Have you woke ever woken up in the middle the night from a dream that was so vivid, it seems real? Have you ever found yourself wandering in your mind during the day, driving along and suddenly you’re at your destination, barely able to remember driving there, because your thoughts were focused on something else? Daydreams or night-dreams: for a lot of writers that’s where they get their ideas from. That’s why you’ll find many writers have a pad and pencil next to their bed or recording device, so they can dictate their thoughts before all is lost.
If you ask the writer where they get their ideas they’ll hesitate and evade, and they won’t be able to give you, for the most part, a true answer because we just don’t know. Ideas and plots pop into our heads at the most unexpected times; you can be reading something and you think that’s perfect for storyline. Or you can overhear part of the conversation and think, yes I can see my character saying that. You can be watching something happening in front of you thinking, “oh, my gosh, I don’t believe that just happened; that’s got to go in the story!”
As a writer I’m always looking for ideas. I actually have a folder in my desk of newspaper articles that I think are really interesting. I know many writers are computer savvy, so this might work better for you: download items that catch your imagination into a laptop to refer back to. Either method gives me a stock pile of possible ideas. I may use them or I may never get to them, but they’re there to use when I’m ready.
Ideas for stories also come from childhood memories; a fairytale you were once told, a story that your grandfather told you that he thought was funny. A conversation from your youth.
Some things click when you see them in day-to-day life; things that can be used in a plot line. Something you saw at the park, the grocery store, or even at work. You just have to be careful how you word things so that your characters in your book is not recognized as the real people who you have daily contact with.
Have you ever made up a story to keep the child occupied? You may not be writing it down, but you’re creating a story, and that’s how stories were told for years and years before people did write things down. Then stories went from verbal to parchment, to huge beautifully illustrated books, to common paperback books and now in today’s; world e-books.
So, no matter where you get those ideas, don’t let those ideas get away from you. They are yours do with them what you will.