Monthly Archives: January 2016

My First Blog

SixTraits“There are no shortcuts to any place worth going,” Beverly Sills

This quote certainly held true with the writing and publishing of my first novel – Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty. The following is the journey I took along with the tools I had or acquired along the way.

My interest in writing developed from my earlier careers commencing in the human services field where I held various executive positions which afforded the opportunity to compose and create technical and operational handbooks for staff and volunteers.

I then ventured into the travel industry and owned several travel management companies which led to the co-founding of a marketing consortium and nationwide independent contractor network with over 5000 members. A part of my job was to write daily travel briefings, supplier updates and a bi-weekly e-newsletter for this membership.

There was a road map of sorts to follow when writing for these focused groups with reference guides, employee manuals, travel supplier information and travel advisory bulletins etc.

Writing fiction, however, required a major retooling of my skills. Seminars, author readings and signings, webinars, research, conferences and periodicals – all assisted in my learning process.

Here are some of the key pointers that helped me question and define my approach:

  • Purpose (What is my aim or goal? Do I have determination and resolve?)
  • Focus (What’s the central point? Do I have the concentration and vision?)
  • Substance (What is the framework or essence on which I am to build?)
  • Logic (Is there sound reasoning and thinking? Does this make sense?)
  • Organization (What type of process will be necessary?)
  • Information (Do I have the enough facts and data? Need more research?)
  • Knowledge (How will my experience and wisdom assist in this pursuit?)

But a novel is meant to be enjoyed. It’s not a textbook.

The following elements I learned remain benchmarks to good storytelling. Thus the list of prominent skills continues:

  • Creativity (Do I have the imagination and inspiration?)
  • Imagery (Can I form mental images of my characters?)
  • Humor (Can I add wit? Do I have a sense of humor to carry me through?)
  • Excite (Do my characters and plot stir emotions or feelings?)
  • Entertain (Do my characters and plot hold one’s attention?)

This composite of cerebral and the emotional qualities, along with a convincing and compelling style, are vital to connect and engage the reader. The essentials of character development, plot and pacing, entice the reader to want more and aim for the wow at the end.

But what comes first in the creative process – the character/ characters or the storyline?

For me it began with a character. Cautiously triumphant at the development of my protagonist, I thought the flood gates to the storyline would stream forth . . . . The more I pressed on, the more I took pause.

After months of contemplation, I experienced an epiphany. Although reluctant to abandon the present characterization of my female lead, it was clear I couldn’t move her or the storyline forward without major adjustment.

I was weary with the character and knew if I was bored with her my readers too would lose interest.

The re-casting began. She would not longer be a “party girl” but rather would have a pedigree education (Swiss Boarding middle school and Ivy League university degrees), and a defining career running a worldwide conglomerate with her father struggling with the tensions and conflicts of their contentious relationship.

She was named Christiana Lynn Barrington. As the new creation of Christiana unfolded, I finally had my storyline. The pieces, the characters, the overall conceptual plan was formulated.

I developed a reference guide for each main character outlining the basic tenets and data (outward description, personality traits, disposition, temperament, style, achievements/goals, interests/hobbies etc.)

With the written narrative, I found a picture that captured the essence of the character. Attaching the resume behind the picture, I had a visual aid that I affixed on a bulletin board in my office for easy reference.

Glancing at a picture of one of my characters – noting his sly grin, mischievous smile, penetrating eyes – helped me pinpoint dialogue and plot development.

This approach to character development and writing motivation won me acknowledgement and narrative last year in Writer’s Relief. This gave me a much needed confidence boost.

Now the story developed some bite and momentum. My characters were forming, conflicts both personal and business ebbed and flowed, tension and intrigue was building.

There truly were no shortcuts but I know the place I’m going is a place clearly worth going to.

My plan is to offer ideas and suggestions on writing cultivated and acquired from various sources, along with interesting tidbits about my passion for travel. In between, you will find bits of irony, exasperation and humor that get us through the day.

I’d welcome your comments and am reachable at:

Blog #3 Writing Dismissed

My husband and I were supposed to be out of town last week with my brother and sister-in-law. However, a call from our daughter requesting child care assistance made for a prompt change of plans. The thirteen year old granddaughter had a “High School Presentation Night” and both parents desired to attend to talk with… Continue Reading

Blog #4 Character Motivation

“Motivation is the power behind plot.” Elizabeth Moon. Why do characters act or do as they do? The answer lies with motivation. Since characters will not act unless motivated, it’s the writer’s job to ensure motivation is retained and understood for forward movement of the storyline. An understanding of the motivation must be ensured not… Continue Reading

Travel Writing

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.” St. Augustine. Travel is my passion but when I travel governed with the intention of writing an article or blog – I’m guided with a different purpose and a submission deadline. As a travel writer, I must get fully immersed… Continue Reading

Book Excerpt Blog From Son of My Father – A Family Dynasty

To set the stage, Christiana Lynn Barrington and her father Jonathan Robert Barrington have just completed another major acquisition to add to their portfolio of companies under Barrington Holdings International. With the purchase of Sterling Hotels Worldwide, the company now owns the largest worldwide hotel and resort conglomerate. Jonathan and Christiana were primed for this… Continue Reading

Developing Good Dialogue in your stories

Developing good dialogue should be easy since it’s basically a conversation with two or more people. We talk and converse with people everyday. However, we’ve all experienced times in discourse when we take pause – not really sure what to say or how to say it. For the writer this is magnified as crisp and… Continue Reading

Writing Methods and Locations – What are your Preferences?

These great authors had some interesting ways, locations and methods for writing. Amantine Lucile-Aurore Dupin best known by her pseudonym George Sand wrote “A Winter in Majorca” in the town of Valldemossa on the island of Majorca, one of the Balearic Islands in the Mediterranean Sea, with her companion Frederic Chopin in a monastery in… Continue Reading

Profile Promote and Propel – these words are at the core of Rave Reviews Book Club

What Rave Reviews Book Club (RRBC) has done for me! How far this virtual organization has come in a relatively short period of time, is amazing. With the vision, talent and determination of the founder, Nonnie Jules, along with her board and team – together their skills, creativity, time and effort have forged a unique… Continue Reading

Writing Tips

Since the completion of my first novel and work progressing on the second book, I’ve reflected on the writing process and what was learned and what advice I would share with someone starting the “Creative Writing Journey.” I’ve categorized my thoughts and tips under several headings with the focus only on writing – not publishing,… Continue Reading