A Buck and a Quarter, Part One
The reason this website was created was to help aspiring writers to finally start that book they have been thinking about and putting off for years. I know how difficult it is to start something that seems so big and unattainable, so I had an idea. I have just started writing a new book, and I am going to write and publish the entire book right here on this website.
You are probably wondering why I would do this. Yes, I realize that anyone could steal my idea and publish the book as theirs, but I really don’t care. I don’t write books to get rich, or to make my mark on the literary world. I write because I enjoy it. So, I am going to start at the very beginning and show you the process that I use. Hopefully, your book will be next!
One thing to remember… You may not like the story, but that’s irrelevant. I just want to show you the basic process I use, so you can have a starting place for your book. I am by no means an expert, but I have written and published two novels and seven books. I just want to share my experience with you.
In the beginning…
When I first thought about writing this book, I wanted to do something that came easily to me. If I write a book about surgery, I have to research being a surgeon, and that’s a lot of work. I wanted to write a fiction story, about someone who did someone else wrong. So, I decided on a kind of detective story, where a large company stepped on the little guy.
Now, keep in mind that all of this so far is just a beginning thought. If I decide in writing that I am heading in the wrong direction, that’s ok… It’s my book. Nothing is set in stone. By the time I finish the first chapter, I might have changed the whole plot.
Since I am a 22-year Navy veteran, I decided to use other veterans for my main characters. I know my way around the military, so this would be a good start. Now I need a location. I went to submarine school in Connecticut, and I loved that area. I decided to use Mystic Seaport for the origin of my story. So now I have a basic idea of what I am doing.
The Main Characters
As I said, I needed good characters that I could easily relate to, so this is what I came up with. I needed a starting place, so I created a bar in Mystic. It needed to be a different kind of bar, so I created one with a history. I wanted a pub with a ghost story behind it because ghost stories are fun. I decided on a story of a ship’s captain who was made to walk the plank. So here is what I have so far…
Russell “Russ” Denning (49)– Owns the Knotty Skipper Pub in Mystic, Ct. Retired Navy, Federal Marshal 11 years. Lives in one of the two rooms above his pub.
So far so good. Now I need some family and background for Russ, so…
Agnes Denning (72)– Rusty’s mom, lives in the family home a few miles away in Stonington.
Angela Denning Warren (33) – Rusty’s kid sister. Runs the kitchen at the Knotty Skipper, lives with mom in the family home. A smart lady usually helps the guys figure out how to do things. Angela is divorced and has two kids: Rachael (14) and Nathan (13). Their father bailed on them a couple years back and mom took her old name again. Russ fills in when a dad figure is needed.
OK, now I have a start. I also wanted to incorporate other branches of the service, and I also needed other characters to give my story flavor, so here is the Knotty Skipper crew:
Samuel “Danny Boy” Williams (52) – a Huge man, 6’7”, 350 lbs. Got the nickname Danny Boy by dressing up as a huge leprechaun one St. Patrick’s Day long ago. A nice guy that loves to scare people. Retire Marine, enlisted, Master Sgt., 27 years.
Ernest “Ernie” Hobbs (41) – Nice guy, quiet, very smart. Spent 16 years in the Air Force, was medically discharged after an accident. Very nice looking, ladies’ man.
William “Bill” Morris (48) – Retired Navy mechanic, can fix anything. He and his wife, Jillian “Jill” Morris (40) – eat dinner at the Knotty Skipper three or four times a week.
Now I wanted someone to give the bar atmosphere… perhaps an old sailing man who sits quietly at the bar waiting for someone to show interest in his sea stories.
General Allister Toms (81) – Retired Army General, hits on Russ’ mom. Quiet guy, but when you ask him a question, you are in for a story!
My thought process…
As you can probably tell, one of my main interests is an atmosphere. I like sea stories and legends coupled with fun places that almost anyone would like to visit. All my characters are based loosely on real people whom I know or have known in the past. The bar itself comes from my many trips to the United Kingdom, and all the stories the old seaman would tell while drinking their pints.
Now that I have my basic starting point, I need to work on my plot. I am not exactly sure of how it will go yet, so tonight I will be giving it some thought for the next article. There is one thing I have figured out, and that’s the title. “A Buck and a Quarter.” I am not 100% sure how that title will work into the story, but I kind of like it. As I said, nothing is in stone. I will use this title for this series of articles.
And now the Cover…
Yes, I know… who does the cover first? I do. Creating the cover first makes the book real. I like making a basic cover, but if I decided to change it as I go, no worries. Now if you are wondering how I made the cover, I just used cut out images and my cell phone camera on my hardwood floor. I know it’s a bit cheesy, but I can make it look more professional later. Right now, it a rough draft cover.
And that’s it so far. We have a place, a cast, and a cover. It may not seem like much, but now my mind is working in a thousand different directions. Even if I scrap everything I have done so far, I have started the process, and that’s all I need right now. My mind, like your mind, will come up with more than enough ideas to get us rolling.
A great start!
Look for the next article where I will pick up right here where I left off. If you are getting ideas about how to start your book, go for it. In the next article, we will make a basic outline for our story, so we can divide it into rough chapters. If this article has inspired you at all, or if you just have a comment, please leave it below. Thanks for dropping by…