March Meeting Roundup and Good News

by Susan Burns


Laurie Schnebly Campbell
Laurie Schnebly Campbell

Laurie Campbell is a spitfire of enthusiasm. Is anyone a happier writer than she is? That’s probably because she’s found the secret to merging the worlds of Plotters and Pantsers, using her straightforward method of going deep into the flow of character motivation that will bring us romance authors to our Happily Ever Afters.

From her Amazon page profile: “Laurie Schnebly Campbell grew up in a family that discussed psychology around the dinner table, so her favorite part of writing fiction is creating characters with likable, plausible personalities.”

In conducting workshops for writers, she applies her psychology skills to this end. She’s even written a book, maybe as a follow-up to her workshops, BELIEVABLE CHARACTERS: CREATING WITH ENNEAGRAMS.

Laurie tells us that in writing our romances we should take people that are perfect for each other and make them suffer. They say through suffering comes wisdom, but for our characters, Laurie says, suffering motivates how characters go about their unique ways of problem solving.

To understand our characters and how they’ll react in specific situations to specific challenges, we need them to face realistic conflicts (both internal and external).


Laurie started this topic with a story about her own publishing career. She thought she’d struck it rich when she got a contract on her first book, but then it was three long years of rejection until another of her ideas sold.

Now, what she learned she shared with us—about making her characters so believable that they jump off the page:


The PLOT is what happens to your characters, what they do about it. What makes them do it (that’s MOTIVATION).

Laurie handed out two sets of worksheets: PLOTTING VIA MOTIVATION (2 pages) and FROM PLOT TO FINISH (7 pages) [A suggestion here is to make blank copies of the pages to help in all future writing projects].

We were asked to select our couple, give them their major motivations (hopefully contrasting) and challenge each character with the various aforementioned problems until their emotional arcs arrive at healthy HEA relationships. In doing so, whether plotter or pantser, we get a better idea of how our plot will unfold based on how each character naturally faces their challenges.

Laurie suggested that maybe we cannot stay in our comfortable zones to adequately entertain our readers. Maybe their real reasons for doing things aren’t really heroic or noble. But even unexpected reasoning fascinates, because it proves our characters are just like us, and just like our readers. All of us want happy endings, no matter what challenges we might face.

Laurie took on a very difficult topic for most of us—the psychology of human motivation. With her help, we went down into the valley of human emotions and fears, she gently guided us back out.


This Saint Patty’s Day, RWASD President Rick Ochocki wears his kilt with green stockings as he, along with Dee Cannon welcomes our speaker Laurie Schnebly Campbell.

Mary Galusha mentioned that WRITE FOR THE MONEY may involve long or short-term goals. This month’s winner of $17 for reaching her goal is Tessa.

Tessa McFionn says we’re looking for Atta guy and Atta girl winners for next month. They can be anyone who has been an extraordinary help to the chapter, or who has worked through extraordinary challenges.

Tessa announced the April Challenge she’ll be heading up:

Each year we hold a writing challenge so our members can get words on the pages of their stories. You can pay $5 through our website via PayPal to get your name on our Google Worksheet site. List your goal by the end of March, and at the end of each week input how much you’ve done toward your goal. At the April meeting, she’ll have halfway prizes, and at the end, those who have met their goals will get prizes. This year goals can be either creating new text or editing old text.

Margaret Taylor on PROGRAMS: April 21st workshop will feature Geoff Symon, Federal forensic investigator. He’ll tell us about his role in collecting and preserving evidence from 911, the shuttle disaster, and the Chandra Levy disappearance.

Patrizia Hayashi and Janet Tait covered our next online writing classes:

Pat Haggerty—Wordpress for Writers (April 1-30)

Inez Johnson—Creating A Book Trailer (May 7-June 3)

Demi’s happy March birthday goes to Sylvia Mendoza. (Great to see our former prez at the meeting.)


  • Linda Thomas-Sundstrom will have three Harlequin Nocturnes out in 2018.
  • Tessa McFionn’s book TO DISCOVER A DEVINE will be released March 20, 2018 (It’s Science Fiction Romance (SFR)—Whoa, see the cover!)
  • Cari Dowling, pen name CCWylde, signed with Entangled.
  • Donnamaie White is releasing her eBook The Italian Vampire (she’s a Fabio fan forever!)
  • Mary Galusha, gave a talk to the Ramona Vicente Woman’s Club on February 28th about her upcoming book, RACHEL’S SECRET. She also signed copies of SAPPHIRE SKIES.
Just Chatting (L to R): Linda Thomas-Sundstrom, Tami Vahalik, and Cari Dowling
(L to R) Margaret Taylor, Laurie Campbell , and Pam Moran


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