to consider a writer masterful in the writing craft.