Ally Blake Romance Author - Blog

Latest news from Australian romance author Ally Blake, writer of fun, fresh flirty romance novels.

Monday, 23 May 2011

pillow talk ~ basic preparation

First up in a series of questions asked here by the lovely Danielle: Just wondering how you set your "notes" Word File out?

For each new book I write I open a word file for the story and another I call "BACK STORY".

I started doing this at the beginning of my career when I had more ideas than I could possibly keep track of, so by creating a back story file I didn't forget the important things: Who the characters were. What they looked like. Who their families were. Where they lived. And what made them tick. I've not amended it a jot since I first started writing. Perhaps it's a comfort thing. Perhaps I'm lazy ;). Perhaps it simply works for me!

Here's what I had for THE ROGUE WEDDING GUEST (out now across North America through Harlequin Presents Extra in paperback and eBook). Do note that some of this changed in the editing process as I got to know my characters even better.

WORKING TITLE: THE LONG WEEKEND (This is imperative for me. I need a title I can hang the story on)

BLURB: (This could be something short enough you could use in a query letter?)

What happens in Tasmania stays in Tasmania...

All work and no play means that Hannah’s crush on her gorgeous boss - blockbuster adventure TV show producer Bradley Knight – has no chance of fading gracefully away. So the chance to go home to Tasmania for her sister’s wedding for a long weekend is just the break from work - and Bradley – she so badly needs.

One problem - Bradley has a gut feeling that if his most able assistant goes back to her beautiful island home, she might find more reasons to stay than to come back. Thankfully, the stunning, raw, rugged scenery of Tasmania is just the kind of place he could set his next TV show. It only makes sense that he tag along!

She can play. He can work. And who knows, maybe together they can find a way to do both!

HEROINE DETAILS & PICTURE: (same for hero):



Age: 25

Height: 5’6”

Weight: Skinny

Hair: Chestnut (reddish brown) thick, silky hair

Eyes: Pale green, soft

Complexion: Warm

Star Sign:

Other: Huuuge smile, frowns alot

(Like): Amanda Peet


Job: Personal Assistant, 18 months in job


Family: Tomboy, daddy’s little girl. Mother and sister are perfect deb types. Father died when she was 14.

Background: Moved to Melbourne when 18. Now 25. Hasn’t been home in 7 years.

Home: Tiny two bedroom apartment in Fitzroy with Sonja, Bradley’s PR manager.

Romantic history: Dates. But too busy for anything more!

Drives: Nothing

Habits: Bites nails, scrags hair back

Hobbies: Soccer as a kid


Personality: Tomboy, diligent, ambitious, competent

Passions: Success

Pet hates: Disappointing anyone

Motivation: She's invisible even while working too hard (Always felt invisible to her glamorous mum)

Goal: To be noticed - can only get there by succeeding at work

Conflict: Being with Bradley will bring her greatest hopes tumbling down



Eg. Hannah’s flatmate and BFF SONJA. PR for Bradley. Party-girl. Knows everyone in Melbourne.

THE GATEHOUSE at Cradle Mountain Tasmania

SONG: (Something I listen to over and over to jerk me into the story at the first note - often times the lyrics resonate as well, but sometimes it's just the mood of the song that feels right)

THROW YOUR ARMS AROUND ME by Hunters & Collectors

I will come for you at nighttime
I will raise you from your sleep
I will kiss you in four places
As I go running along your street

I will squeeze the life out of you
You will make me laugh and make me cry
And we will never forget it
You will make me call your name
And I'll shout it to the blue summer sky

And we may never meet again
So shed your skin and let's get started
And you will throw your arms around me
Yeah, you will throw your arms around me

I dreamed of you at nighttime
And I watched you in your sleep
I met you in high places
I touched your head and touched your feet

So if you disappear out of view
You know I will never say goodbye
And though I try to forget it
You will make me call your name
And I'll shout it to the blue summer sky...

And we may never meet again...
So shed your skin and let's get started
And you will throw your arms around me
Yeah, you will throw your arms around me

Ohhh yeah...
You will throw your arms around me...
Yeah, you will throw your arms around me....

I used to do a timeline chart & a chapter breakdown to keep track of what happened where as ideas came to me until I discovered DOCUMENT MAP in Microsoft Word which, by allowing me to create a list of trackable scene headings, I can see at a glance a list to the left of my word file telling me exactly what happens where, and by clicking on any heading I go straight to that scene. AWESOME!

Watch out for my next Pillow Talk chat next Monday! And if you have any writing craft questions, let me know and I'll answer them here.

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