One thing I hear all the time from readers is: Where do I get my ideas from?
First of all, I don’t believe there’s some elemental creature or beautiful Greek goddess floating around the ether or an alternative dimension plucking ideas out of the universe, and then deciding that I’m worthy enough for that idea to have it dropped into my brain.
I think all writers are wired from birth to be writers. Just like some people are wired to learn languages easily, others can almost instinctually learn to play a musical instrument or three, some people can calculate math problems in their head and some have a sixth sense for directions. It’s internal wiring in my opinion. We have that particular ability, or gift, because the potential wiring is there.
Even if a person doesn’t begin to write until his adult years, that brain potential is there. Some writers claim they’d written their first book when they were six, or wrote stories when they were children, or TOLD imaginative stories, or loved to read, or had an over active imagination, or daydreamed, etc., etc. But that doesn’t mean you’re not a true writer if you never had any of these ‘tells’ at a young age. Maybe a potential writer didn’t have the environment to allow the expression of one or more of these ‘tells’ that proved he was always meant to be a writer. This is the analytical side of me.
Besides having the ‘hardware’ to being a writer, and that doesn’t mean you have to have an IQ of 180, there is another component that all writers have that can’t be described. An elusive spark or drive or desire. It’s like a candle that burns brightly within the soul of a writer that can’t be extinguished.
No matter how many rejections, bad reviews, disasters in their personal life, failed attempts or criticisms from readers, friends and family members, the spark remains. And the writer keeps writing and continues to learn. Someone who is intelligent and has the ability to write, might say, “I’m going to write a book one day”, but they’ll never finish a book because they don’t have that spark.
So, where do I get my ideas from? EVERYWHERE. When I’m not even trying to come up with a story idea, they just come to me. Most of my ideas come when I’m doing something other than writing or when I’m not trying to come up with an idea: sitting at my microscope at work, working in my garden, working out in the gym, working on home improvements in my house, traveling. I’ve gotten sparks for story ideas from listening to people at restaurants/bars, hiking, standing in line for a ride at Disney, watching a movie. An interesting title popped into my head for a story I hadn’t even written yet and the story developed from just the title. That’s happened a few times.
I can’t explain where the ideas come from any more than I can explain how I can remember some simple thing that happened when I was five but can’t remember what I had for lunch last Tuesday.
So I can't tell you where the idea came from for my new book Spring Break which will be coming out at Ellora's Cave on Friday. Unless I was ready for a vacation and my mind warped it into something sexy and hot. Hope you'll check it out. I think it's a fun read.