Where do writers get their ideas?
It's one of the most popular questions readers asks authors, and the answers to it range from the mundane to the ridiculous. What question? Where do authors get their ideas?
To answer this question, I think we have to look at an author's mind. An author is...
1. A people-watcher- Though many of us build characters from scratch, we keep a mental (or even physical) database of character traits and quirks. We might make a note of tics, comments, looks, etc. Any little thing might spark a character or idea for a story. Moreover, a peek at a secondary character in book A often prompts an in-depth exploration that spawns book B, where the secondary character is often a main character.
2. A dreamer- Clichéd but true, more than one book or story has grown out of a dream. My first serial novel (PROPHECY) started as a dream of a single scene in the book. Ironically, one of my most popular books (TYGERS) grew very loosely out of a dream my husband had.
3. An avid reader, almost invariably- One of the top five reasons authors have for writing what they do amounts to: “I just couldn't find what I wanted to read, so I wrote it.”
4. Inquisitive- Your average author excels at free association. We just can't help reflecting on something we've seen (in real life or dramatized) or read and playing 'what if' from there. We love taking a submissions call and free associating ourselves to a unique approach to meeting it, like when I wrote NEVERMORE to fill the call for the Raven Heat Sheets at Phaze. Being a lover of Poe served me well.
So, where do I get my ideas? All of the above. With more than 75 published fiction works in 20 series worlds plus stand-alones, I can't rely on just one source for story ideas.