It’s amazing where our story ideas come from, isn’t it? The slightest litte thing can spark a new idea. Of course, our own experiences play a big part, but it’s the details of those experiences that will often slide in out of nowhere and prompt a great idea. For instance, I once wrote a short story based on an amazing weather phenomenon that had me absolutely stunned. As a line of showers was rolling in the sky overhead, my house happened to be straddling the line, causing it to start raining in the backyard at least a full minute or two before it started raining in the front yard. I was so shocked I stood in my kitchen bouncing my eyes back and forth as though I were watching table tennis, between the sliding glass door that led to the back porch, and the grand windows in the dining room that viewed the front. That happened years ago – I may have still been in high school – but it made a lasting enough impression on me to write about it over ten years later.
I’ve gotten ideas from a large variety of sources. A song or book title has led me in a direction – usually something different than what the song means. I’ve gotten ideas from quotes I’ve heard. For inspiration on a good crime fiction, maybe looking in the newspaper if you’re stuck for a good crime to have been perpetrated. Even reading the encyclopedia can be a great source; you learn about an historical event, and perhaps try to place your characters in that time period imagining how they would react to it. The source for inspiration can come from anywhere; so when I hear people say, “But what would I write about?” I say, “Look around. You literally have a world of source material at your fingertips. Scoop it up!”