In my last post, I wrote a little bit about my process. In short, nothing comes as a fully packaged idea. I'll get a bit here--the first spark of inspiration that gives me a character--then work out what's happened in this person's life to make them who they are. Later, something about their personality will give a clue as to the story around them. And going from story idea to actual plot is the bulk of the work.
Sometimes, this can be relatively short. Maybe a month ago or so, the idea of writing about a sympathetic Satanist bloomed in my mind. I had a vague idea of what she looked like and knew that, other than her religion, she'd be relatively ordinary. No fangs or fur, and if she used any magic at all, it would the sort that modern witches believe in that skeptics pass off as coincidence. Bits and pieces filtered in as I let this sit on the back burner. The male lead appeared...there was some sense of what her story would be about, though the more I tried to put it together, the more it slipped through my mental fingers.
For the most part, I left it alone, having my other example of "letting it stew" to calm me. See, while "Satana" (I know, my working titles suck) is coming along in a matter of weeks to months, I had the initial thought that became Quinn's Tale back in 2003. I was doing the dishes and thought, "A banshee howled when I was born." I dried my hands, wrote it down, and went back to what I was doing. It was many months before I found out who that statement belonged to, and years before he'd cooked long enough to start demanding his story be told.
Which brings me back around to Satana and why I'm writing this entry. I woke up a little bit ago (which is why this may be a little rambling, btw) and suddenly had it. Whether in the forefront or on the back burner, I've been trying to figure out the catalyst...the crime...that gets a police detective knocking on the door of the ex-girlfriend he'd dumped when he found out she was a Satanist. More importantly, what would get her involved rather than calling him an intolerant bastard and slamming the door in his face?
Now I have the answer. After this, I'll pull up my OneNote file and jot it down. But here, finally, is the question...Am I going to have to break my stewing habit and force myself to use a different process? I mean, this is great for a wanna-be. The characters feel real when I'm writing. I enjoy what I do, and I get fantastic reader reaction. But the goal isn't to have fun with my hobby. The goal is to eventually do what I love for a living. I don't see a publisher giving me a contract for "whenever". Have I set myself up with another way to fail?