People get really interested in the process of storytelling. Where do ideas come from, how did you create characters, etc.
It's not all that fascinating, I'm afraid. Most of it's a seemingly endless stream of frustration, blocks, false starts, recalcitrant words, and sudden revelations of your own appalling ignorance. A writer at work looks like the sort of people stuck glaring at a computer loaded with a Windows operating system that's just decided to take the evening off.
Then things start to frantically fall into place, and the writer feels like a cat caught in a riptide, thrashing at the water with all four limbs, trying valiantly not to drown.
So here's where I'm at with this story: last night, I got clobbered with a profound ethical dilemma that never occurred to me before. If you'd been there to witness, the scene would have looked like this: writer stands on porch in cool night breeze, smiling happily at the stars whilst smoking a cigarette. Writer's entire body suddenly jerks, cigarette nearly flies over the balcony rail, smile absconds, and a stream of obscenities flows. Writer starts to walk into the house with lit cigarette, stops just in time, smokes as fast as possible while leaning down to deposit cigarette in ashtray, and then dives into the house to pound a frantic note on the computer, still cursing, eyes roughly the size of Frisbees. Two hours of profuse typing follow.
Tonight, the inspiration refused to flow. You would have seen the writer eyeballing the night's previous work with the same expression mother-in-laws have when they come for unexpected visits and find the house in slight disarray. Then there's the digging through previous notes, the rising despair, the procrastination as writer pulls up Solitaire and fiddles with just the right music to persuade the Muse to pony up. Slowly, the tension fades as the next scene reluctantly presents itself. Gaiety ensues. The writer goes out for a celebratory smoke, comes back in to write, and then spends a solid hour researching horse colors online because she doesn't have the slightest fucking clue what color the next character is.
Yes, you can be stopped in your tracks in the middle of a story over ridiculous details.
I'm still not sure what color Aisonah is. And it's driving me utterly crazy, because when I write, I need to see. I can't get into the story and write down what's happening if I can't see the details.
There she goes. A flash of rose, a hint of pale blue, dusted over cream. Now I can begin to see her.
Now I have to go write her.