Status update: halfway done, one-third of the way actually written. Coffee stores running low.
People always say that the hardest part of the writing process is when you're staring at the blank page, right before you put down the first sentence. I'd have to disagree--it's actually right after you bang out the first paragraph. Before I start, I can imagine the story turning into anything. There's no specific details, it's like seeing that one pretty girl across the aisle of the store--she can be anything because you haven't spoken to her yet.
Yep, she's a race car driving hedge fund entrepreneur who cliff-dives in her spare time and speaks medieval French. Why not? Then you go talk to her and find out she's a normal person just like anybody else. You can feel the possibilities collapsing in an instant. All those things that the story/girl are not and will not be disappear leaving something new. Most of the sparklies go away.
I write that first paragraph and then, invariably, I have to stare at it a bit and think. I have to fall in love with the idea over again. This is the cool part about writing, just getting to the end of the process and looking at what's clawed its way out of your head and having a good laugh about how different it is than what you've planned.
In this case, the story just acquired a heavy metal fan with a mullet, a 90 year old flapper and a guy with a plate in his skull. They were not in my initial outline I banged out on Monday morning; they just happened. Good times.