Funny, because it seems Cornell Drive here in Portland is the genesis for multiple ideas. Grand Illusion was born from a driver over Cornell, though that was not an imaginary conversation as much as it was my own paranoia driving close to the edge of a steep drop off with no guard rail.
So, in this conversation, I was going over some of the other works I have done, their inspiration. I also considered why I chose Grand Illusion over the other work-in-process I had started at the same time. I was having a difficult time shaping the narrative and story line of the other project when sudden inspiration struck my mind and Gran Illusion was born. It may not have originally been titled as such, in fact, it went through three other titles before Grand Illusion took a firm grasp as the title, but it was a story that I saw as something I could really shape.
I think of story-telling much like I imagine a potter thinks of shaping clay. I have this bog old ball of words inside my head and a picture of what those words will look like in the end. I begin, the wheel is spinning and words are whizzing out faster than I can type (almost). A story begins to take shape. Sometimes, though, that shape is ugly and misformed, so you put that aside and start working it again. That is what happened with my other story - tentatively titled All-American Linebacker. It just never took shape.
Then I began considering some other ideas that had popped into my head while I was working on Grand Illusion. One of those was the 'book within a book' I had titled City of Hope inside of Grand Illusion. That is a book on which the protagonist relies for his sense of self. To help the process, I wrote about 6000 words of this 'fake book.'
And, so, as I was driving home tonight, the idea struck! I have about three of four story ideas that are not, in and of themselves, novels. they are, however, novellas that can be put together with a singular title. Together they would make a full work of fiction.
I have seen a lot of that lately; and not just junky poorly written works, but PEN/Faulkner award nominees (and other awards), winners of multiple fiction awards. This is my idea for my next work.
I am still probably about six weeks away from getting more serious about this project, but I have already started two of the stories and there is a third which I had been eyeing as a possible follow up to Middle of Nothing.
Once again, excited by the process.