research, therapy

Do Your Characters Need Therapy?

Have you ever developed a character, given them a unique backstory, only to wonder how they would react in certain situations? Have you wondered how certain personalities act when obstacles litter their path? Well, I have the perfect resource for you!

Your characters just might need some “couch time” with Jeannie Campbell, The Character Therapist. She has an amazing website that offers a variety of resources to help you develop your characters into realistic, believable people. Here’s how Jeannie can help aspiring writer’s….

1) Write characters more realistically.
Using a search engine to find out information about a mental disorder yields a very different result than asking a therapist who has treated those same problems in real life. Instead of getting a bunch of stale facts, I can help you breathe life into your characters while taking into consideration your unique story world.

2) Plot more feasibly. 
Plotting the external conflict around your characters internal conflict is essential to create tension on every page. Understanding the character’s driving goals and motivation in relation to their emotional state will help you figure out what plot points need to occur to maximize the character’s arc to its fullest potential.

3) Avoid clichéd or incorrect depictions of mental disorders.
My passion is helping those not afflicted with mental disorders understand those who are. Since one in four adults have a mental disorder, the likelihood of one of your characters having one is pretty high. But you want every nuance to ring true about the character, not feel cardboard cutout or stereotyped. So pick my brain instead of yours to avoid pitfalls of re-writing later.

Have I piqued your curiosity?  Think your characters might benefit from some couch time?

Jeannie Campbell is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in California. She is Head of Clinical Services for a large non-profit and enjoys working mainly with children and couples. She has a Masters of Divinity in Psychology and Counseling and bachelors degrees in both psychology and journalism. Two of Jeannies “therapeutic romance” manuscripts have garnered the high praise of being finalists in the Genesis Contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), of which she is an active member. She writes a popular monthly column for Christian Fiction Online Magazineand has been featured in many other e-zines, newspapers, and blogs.

regency, research

A Writer’s Snow Days

We’ve had this strange weather in Texas, closing down schools for four straight days! My area has been covered in white ice…not snow…but ice. People, Texans do NOT know how to drive or even function properly with any white covering the ground. Seriously, it is like the world has shut down.

So what have I done? I haven’t written anything, except for blog posts. I have, however, been researching for my next story. I have read some Regency books and historical books, and I have watched some luscious Regency movies. Jane Austen, anyone? Yes, indeed. All in the name of research.

It has been heaven to be a slug on the couch, with either a book or Kindle in hand. I have the remote nearby to watch movies when my eyes tire of the printed page. What a great week it has been, despite my little world  coming to a stop around me.

So tell me, how do YOU spend your snow days?

I leave you with a cartoon page of how my teens are faring this week:


Doing Your Research

Research. Either you love it or you hate it. I kinda like it, even though I am always itching to just start my story and forget about learning more about the era or town or whatever is going to make my story “real” to readers.

I love romance and found early in my twenties that the regency era provided great romance with a closed door policy…for the most part. Of course, that was twenty years ago and regencies are opening that door wide. Now that CBA is selling more of that era, I’ve been a happy camper, reading a genre I love AND having a spiritual element to it.

So I’m going to write one. I think it will a perfect setting for a story I had originally thought would make a good contemporary.

But first the research. While I have read tons of regencies, I need to research about the time in history. Of course there is the library, but the internet is also a great place to poke around, finding little gems of history.

So tell me, how do YOU research? What are your favorite tools? Favorite books? Favorite places to find the information you need?

editing, research, writing

Stuck In The Swamp Of Edit-land

I’ve been editing my first chapter of my MS and have found it extremely difficult. I keep procrastinating. Alot. I mean, I’ve been “farming” on Facebook, for goodness sake! I’m not sure why I can’t seem to make myself just dig in and push my way through.

Maybe it is because there is an issue I’ve been researching and I cannot find the answer! I have searched online and found nothing. I went to the library, but alas, they were closed Thursday through Sunday for the holiday. Sigh…I even resorted to tweeting my question, but again, I came up with nothing.

The question is this: Could a medieval abbess of a convent (head nun, so to speak) force a woman to take her vows if she had been left at the convent as a young girl? Here’s another question. Could a corrupt abbess marry off same woman to the highest bidder if the woman refuses to take her vows?

I don’t want to be wrong, but then if I cannot find the answer, am I at liberty to make up whatever I want? Surely corruption abounds in every generation. Surely greed and power make people do things they normally wouldn’t do, right?

Sigh…my story hinges on the answer to these questions. I need to find answers before I move on and I really need to move on and get this MS edited!