"Where do you get your ideas?"
Where do authors get their ideas? It’s a question that’s asked a lot. And is there any one answer? Of course not, the answer varies as much as the author’s who birth the ideas. For those of you wondering, no there is not a “discount story store” where writers can go and purchase ideas for bargain basement prices. No, story ideas are not sold at Wal-Mart (shock!) though I’m sure some ideas were birthed while shopping at Wal-Mart (psychological thrillers, no doubt).
When I’m asked the question, my typical smarty-pants answer is, “In my head.” But really, that’s the truth. Most often, ideas just pop into my head. Not complete ideas with a beginning, middle, and end, usually it’s either the beginning or end. I’ll think, “That’d be a neat way to start a book,” or “What a killer [not literally, but sometimes] ending that would be.” Then I mull it over, turn it around and around in my head, run it through the noodle, and a story begins to form. It’s like one of those magic grow toys where you put a tiny, perfectly formed frog in water and over the course of the next few hours it morphs into a lumpy, malformed what-used-to-be-a-frog before finally taking on its final shape again, that of a proportionately formed frog, only a hundred times its original size.
Anyway, sometime I’ll post more about story ideas and where they really come from, but for now I recommend you read Koontz’s take on it, it’s a fun, informative essay on how he got the idea for his book Mr. Murder.