Jul 15, 2013

Psychology and charater building, they go hand in hand.

Today I think we have a first in the history of this blog - a guest post!  Please say hello to Josh from The Forsaken Petal.   Josh Hoyt is a School Psychologist in Goodyear, Az and the father of four. He enjoys writing, gaming, the outdoors and landscaping. Josh has recently self-published the book How To Diagnose Your Character: Using Psychology To Create an In-Depth Character which can be purchased at Amazon.com.


I began writing four years ago and soon learned that a large part of writing is understanding the characters I write about. I had recently completed my masters in counseling and was beginning my new adventure in studying school psychology and realized that the best way to understand my characters was to use the knowledge that I had already gained from my studies and work. When I looked at the people around me and watched them, it made it easier to flesh out my characters. Their stories came to life being more realistic and true to the experiences of those around me and those I studied.

During this time I was also blogging and found that many other writers enjoyed the posts in which I used psychology to explain how to make a better character. I did this by first explaining a psychological concept, such as classical conditioning and then apply it to developing a more realistic character. After a year or so I realized that what I was writing about on my blog was very helpful to me and my readers and so I decided to write a book about it.

In the beginning I thought I could just take all my posts and put them together within a month or so and then I would be done with the book. Two years later I finally finished the editing and re-writes and started selling my book on Amazon. I was sick of the edits and glad it was done, but the excitement of seeing my book in print and then seeing people actually buying it made all the hard work worth it. I realize now that all the struggles and disappointments were worth it. I was grateful to my beta readers who showed me how to make the book better (yes my ego was hurt at times :), but they truly made the book better.

The art of writing is being willing to take all the feedback from everyone around us and then decide what feedback is good and what needs to be tossed. As writers we need to hear those around us but still allow our voice to be heard. I try to remember this as I write and receive feedback, because as writers we are unique, our voices are different. The truly amazing writers are those who have taken the feedback from those around them, filtered through it and kept their voice. This is one of the hard things that I struggle with as I write. To have the faith in my writing ability and to not try and sound like those I get advise from, but to use that advice and incorporate it into my own.

In the end my book is doing better than expected it to do and I have had many sells. I continue to write and learn how to make better characters through the use of psychology and hope that I can pass that knowledge onto my fellow writers.


If you need some time to write out some characters to improve them, why not sign up for Write it Out next month?


  1. "In the beginning I thought I could just take all my posts and put them together within a month or so and then I would be done with the book" << If only it were that easy to write a book, eh? Congrats on finally getting the book finished and out there selling.

  2. I'm a psychology major and I think it's definitely helped me understand my characters better!

    Congratulations on the success :)

  3. I love the guest post. It's important not to lose sight of what we want our writing to say when other people think they have a better idea of what it should say. ;) And Josh's book definitely sounds awesome!

  4. Thanks Gwen for hosting me you have an amazing blog and I appreciate the privilege of being on it! Thanks too everyone for your support and well wishes. I certainly hope all of your wildest dreams come true :)

    Patricia: Yes I agree!

    Samantha: It's amazing to me how much understanding psychology helps us in our writing.

    Madeline: I hope that you enjoy the book and that it is helpful.

  5. I used to work in a college library and borrow the (simple) psychology books to read at lunch time. It's definitely an interesting subject. Congrats on the book Josh :-)