I can’t speak for others, only myself. What sparks the muse? For me, this happens during the night when I am failing to sleep. No, that wasn’t a typo, it was really failing and as I lie sleepless, trying to rest, my mind flicks through various scenes, or sometimes pulls up songs.
Darkspire Reaches was inspired by the song Veshangro by the Incredible String Band. I got an image of an incredible evil grove of trees hating each other. The main character, Raven, was another such flash in the night. I saw a girl and an old woman in a run down shack. There was a storm and villagers were creeping up on them, intending to light the place on fire because they considered the women evil and witches. Images began to flash fast and furious after that and the story came together.
No, it wasn’t that simple. I don’t/can’t outline, so everything is streaming out as it comes to me. As a result, there were many rewrites and false starts. Did anyone really think it was easy? So how did the Wyvern happen? Call it sympathy for dragons with their bad rap. He sprung into existence somewhere above the burning hovel scene in a very early draft. Of course, this is now all different.
I have an intrinsic need to layer my stories, so it meant going back and tweaking until I had a flow. However, now I needed a lighter element to bring in humor. The little firedrake, Kryling, was born. His significance increased as the book progressed. How does one write a firedrake? I will confess I modeled him on my less than merciful cats. I needed something cute and also something merciless in terms of hunting.
The final version? Very well edited by my publishers at Kristell Ink. And now a book is born.