Q & A with Kylie's Heel Author Susan K. Perry

An interview with writer and psychologist Susan K. Perry on her journey from writing nonfiction to writing her first novel, Kylie's Heel.

A Look at the Psychology Behind the Movie "The Purge"

Though the recent film "The Purge", in which citizens are allowed to commit any crime they like for a 12-hour period, certainly captured the imagination of the viewing public, the entire premise is based on the unfounded belief that venting rage reduces it. Find out why catharsis isn't your best bet when you're angry, and what to do instead.

Is Angst Behind All Great Creativity?

Despite the stereotype of the tortured artist, having a psychological disorder may not be the best catalyst for your creativity. Find out why and what you need instead.

Using Personal Disasters to Inform Your Writing

Bad things–sometimes terrible things–happen to us all. While they’re happening, we’re focused on surviving them. But after we manage to do that, for better or worse, we've learned something new about the human condition. And if there’s one thing writers do well, it’s share how hard it is to be human. How to use your disaster to inform your writing.

Why Finding a Life Partner Isn’t That Simple

I felt compelled to respond to Dr. Frederic Neumann’s recent post “Why Some People Can’t Find Anyone to Marry.” One can read his post as advice to singles to try harder in their search. But it's just not that simple.This post explains why and provides some suggestions to help. And not just for the singles, but also for the coupled people who love them.

Why Changing Others’ Minds is So Hard

It can be really hard to step outside of our own beliefs and values and see another's point of view. Here's why and what you can do about it.

Using the News to Inspire Your Stories

Writers often get stumped on finding new ideas. Here's how the writerly Muse might explore a news article with psychological implications.

Why Our Dark Sides Make Us Better Writers

Jungian therapists argue that delving into our psychological shadows helps us be more creative. Likewise, a willingness to write about the dark side of human nature certainly sells better than a conflict-free paradise. Learn more about how always looking into the light can hold you back.

Real-Life Suicide Assessments: Who, What, When, How

Hollywood's portrayals of suicidal characters and therapeutic suicide assessments and interventions are often grossly inaccurate. Learn how real suicide assessments are done, what safety plans are, how hospitalization works, and what the aftermath of a suicide attempt can look like.

But How Do You Feel About That?

Writing big and showing rather than telling can be good rules of thumb for the novelist. But as any good psychologist knows, what's quietly going on inside the character may be the most important thing of all.

Falling Prey to the Dark Side

Sometimes the fight for justice is what brings out our darkest side.

Using Self-Fulfilling Prophecies to Your Advantage

A self-fulfilling prophecy is a belief that comes true because we are acting as if it is already true. Learn how to harness the power of self-fulfilling prophecies in your own life.

The Anima/Animus Archetype and Romantic Chemistry

Chemistry has long been thought of as the recognition of your other half, and as psychologist Carl Jung saw it, this recognition was prompted by the archetype of the anima (what draws a man to women) or animus (what draws a woman to men). Potential love interests must have traits and behavior that resonate with your hero because they somehow make him more whole.

Why Bad Guys Think They're Good Guys

One of my biggest pet peeves about many story villains is that they walk around twisting the ends of their mustaches and declaring that they are the bad guys. In reality, most people involved in evil behavior don’t see that behavior as evil. Instead, they psychologically twist their evil behavior and argue that it's laudable.

Growing Ideas is a Process, Not a Lightning Bolt

One of the biggest myths about creativity is that ideas explode fully formed from the unconscious like a bolt of lightning. But that’s a long way from the truth. Learn about the multi-stage process most writers use when they create.

Giving Good Constructive Feedback

It's a lot easier not to get defensive when other people provide feedback in a palatable fashion. Here's how to do just that when you're trying to help others.

Do You Get Defensive When You Get Feedback?

If you get defensive when you get feedback, maybe what's really getting in between you and a great story (and publication) is a bruised ego. Read on to find out if you're undermining yourself!

Finding a Good Therapist

So you (or your character) are looking for a therapist. What should you look for? How will you find a good one? (Conversely, if you want to portray a rotten therapist for your character, have her ignore all of what follows!)

Personality Tests for Your Characters

Learn how to use psychological personality tests to construct unique character profiles and better understand why your characters do what they do!

Nonverbal Communication and Your Characters

Though most people appreciate that information is communicated through body language and vocal tone, they don't usually realize just how much. In fact, words are only part of the message in face-to-face communication; vocal tone and nonverbals are also extremely important! As a result, we often give away more about ourselves than we intend to.

What Should I Write About?

You want to write a new book, but you're not sure what to write about. Use this 3-step process to get unstuck!

Confronting Terror

Why is Halloween so alluring? Maybe because it provides people with a safe way to confront existential fears about death and personal darkness.

A Wrong Answer is a Creative Answer

One of the biggest barriers to creativity is this notion of the "right" answer. We spend our lives being taught to look for and respond with a predetermined answer some other person discovered or delineated, so of course when we want to come up with something original, we're stymied. Find out how to get unstuck!

What Really Drives Your Characters?

There are a lot of Character Outline guides out there, but few dig deeply into what really drives a character to the point of obsession. In this post, learn how to suss out your character's terrible secrets, fears, and flaws to create more compelling stories!

Writer's Block and Burnout: Getting Unstuck

Interview with Emmy award-winning writer Gene Perret on beating writer's block and burnout and getting your book written now!

Where Can I Get Ideas? That's the Wrong Question

Mental sets are thinking patterns that keep us stuck, and wondering where others get their ideas is part of a mental set that keeps us from being productive with our own.

Music Therapy for Writers: Q&A with Kimberly Sena Moore

How music can help writers—and their characters. A Q&A with board-certified music therapist Kimberly Sena Moore.

All You Need to Know is I'm a 2 x 5: Sexism in Satoshi Kanazawa's PT Post

I have an issue with Satoshi Kanazawa's now-infamous Psychology Today post for reasons beyond its racism, and that's its sexism. Women's looks are seen as paramount in our society and as such, they're constantly being rated. Women who are seen as lacking are slurred mercilessly.

Triggering the "Warrior Gene" in a Villain or Hero

More and more research is suggesting that your villain's (or hero's) coldblooded aggression may be due to biological priming. And specific kinds of training and pressure can encourage people to indulge that tendency. Read on for more about the MAO-A "warrior gene" and psychological triggers for aggression.

Should Your Character Really Get A Diagnosis?

A lot of writers are eager to diagnose their characters with a disorder when a diagnosis might be either too extreme or misleading for the story. The problem appears in all types of media!

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