Where does a story come from? It is not surprising that humans came up with the idea of the muse. Stories seem to come from nowhere, though rarely fully formed.
As an artist I have been making mixed media angels (see photo at the top of this blog) for about a year, now, inspired by Louisiana artist Kelly Guidry. The reaction to those has been very positive and I learned that there are many fans of angels out there. My copper and wood creations rarely match the popular conception, though they have some elements that people seem to like. My angels are necessarily more bat-winged than bird winged, because of the material from which they are made. Meeting a full-sized angel like this would inspire awe. The word awesome is so overused as to have nearly no meaning at all anymore. In the original definition, though, my artistic angels are awesome. I started thinking about doing a book about angels. I could use one of my own creations for the cover (though I have since dropped that idea) and I could tap in to the broad angel market.
I thought about the book as an urban fantasy at first. In that genre angels would appear among us in everyday life. They would likely appear only rarely and under certain conditions, but they would be part of a hidden, dark landscape.
Somewhere along the line, I started thinking about a story of a culture that discovers its own mortality. For that, I needed an allegorical story. Anjels (working title) was born. It went from urban fantasy to what some would call science fiction, but which I prefer to call—in the tradition of Harlan Ellison—speculative fiction. More on that next time. More on Harlan sometime.