Saturday, November 5, 2011

ASK AN EXPERT: A Few Good Resources for Writers

I've recently discovered two professionals who offer their expertise specifically for the writer's use. I'm totally intrigued and want to introduce them to you!

1. THE CHARACTER THERAPIST:  An Online Therapy Service for Fictional Characters  is provided by Jeannie Campbell,  Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist.

If you're struggling with your protagonist's (or other character's) behavior, you can make an appointment for him/her to spend time on Jeannie's couch.  There's an intake form which is by no means easy to fill out. But that's a good thing since it forces you to have a decent understanding of the character before wasting the therapist's time!  Based on the info you give, Ms. Campbell addresses your character's emotional makeup in a blog post. She'll also provide more intensive feedback for a fee. I love this concept and have thoroughly enjoyed eavesdropping on Jeannie's counseling sessions! Perhaps I'll even schedule one. If only I could decide which of my characters needs it most!

Ms. Campbell provides lots of other useful info as well, such as insights into mental disorders, Skype consultations, and Therapeutic Editing.  And since laughter is the best medicine she throws in a helping of that as in the NaNoWriMo Stress Reduction Kit which will either make you laugh or give you a headache.

2.  REDWOOD'S MEDICAL EDGE: Medical Fact for Your Fiction provides medical information related to your story line.  
Jordyn Redwood is a novelist and a registered nurse with years of Emergency Room and Intensive Care experience. She accepts your medical questions via email and after spending an hour researching your topic, she blogs the answer.  More intensive input is available for a fee. Redwood provides info on specific diseases and on medical history. She hosts guest bloggers who write on health topics outside her expertise.  

As an author with 3 disease related novels, I have no trouble imagining the need for Redwood's Medical Edge.. In fact, a google search on polio brought me to this 3 Part Guest Post by author Sarah Sundin. I'm eager to explore other topics on Jordyn's site.

BTW - both of these ladies have gorgeous websites.

I'm curious - if you were to offer an online service to help writers with authenticity, what would that service be?


  1. What a good question to end this blog with! I think I'd ask writers why they're writing the particular book they are writing. That's not exactly a service, but would be a "probing question," would it not?

  2. Probing questions are always good.

    And of course, there's dentistry! Bet you could answer some questions about that.

  3. Oh my, both of these sound GREAT! The therapy one really intrigued me and made me laugh, and the medical one made me say, "Of COURSE, how PERFECT." I'm bookmarking these. Thanks!

  4. It's always good to have a doctor on call, don't you think, Marcia?

  5. I have been reading the Character therapist. Author Jeannie Campbell just surveyed her readers about whether they were plotters (those who write outlines and character sketches) or pantsters (those who write by the seat of their pants.) then she tried to compare those results to Meyers-Briggs IDs. I'd like to see this done on a broader scale. How about a Meyers-Briggs inventory for characters?

    I'd also like someone to set up shop with Q&A about periods in history and life in different cultures. I wouldn't make it my first-stop for background info. That would eliminate the fun of doing research, but it would be helpful to have an affirmation.

  6. Edupreneur - I "scanned" Jeannie Campbell's Myers Briggs blog posts as they came into my inbox. But I didn't fill out the survey or work too hard to comprehend all the results.

    I'm part panster and par plotter but mostly panster for sure.

    The Q & A about culture and periods of history sounds like a great idea. Might have to be a group effort, though!

    What are you writing? Care to share?

  7. Hmm... what about demographic profile info for the audience the author is writing for? If he/she is writing for a specific audience maybe it would be helpful to understand more about who their readers will be.

  8. Oh Joyce, this is so helpful!
    For my first and second manuscripts, I turned to books and my family a lot for expertise. But with the one I am working on now, my characters are getting into all sorts of legal trouble! I tried free services like "ask a lawyer," but those are supposed to be for real people, and they discourage "make-believe" and "speculation." Someone needs to start a legal advice for writers site! ;) Never thought I'd wished I went to law school, but if I had, that's what I would do...

  9. Amy - demographic profile - fascinating idea! There's a new blog idea for you to write.

    Katia - there are plenty of lawyers turned writers who could do this. And I know at least one personally. (copyright lawyer)But she's not putting that on her blog and she's busy enough without doing so! Until we get a legal advice blog, I guess we have to use facebook, huh? It's a great place to throw out a question and see what comes back.

  10. Joyce, these are great websites. I particularly liked the online therapist, since I live with a therapist.

    I wish my daughter could read blogspot in China, she is a writer with character problems sometimes - but alas the Great Firewall prevents it.

    Your question at the end - I would probably offer research services or editing services. Not very exciting, I guess.

  11. Alex, for some of us, research and editing services are truly exciting!

    Ah - I'm sorry about The Great Firewall. Must be so frustrating! If she wants to partner up via email sometime put her in touch with me. Maybe we can help each other out. (I assume email is an option.)

  12. Okay, that's so cool! Carol told me about the therapist after she read one of Write2ignite posts... now I know where she saw it AND I now have two great resources! So cool!

    You are always full of great info, my friend. Thank you!

    My online service would be, "Photoediting for your character. Are they too dark? Do they need more exposure? Are they too blurry? I can sharpen them for you! Are they stuck in a vignette? Do you have good composition? Here at Fiction Photo... we've got what you need!" :) :)

  13. WAIT... YOU are the one who told me about it!! LOL! I am going back to my little corner now...

  14. It's OK, Donna. If I told you about it I've already forgotten!

    Now, back to my little corner.

  15. Wonderful blog & good post.Its really helpful for me, awaiting for more new post. Keep Blogging!

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