This is a fascinating article, examining the quasi-neurological process through which stories develop emotional punch. I’ve long believed that empathy is the quality a writer needs more than other; this article seems to give my belief a little foundation. Put simply, stories engage readers through exploiting our empathy with the character and their situation. Writers therefore need to assume the mantle of that empathy and project it onto their characters.
Six Ways to Make Sure Your Reader’s Brain Syncs with Your Protagonist’s Brain.