I've been writing since I was four. Mom, somewhere in her attic, I suspect, has the little book I made, bound with wool, illustrated about as well as I can illustrate now, written in about four shades of crayon.
Heather emailed us and asked how we started - and when I got the email, I was midway between my hometown and my own home - we were travelling, 6 hours in a car, so I had plenty of time to think about how I 'start'. And I took some notes, I wrote some snippets. But I couldn’t really boil down to the root of where I ‘start’ my stories.
Five hours later, I still didn't have an answer, so I thought about it some more. And some more. Till I went to bed.
At which point, Elliot, my main protagonist "woke me up". And asked me why I'm ignoring the obvious.
And that's how it all starts - one of my characters wakes me up, and I have a conversation with them. I actually bicker with them, which is the funniest bit – my partner has told me that I argue with thin air, and have some really funny conversations about ballistic reports, and ongoing murder investigations – about the science of how my anti-matter drive works, or some interesting fact about magic. About the blood splatter pattern all over our bedroom wall, and what that can tell Elliot about the crime he's investigating.
It really bothered me for a while, but I found out that there's actually a medical explanation for it.
(Pay attention, here comes the science part ;))
Hypnagogic and Hypnapompic hallucinations occur as just as you go into or come out of REM sleep. Its usually fairly uncommon, as far as I've understood so far anyway, to have both - but I do, alongside bipolar disorder. They aren't considered 'sleep disorders' per se, but I'd say that people with the level of issues that I have probably feel like they are, to be honest. But, just like my bipolar diagnosis, I try to take the best from it.
I see everything from blood, to my characters, to things climbing on my bedside table, and more. It would probably be very funny if it weren’t for the fact that it really wrecks my ability to sleep properly.
There is an upside to this – I get some really GREAT material for my stories from these conversations and five minute flashes of visions. I keep a Dictaphone by my bed, and I tape it too.
Possibly slightly off the topic of the question, but I guess everything starts for me, just before I go to sleep, in my dreams or just as I wake up. How about you?
(oh, if you're interested in learning more about Elliot, please check out my newest site, DarknessPD - there's really not much there at the moment, but I'm putting up more every day, to support the NEW BOOK! WOOOOHOOO!!!!)