I began by researching antique mechanical clocks, and the people who make or repair them. I tried to envision what a clock maker's workshop might have looked and felt like in the 1870's. I freed my mind, from time to time, to ruminate exclusively on this new fantasy, and waited for the words to begin to appear.
Eventually, I had a word, then a phrase, and then a stanza to work with. I tend to work with words in a similar way that children build with a LEGO® set, moving blocks and whole walls of blocks around until the shape I'm looking for begins to take form.
One week later, I had a working poem for her. She decided to use it in a template to advertise her novel, so I was asked to write a smaller, similar piece. This second vignette came a little easier, and it now serves as the preface in her book.