The stereotypical question is, where do you get your ideas from?
Aside from the silly and clever answers I’ve seen, it’s hard to describe because it’s different, not just between author and author, but story to story. Chocolate literally inspired my best known work. The Key to All Things was inspired by my love of sweeping love stories and my love of questioning and looking at things from new angles. What if this story that everyone loves didn’t end happily ever after?
I have written on this story off an on since 2007 and it has morphed over the years. A search for a magical sword that could solve a problem became a story for the search for someone who killed a dragon still in its egg. That’s because my ideas tend to change and morph by what I feed my head…if I get stopped, it’s because the story isn’t ready yet. That can be because I’ve made bad choices (I never finished my first book, Unbalanced, until I realized Andromeda wasn’t a vampire, then the book zoomed into overdrive) or am just not ready yet.
I am always feeding myself stories, pictures, non fiction books, odd facts – and these things, slowly but surely attach themselves to the (usually correct) story. The original Key to All Things was a story about a quest – they road horses instead of airships, and the lands of the Fae needed to be navigated by magic, not a bridge.
And probably, the things I liked but did not use, the things that got abandoned along the way (a sword that heals instead of killing, a woman who can see the lines of magic and follow the ley lines) will be salvaged, put somewhere else. Somewhere where they actually belong. The story knows…I just try to listen.
I see my brain and a huge bunch of junk drawers and filing cabinets. But eventually, the things I need to find come to hand when I need them – I think that is why walking is a part of my writing experience. (And sometimes napping, too. I am way too fond of napping) It gives my mind a chance to rummage through the cabinets for what I need, gives the poor overworked golems a chance to store the new things I find.
And so, that is my explanation of where my ideas come from. Where do your ideas come from?