I came on board Avenir Eclectia fairly early on in the process, but it was already an intricate world with room for many stories. Not being a hard sci-fi kind of guy, I struggled to find my place at first, but quickly decided on doing something with the underwater "angels"--sentient creatures that have the ability to telepathically influence humans. No one is sure where these creatures come from, or what their intent is, but those who believe they exist are fascinated.
However, just as there are angels, there are "demons". As a horror writer, I was intrigued.
But who would encounter these beings? That proved a little tougher. In AE, one of the selling points is that the fiction is short--like little "bites". Especially with that first installment, I had around 500 words to introduce a character and make you feel emotion for him and his plight. Before I could do that, though, I had to feel emotion for him and his plight. I hadn't even met this guy yet and I was trying to connect to him so that I could connect the Reader to him. I'm a "gut writer". I'm not very cerebral about the process. Coming up with a great "technical" story is just not me--I've never been gifted in prose. I've got to write from the heart, with just lots of feeling exploding on the page. I've got to feel passionate about the character first and foremost or I'll never make it anywhere in the story. But how was I going to feel passionate about this guy in 500 words?
My Batcave where I do my writing is across the hall from my daughters' room. As I write late into the night, I'm very cognizant of them. I can hear them sleeping, or sometimes I'll go and check on them, just to know they're safe. While trying to come up with that first story--"Bedtime Stories"--I thought of my girls. Writers have to tap into their own personal stories in order to connect to their fictional ones and a definite trigger for me is my kids. I can be watching the dumbest scary movie, laughing and rolling my eyes, but if I see a little kid (especially a girl, because I have daughters) in danger, I sit up straighter. I stop laughing. I get anxious. I'm invested. Since I had such a limited word count space, I needed something that would immediately get me invested in Dressler, and hopefully something that would do the same for Readers.
Putting his daughter in danger was the quickest and surefire way for me. Having her dying from an incurable disease connected with me and, as the author, I was prepared to believe that Dressler would do whatever he had to if he thought there was a way to save her.
I had my hook.