Where do you get your ideas?
Writers are asked this question almost incessantly. It makes us groan. That’s because writers don’t think coming up with ideas is strange or difficult. Ideas are everywhere. They accost us when we blink. Finding ideas is not a challenge. Finding good ideas is a challenge. Finding shit-hot, blow-the-doors-off-your-mind ideas is the challenge. But ideas themselves? They’re in the air we breathe.
I have a couple of standard answers to this question:
1) I have a T-shirt that I picked up in Haight-Ashbury. It says: “Everything I need to know I learned from the people trapped in my basement.”
2) And there’s my website FAQ:
So where do your ideas come from?
I start vicious rumors about my relatives, then sit back and watch the fur fly. After that, the books write themselves.
You’re starting to annoy me.
Oh, all right. Headlines. The human heart. My deepest fears. The inner voice that says: if it scares you, it’ll scare readers too.
But to be non-snarky for a minute, ideas drive past me at all hours of the day and night. I just have to keep my eyes open for them.
My daughter sent this photo. Now that I know such a thing exists, how can I not write a scene that makes use of the Grumpy’s Bail Bonds van?
The van could come to the rescue of a wrongfully arrested heroine. It could lead a parade. It could put the pedal down and arrange bond for the driver of a getaway car while the police chase is still in progress. See what I mean?
In other words: Send me crazy photos. You never know when they might end up sparking a scene in one of my books.