Writing stories is all about control. About letting go, but also about control. About subjecting yourself to unknown forces, but also about control. In our lives we downplay real threats as imaginary and perceived just to stay alive. On the contrary, in the fictional world of our creation, it would be hard to write if the stresses and didn’t seem real, so a writer has to exaggerate or has to heighten one’s sense of empathy, not shield it.
The sense of warm, comforting control comes from knowing that one has completely exposed oneself up, let every guard down and walked unprotected into the garden of thorns and yet come back with only the finest of narratives. Much like one suffering from vertigo would feel empowered watching a movie about heights with a finger on the remote, most of those handicapped in real life would feel liberated in the world of fiction of their own creation.
The characters are not one’s to control. But one can always ‘wake up’ and take the reins back or chose to experience it all as a form of catharsis. Heard of those who are too lazy to exercise and come out of sauna, all sweating, with a look of accomplishment on their faces? Writing works just like that, at times.