Monday, October 13, 2014

CONFESSIONS OF A SELF-HELP WRITER's Benjamin W. DeHaven Discusses Character Creation (+ Giveaway)

Welcome to my stop on the virtual book tour for Confessions of a Self-Help Writer by Benjamin W. DeHaven, a literary fiction with humor book available now from Lagniappe Publishing. This guest post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Click on the banner to visit other stops on this tour.


A ghost, a philanthropist, a con man, a devout Catholic, a gigolo, a savior, an heir, a common man, and an addict are just some of the words used to describe Michael Enzo, who some sources credit with ghost-writing more than 108 self-help books on behalf of celebrities, politicians and business leaders. After failing to make what he considered to be a positive impact on society he began to destroy those closest to him including Benjamin DeHaven, the author of this book, and former collaborator. Defrauding an industry for almost 20 years by exploiting people's insecurities and profiting from them, more than likely these friends contributed more to the field of self-help, while profiting from it, than they will ever know. Believing they could only understand people's problems by suffering along with them, they lived on the razor's edge. If you've ever picked up a tell-all biography of a celebrity or a title from the self-help section at the bookstore, certainly you would question the source.This is an inside look at the mind of Michael Enzo and it is the author's hope that people will start helping themselves again after reading it. Discover what turns someone from preaching salvation towards seeking its destruction. You won't believe this could be true.

Purchase at: Barnes and Noble | Amazon



Character Creation
Characters are created out of a unique need to be someone else. The hardest part about writing characters is becoming someone else and not writing a character as your interpretation of them. Does that make sense? Also-show me don’t tell me. I need to come to the understanding that your main character is depressed, maybe in her dialogue, or an action. But don’t say, “Jane was depressed because.” I think if you do that you have lost the character. To create you have to constantly question actions. Why did Jane purposely put sweet n low in Paul’s coffee and leave the pink paper out so he would see it?

I never wanted to be a murderer, but if I wanted to write a murder mystery, I would do a ton of research. Which kind of leads to the next question—how can you screw this up? –Hopefully, you don’t have an audience of readers who have murdered people. They are the only one’s who would read that character and say ”That’s not at all what I felt like.” So if you are writing characters based on deep rooted assumptions, this is the best place to play with a reader. Meaning we already know how characters are supposed to act—what if they suddenly didn’t. Those are the characters I like to meet. I love to write characters with an essential flaw and try to make them arc into something different. Not everyone can be who they want, suck it up. (from Confessions of a Self-Help Writer)

AUTHOR Bio and Links

A Graduate of Columbia College in Chicago, Benjamin DeHaven keeps his heart in Chicago and his soul in New Orleans. He holds a MBA from Tulane and a film degree from Columbia. Once ejected from a community college for arguing Frost cried out for acceptance in Birches, he has since written screenplays, traded futures in Madrid, and was Editor in Chief of the Nola Shopper Newspaper, a free art newspaper and the 2nd largest monthly paper in the New Orleans, MSA. . He also has a "shout out" in a Jay "Z" Song.

DeHaven, who currently resides in Las Vegas began his writing career with Stone United, a Chicago based Film Company, which works primarily in independent film. As an unknown fiction writer, he feels the best description of himself, is a sarcastic one and is as follows:

Benjamin W. DeHaven was born on a pool table after a Waylon Jennings' concert in 1977. His personal success is outweighed only by his stunning good looks and adherence to unwritten moral guidelines. He has been described as a thinking man's Tucker Max as well as an idiot's Hunter S. Thompson. His goal is to die from an unwavering commitment to be more like Hemingway.

He and Michael Enzo were friends.





Amazon Author Page

Goodreads Author Page


Prizes for the tour are as follows:

 • Five signed hardcover copies of the book (US only) 
 • One randomly chosen winner via rafflecopter will win a $50 Amazon/ gift card.

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Love how it is talked about in developing characters (by the way you had me cracking up about developing a murderer). Sometimes you think that coming up with characters can be easy but in retrospect it is not because as stated, you can't just saw "x was depressed"

  2. Thanks so much for hosting me on your blog. This was one of my favorite questions as well. (I actually forgot I had written this response-but enjoyed it).

  3. Thanks for stopping by Ben. I enjoyed the guest post! I have read a few books this summer whose authors could have used your character advise.

    I voted for the book on the Confessions listopia on Goodreads.

    I wonder if I've read any of Enzo's 108 self-help books ghost written on behalf of celebrities, politicians and business leaders... [taps chin thoughtfully].

  4. I love the excerpt! Very Interesting!

  5. I liked learning about Michael Enzo. Thank you

  6. Thanks I found the character creation part really interesting

  7. It drew me in, the plot development is intriguing

  8. Thanks again for all the great comments and for the Listopia nod!! I think Scribd might have Confessions for free this month?(Or reduced-I'm not sure how it works) Really fun group and great blog to star off with!

  9. It is a fun guest post!

    Trix, vitajex(at)aol(dot)com

  10. i liked the blurb

  11. I liked the BLURB!