Commenters on Maloy's post seem split fifty-fifty between the two types of writers. I myself am like Maloy; I've never cried nor become too emotionally involved with my characters. I find this ironic, actually, because in real life I tear up easily and frequently. I think, for me, being in control of my characters and their destinies, choosing what happens to them, removes the sense of injustice or helplessness that causes me to cry in real life when I hear about a person's misfortunes. Like Maloy, I view writing a book as more of an intellectual than an emotional exercise, although, like her, I am striving to create an emotional experience for my readers. I am different from many of my writer friends as far as emotional identification goes; I have a friend who told me she did cry while writing the scene where her main character died, and I've heard of writers who find it difficult to write when a scene becomes too painful. I'm not at all claiming one way is better than the other, just different. It would be interesting to investigate to what degree the sense of author identification with the characters influences the speed or flow of the writing. I can see it working both ways: too much identification could make writing scenes where bad things happen to the character more difficult, yet identifying with the character otherwise might make the act of writing more engrossing and the writer more eager to write.
What are your thoughts on this matter? What kind of writer are you? If anyone's read Every Last Cuckoo, I'd love to hear how caught up you became in the lives of Maloy's characters. Her book, a top five BookSense and an Indiebound pick, won the American Library Association's Readers List Award for Women's Fiction, so she's obviously doing something right!