Happy Friday, all!
My bloggy friend, Jeannie Campbell is on a blog tour to launch her brand new website:
The Character Therapist! It's an on online therapy service for fictional characters.
Here's a little bit about Jeannie:
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 Jeannie’s “therapeutic romance” manuscripts have garnered the high praise of being finalists in the Genesis Contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW), of which she is an active member.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 Magazine and has been featured in many other e-zines, newspapers, and blogs.
Ok. So you may be thinking that's great, but...
How can a published or aspiring writer benefit from character therapy?
1) It will help you 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) You can plot more feasibly.
Plotting the external conflict around your character’s 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) You will avoid clichéd or incorrect depictions of mental disorders.
Jeannie's 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 her brain instead of yours to avoid pitfalls of re-writing later.
Jeannie helped me out a few months ago when I was plotting a new romance. I don't normally write about deep subjects, so I wanted to get a better handle on the motivation of my hero who was in an automobile crash. His brother had died and he survived. So I emailed Jeannie my questions and asked her to talk about "survivor's guilt" for me. You can read the article HERE.
I not only wanted a clear understanding of what he would be going through, but I wanted to make sure I got my hero's symptoms and actions correct too, and that his motivations made sense to a reader. Her thoughts and insight really helped and I plan on using her for future characters. (Get ready, Jeannie!) LOL
Any kind of writer can benefit in having strong believable motivations, but I personally think for ROMANCE writers it is an essential.
Because at the beginning of any romance, you have two individuals with "issues". (Otherwise, you'd have no story) LOL Sometimes we writers like to call this internal conflict. But basically, it's some belief or lie that your characters have been taught, told, or shown in their life. This belief is what is keeping them from having a happy healthy relationship with another person. Until that issue is resolved, they cannot be happy in their relationship and have the happily ever after the reader is looking for in the end. Having a strong understanding of your character's motivation and internal issues will ultimately bring a deeper emotional experience for the reader as well.
Think your characters might benefit from some couch time now?
If you do, then email Jeannie.
CONTEST: Jeannie has generously offered to giveaway a copy of her Writer's Guide to Creating Rich Back Stories.
Giveaway will run from now until midnight (EST) Sunday, June 5th, 2011.
I will draw a commenter and announce the winner on Monday.
Thanks and have a great weekend!