Saturday, January 16, 2016

I've got a blank page. NOW what?

The late Alan Rickman reportedly once said, "What's interesting about the process of acting is how often you don't know what you're doing."

I stopped when I saw that because I know that feeling. When I'm writing, I often have only a glimmer of where a story's going, who the characters are, what the setting is. I have to sit down and start typing in order to find out what's going on because I have no idea. At that point in the process, it feels as if the story is what's in control, and I'm just the interface between story and computer.

My story, Bastard's Bonus is in the upcoming Naughty Literati anthology, Naughty Lovers, is a perfect example of a story that came out of nowhere. I'd been sitting at my computer and staring at the writer's worst enemy: a blank page. There was an anthology I'd wanted to submit to, but had been having a devil of a time coming up with a story for it.

I tossed around basic ideas for a while. I knew I wanted to do m/m, but then I asked myself, "Do I want science fiction? Contemporary? Fantasy?" When I thought about fantasy a little bell went off. But not urban fantasy, that's being well covered by my "winged rock star" stories and I didn't want to cross the streams, so to speak. So I settled on more traditional fantasy…but not too traditional.

I'm completely addicted to cooking shows and I'd seen one not long before I started Bonus that incorporated a lot of sugar art in the final product. I've always wanted to work with sugar like that, though I'd probably just make a huge mess. (Best part about cooking—you can eat your messes.) The spun sugar decorations were fanciful and beautiful, which led me to thinking about spun glass.

And magic.

And thus the Glass Spinner's universe was born. I "met" Ian through his work, but it wasn't until about page three before I knew anything about Zane. No one was more surprised than I was when the barrier to their relationship popped up. But it works. I was even more surprised when the story quickly outgrew the requirements for the anthology I was writing for. I ended up shelving Bonus for another time. On my third start I finally landed on a story that fit the requirements. The Stonemason was accepted and is happily ensconced in Dreamspinner Press's Bare Studs anthology.

Then I went back to Bonus. I sat down and finished it, then went back and rewrote it with an eye toward a larger story. This is definitely going to be at least one novel, but Bastard's Bonus easily stands alone.

One of the things I love most about writing short stories is going on the journey with my characters—seeing things through their eyes, feeling with their hearts. It's a rush! I still need to outline longer pieces, but for me, short stories pour themselves out and I just have to keep typing as fast as I can. 

Look for my story, Bastard's Bonus in Naughty Lovers, coming out on March 1! the

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