I bring this up, because as I've been working on my current work-in-progress, it occurs to me that authors are a lot like actors in this regard, and then some. To write good fiction, an author must submerge herself in the point of view character. This means feeling and writing everything that character goes through. To a lesser extent, we must understand and sympathize with the motivations of even minor characters, even if we don't take you into their heads.
Romance novels often feature at least two point of view characters, the hero and the heroine, sometimes more. My current release, Once a Duchess, has at least four point of view characters. Perhaps five. I'm loathe to pick through and count right now.
|These are all me.|
In order to bring the best realism to my work, every aspect of my life becomes fodder. Every humiliation and heartbreak; every love and longing; every loss and rejection; every anxiety and fear; every arousal and impotence... they're all fair game. I may not have experienced the precise scenarios my characters go through, but so many of the feelings are my own. This is why a life well-lived is the greatest resource at a writer's disposal. The ability to accurately portray human experience is invaluable.
Writers are scavengers of emotion. We horde our own experiences and we pick the carcasses of others' tragedies for useful bits. Our memories are our databases. Our bodies are forced to relive the traumas and joys of our lives, over and over again. All in the service of telling a story.