Wednesday, June 15, 2011

My Favorite Therapist and How She Helped Me + a Giveaway

I'm talking about THE CHARACTER THERAPIST, Jeannie Campbell. I've always been partial to her last name too. Wonder why.

Jeannie has this GREAT new website that she will use to help our MC's with all their nagging problems. If you've never used her, followed her, or otherwise supported her, get going NOW! Well, after you read how she helped me with Miller. (My character in my YA mystery.)

My question had to do with my MC's behavior after his mother's untimely death. I wanted to know if I had written him right. In other words, I had him making very unusual, uncharacteristic decisions. He was always goal oriented up to this point. Now he was skipping school, etc. Jeannie was spot on and the very thorough advice she gave me led to a new and exciting plot for the book. Things happened that I never anticipated. The book took on a new life and I truly believe it was because of the direction Jeannie gave me in her answer while I was on her couch. She mentioned that his goal of becoming a physician for his mother is divided by his desire to find the mother’s killer. Both goals involve his mother and doing something for her, but he can only choose one. These are the type books that keep readers turning. What will he decide? Make sure to include plenty of pressure from the school system administrators and teachers, threatening to take away his valedictorian status, which will in turn prevent him from getting into a good college, which won’t help him get into a good med school….see the angst? This advice plus added stuff about his aunt turned my story around. And she can help you too.

 Isn't she GORGEOUS???? Hmm, lovely smile, Jeannie. Yanno? I'm shopping for a smile. Yours would do quite nicely. Mwa ha ha ha

Jeannie's bio:

Jeannie the Therapist:
Jeannie Campbell is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist (MFC # 45366) in the state of California. She is Head of Clinical Services for a large non-profit in Humboldt County, and enjoys working mainly with children and parents.
Jeannie graduated summa cum laude from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary with a Masters of Divinity with Specialization in Psychology and Counseling and magna cum laude from the University of Mississippi with a double major in psychology and journalism. She has worked in a crisis pregnancy center, psychiatric hospital, drug rehabilitative program, several non-profits and homeless shelters, a foster family agency, and in private practice.
Jeannie the Writer:
Jeannie has been writing ever since she received a diary for her fifth birthday. She began writing angst-ridden middle-grade novels in junior high, often commandeering the family computer for hours on end. After eight years of higher educational pursuits, she moved onto adult contemporary romance and romantic suspense, frequently using her day job as a therapist to generate lots of fodder for her night job as a writer.
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.
What is Character Therapy? From her website:
Character Therapy is what I do when I use my professional training and experience as a licensed clinician to evaluate and diagnose fictional characters.

How can you—a published or aspiring writer—benefit?
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 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) 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, LMFT
the character therapist
 And I had to show you this: Elizabeth Mueller  did this. Is she talented or what?

 Jeannie will give away a copy of her Writer's Guide to Creating Rich Back Stories. So do a comment and she'll do a giveaway. Jeannie is here if you have any questions. So?? :-) Ask away people. Ask away. 


  1. Love this woman! And love what she does for writers. So proud of her!

  2. Oh wow! This is very cool! Character therapy. Who knew?

  3. Katie, she sure helped this writer out of a jam. I didn't know how to write him. After Jeannie's help, I wrote him like no one else could. :-)

  4. Melissa, she's great. Need to know anything about your character's mental state? Ask her. She's wonderful! :-)

  5. This is such a great concept... What fun...

    Thanks for featuring Jeanie, Robyn.

  6. robyn--thanks so much for your kind words! i'm so glad to have helped out. :) thanks for featuring me on your website, too.

    katie - thanks for dropping by, crit partner!

    melissa - not very many know, thus the blog tour that i'm so grateful to have buddies helping me out on!

    michael - thanks for following my blog!

  7. Great post, Robyn,and thanks Jeannie. Love the idea of character therapy. It sounds great.

    A question for Jeannie,

    My MC is trying to make her ten year old friend (he is a boy she likes and he too likes her) jealous by acting friendly with another guy in school.One day, she realizes that she actually has started liking the new boy. Now she is torn between two boys. What emotions should a ten year old feel.

  8. Michael, It is a blessing to have Jeannie. She's SUPER DE DUPERLY FANTASTIC!

  9. Rachna, You're welcome, friend. Character therapy is awesomely cool! And especially when Jeannie is at the other end of the couch! :-)

  10. Very cool. I've heard people say during movies that I don't think that's an appropriate reaction, so this would definitely be helpful.

  11. Wonderful! Thanks to both of you for sharing this, and for the giveaway. :) Will be checking out Jeannie's new site; thanks for the heads up about it.

    Blessings and hugs!

    Karen :D

  12. Thanks Karen. She's wonderful! :-) Hugs amigo!

  13. Jeannie is amazing with helping with characterization!! And such a wonderful person to chat with, too!!!

  14. You are so right, Eileen. Her advice really made my story come alive. :-)

  15. I love the idea of character therapy! we did something sort of like this on the Compuserve Books and Writers Community - you can learn so much by asking your characters a barrage of questions.

  16. rachna -

    10-year-olds are still fairly self-centered, although they are developing a moral code of sorts. she might feel badly about liking two boys, conflicted in which one she likes the most. she might try doing some silly game of sorts to figure out which one she likes the best, which could be hysterical to the reader.

    patti, karen, and eileen - hello! thanks for stopping by today. :)

  17. I've already won, but wanted to let you know that I follow Jeannie and love her blog and yours. Good stuff. Write on!!!
    Oh, I did the "Tag" game today, too.

  18. I have to head over. We have had spotty internet, because of storms moving through. Glad you love my blog, cuz I really, really love your blog. :-)

  19. mary - hope you're enjoying the guide!

  20. Jeannie...thanks for your feedback. I loved the idea of my character playing a game to see which boy she likes more. This has great potential for adding humour. Thanks for your wonderful advice.

  21. Thanks for posting about her, Robyn! I haven't heard about Jeannie, or her work, before and am so glad I have now! I'm heading over to her site now to peruse all of the goodies on it :)

  22. I do follow Jeannie's blog, but haven't visited in a bit. It's always good to know that good to know there's a resource like this for writers. I read sometimes, but haven't thought about asking any questions. Maybe my characters are too tame. :)

  23. Thanks for introducing me to her.

    Many times I've read books with MCs who seem too outrageous and unrealistic with their disorders. Jeannie's advice is truly helpful to avoid this.

  24. Jeannie sounds like a WONDERFUL resource! I have all kinds of questions about what to do with an MC. I guess I'd better head on over to her site and ask :) Thanks for sharing!

  25. Very cool! I had no idea that Character Therapy existed. It sounds like she really helped you out Robyn! I'll have to pop over and check her site out. :) Thanks for the linkage...

  26. This kind of therapy is essential to every writer. I can't wait to check out her site. Thanks Robyn!


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