This is the way it starts. An idea comes out of the blue, and you just have to see it to the end. So you start visualizing and writing and suddenly you have a full cast of characters and a general idea of where it's going, but maybe not clearly.
For me there are two processes of writing. One is the classically planned out things where you know exactly where the story will go. It's clear. The other is a process of revelation. This second is much more dangerous and much more intriguing. I'm in the throes of the second right now. Phoenix Rising was predetermined. It has a clear beginning and end. I know exactly what is happening to Olivia and Paul as they live out the two years in the book.
My latest story idea, The Brothers, is not predetermined. It is a creature thing. It's a wild ride. I feel drawn into it and nervous about it all at once, and yet I have this drive to keep writing it. It is very much a rabbit hole. Rather than letting the excitement go, or losing the ideas I have, I'm just writing it. The story begs to be written. It pushes from the recesses of me to my fingers gracing the keys. It is turbulent and tempestuous and makes me worry that I have no control over it at all. But of course, if we believe in muses, geniuses, and true inspiration, then the writer is merely a conduit for a story, not the true creator. In this case, I feel very much like a teller of the tale, not the creator. So I take a break from work and from writing to let you in on this nasty secret of mine before returning feverishly to writing.