I was thinking about this the other day. I’ve done a lot of author interviews for some amazing book bloggers. I get e-mails, and sometimes people on Twitter ask me where the story for Exiled came from. I’ve answered this questions dozens of times, but over the weekend, I realized the way I’ve answered isn’t 100% accurate. The answer I’ve given is true, of course, but not in it’s entirety.
A new story idea doesn’t just come through the mess that is mind. It doesn’t happen like that. For me, it’s…different.
For example, I’ve been doing some brainstorming about a different type of story I plan to write. I don’t have the story idea, I don’t have the main character pinned down, I don’t have much but the opening scene. I haven’t even written it, so I don’t know that it’s the opening scene. Maybe it’s the end? The point is, I get this burst of imaginary freedom and my mind goes somewhere else.
There they are. The main character from my book. They’re in the middle of a scene from an untold story. It’s usually fairly dramatic, and my imagination has probably gone overboard on the details, but that isn’t a bad thing. I live that scene out in my mind, daydreaming about it. I revisit the scene again and again. Who is this person? Why are they there? Why is there so much…blood? *Ahem* and the cogs start turning. The entire story is going to be built from this scene. Whether it’s the beginning, middle, or end, the story is given life from this single, inspirational, moment.
With Exiled, it was Chase.
He’s walking home from somewhere and a Vampire attacks him, but there’s more. It isn’t a regular vampire, it’s completely different. It’s an unique creature that would scare the crap out of me if I saw it, but it doesn’t scare Chase. He’s used to this. This is a demon he’s fought too many times.
Clear, glossy skin. I can see the vampire’s muscles moving through transparent flesh. Long fangs form in his mouth. Black veins push against this slimy new exterior, spreading over his face, like a virus taking hold. Darkness fills his eyes, and long, bone-line talons break through his finger tips. He’s fast. Really fast. He wants nothing more than to kill Chase. Why…because it’ll gain him respect among his peers. The Underworld…Why again…Chase is the son of a world renowned demon hunter, who no longer watches out for him. He’s disowned Chase. Chase is…different.
The city street’s moved around him. Abandon buildings disappear into a midnight sky. Broken and boarded up windows. Shadows fall off the decrepit buildings, missing brick and grout litters the ground. The walls are covered in graffiti.
A single streetlamp flickers in the background. The air is warm, and Chase’s skin holds a shiny layer of sweat. It must be summer. He’s carrying a duffle bag over his shoulder…his weapon is inside. He’s unusually fast, supernaturally strong, but something’s missing… He doesn’t have what all hunters have…or does he? Maybe more?
The vampire lashes out, his first attempt to claim his trophy. Pavement tears the skin from Chase’s back. I can see the blood seeping through the white t-shirt that clings to his body. He squeezes the dagger, takes a step back, and prepares to retaliate.
And the fight begins.
That’s it. Exiled is born. But not just Exiled – the Protector series. Rayna is already alive. Her character courses through my veins, waiting for her big debut. Bright green cat eyes are watching me. Pleading with me. She needs to be on the page. Soon.
Willy, the stuttering demon who fears everything. His lips are quaking and he doesn’t want to be put on paper at all, but he has no choice. He’s vital to the story.
For me, everything starts from one scene. I don’t have the idea of an exiled demon hunter in this grand, epic story arc. No. I have Chase, alone in an alley. He’s sad. Always looking over his shoulder, and when the demon strikes, the story builds.
That isn’t the first page. That isn’t the first chapter. It’s a single scene, and it created everything. It set the pace, it built the world, it developed the characters, and it set the tone of things to come.
One scene, and a series is born.