Friday, August 13, 2010


Inception: origin, an event that is a beginning; a first part or stage of subsequent events. 

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? 


  1. Creativity to me is an amazing thing and I've been appreciating it as a diverse talent that manifests itself in different ways for each of us. Get five people in the room and there will be eight separate creative ideas.

    I'm a blend of possibility observation and raw ideas that appear, some of them so powerful to my poor brain that they move their way to the front and just fester there, driving me crazy, until I get them out.

    For example, for Dragonsong, I was thinking about all the dragon stories and games that I have played with dragons in them. Then I thought why do we persist these myths about dragons? Why do we find them so fascinating? Do dragons love? Could a dragon love a woman, really love? What if it was a shape-changing dragon that could appear human? What if the dragon was also a female? What if the dragon was a creature of magic? What type of magic? Maybe it's magic through the gift of singing. Maybe, the dragon isn't a dragon at all but a manifestation of raw, singing talent sung on a beautiful morning as the singer sang her song of loneliness and wanting across the water?

    Things like this will eat at me until I have to put it to bed by putting it to words. The words might be crap but boy do I feel better when I am done.

    Then again sometimes an idea for me is like chasing a beautiful women in my dreams. I'll chase her and chase her and chase her and then, when I catch her, and she turns her eyes to me and smiles, I suddenly wonder just what I'm going to do now, besides, of course, the obvious.

  2. Interesting post. Unlike the kid in Sixth Sense, I don't see dead people, I see my endings. At the beginning of the process, I don't have a clue how I will get there, or who will be involved, but I take a piece of technology, ask what if, and then give it few twists.

    Once I have the end in view, I start walking the story back, further and further until I find the beginning. Then I try to hook the reader with something as close to the end as possible, and build the story to get there.

    Spelled out like that, it sounds a simple process, but it's not. Making sure all the pieces fit together seamlessly, is hard. It's the writing.

  3. I love your dirty window analogy! That's kind of how I feel. I get this little sliver of an idea, a crack of light like in your picture and it just takes off from there if I decide to run with it.


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