You thought I was going to talk about the movie didn't you?
Where does it begin for you---the journey? For me, it's always a single scene, and that single scene almost always comes to me while I am sleeping. For the Guardians trilogy, I saw the raid on Palingard---Moriors flying in a black mass over the horizon.
For Nightshade, it was the Fae masquerade scene in the Winter Court of Avalar---a girl dressed in a gorgeous gown, from our world, dancing with a man in white who didn't know who she was. Two polar emotions; he was elated, enjoying himself, while she grieved, the very act of his touch excruciating. I woke up with a sob stuck in my throat because I could feel her pain---her panic---because that man was her husband.
For Beggar King, it was a rare moment of weakness for Sedellion princess Callista, now mute, as she clung to life in an Ashorite prison, tortured and condemned to death by her lover for a crime she couldn't have committed---her own murder (that of her altar ego).
Funny how things like that work out. I won't know everything about the story while I am in the midst of it, but once consciousness comes, I'll know without a doubt who the players are and exactly what they were doing there. But that feeling of, not fully knowing, lingers and is usually what spurs me on. It's almost as if I have been allowed, for one brief moment, a glimpse into what it truly feels like in my characters' shoes.
It's a dirty window, where I've glimpsed a fraction of what exists beyond. As I clean the glass, it all becomes clear, but it has never felt like creation to me. These things are already in place, just beyond the grime or the pervasive film of sleep, and my job is to clear all the excess away, till nothing but the story remains.
So, what is your process? Where does it all come from for you?