Building A Book Beginning

It was October. NaNoWriMo was approaching. I had joked with a friend that I ought to try a Romance, since they seem to be popular. It was a joke because I’ve never written a romance. Actually, I’ve written short stories that turned out to be romances, and I’ve had touches of romance in some of my novels, but I’ve never written a novel that was primarily focused on the romantic relationship(s).

This happened on the way to Cincinnati, where one of the exits was the Delaware/Worthington exit. And Tammi says, she says, “That sounds like a name for your romance hero.” So it is. And I said, “And Waddy Peytona is his cousin,” the Waddy/Peytona exit being somewhat famous in the Louisville area as an exit with a funny-sounding name.

So far, so good.

NaNo seemed to be the best time to try something different, because it’s the time you shake off your inner editor and just write hell-bent-for-leather.

So, I had my genre, which meant I had my general plot arc: boy and girl meet, approach/avoidance ensues, boy and girl either get together or don’t.

How would I populate the novel? I needed a couple, of course. They would be a mixed-gender couple because that’s the only kind I’ve been part of, and I would be writing in too much of a hurry to take time to make sure I showed respect for something I didn’t understand. And, because I enjoy books with two sets of couples, I needed a best friend for each person.

I have a list of occupations and one of meeting places that #4 Daughter and I have made over the years. We haven’t kept it up; we should update it. I used the True Random Number Generator to pick four occupations and two meeting places.

  • Male Main Character: actor
  • Female Main Character: odd jobs person
  • Male Secondary Character: dog groomer
  • Female Secondary Character: hotel desk person
  • Greyhound bus station
  • motel

barkNanoI liked the actor thing, and the bus station/motel thing made me think of an actor on tour or something. But why would his best friend/cousin be on tour with him? Oo! Oo! What if my actor had a dog, and liked to take the dog with him, and his best friend/cousin came to take care of the dog? And what if the female lead was odd jobs person for a bed and breakfast, and her best friend was desk clerk for it?

So I started writing, and my fingers typed that they didn’t work there; they co-owned it. And the actor was in town to direct a play to raise money for a local charity. And he used to be a star of a TV series that the female lead loved. And then the dog bit her, and the story took off.

I’ve been sidetracked by other business this month, but I plan to get back to WORSE THAN HIS BARK in 2014.

But this is how it started.

A WRITING PROMPT FOR YOU: Click on that list of occupations an the one of meeting places. Choose two from occupations and one from meeting places and write a scene. They don’t have to be a romantic couple, or of any particular gender. Or species, come to that.



I was born in Louisville, Kentucky, but now live in the woods in southern Indiana. Though I only write fiction, I love to read non-fiction. The more I learn about this world, the more fantastic I see it is.

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One thought on “Building A Book Beginning

  1. jane

    December 9, 2013 at 10:05am

    I love it when a plan comes together!
    I think my current WIP, which is a major revision on a book I wrote during a concussed brain episode (as you will recall), is giving me challenges because i have to add about 35% (or MORE) to an original story-line which didn’t really make sense in the beginning. Now I have to marry a new beginning with a foretold ending. Hmm. I feel like I’m playing twister.
    Maybe I should try the Random Generator to stimulate my imagination. If only I knew the right questions!!

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply
    • Author

      Marian Allen

      December 9, 2013 at 11:31am

      Maybe I could conk you onna head; another concussion might put you back in the groove. No? Well, don’t say I didn’t offer!

      Permalink  ⋅ Reply
  2. Terry Cramer

    December 9, 2013 at 9:08pm

    I love the names especially! How about Ronkonkoma as a name. I love it! It is somewhere right outside Manhattan. You here it called as a stop when you take a train anywhere outside Manhattan.

    -Terry at

    Permalink  ⋅ Reply

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