It’s a question that most writers seem to loathe, and for good reason. Ideas can come from anywhere, and everywhere, and the exact source can be hard to pin down by the point at which you’ve developed an actual story. But that’s not really a satisfactory or interesting answer, is it.
So here are a few sources my stories have come from:-
- Stealing, or homaging, ideas from a better writer (which most writers have probably done at one point or another);
- I get them via mail order from a cottage industry in a remote northern Russia community. Being by post rather than email, a few of my orders have gone missing, and at least one recently successful book bore more than a passing resemblance to the specifications of one of my orders;
- I was bitten by a radioactive bard, and since then ideas just occur to me in painful spasms. Of course, my hair is also falling out, and I’ve been developing oddly coloured patches on my skin, but we have to suffer for our art;
- An ancient oriental meditative technique allows me to enter the dreams of others. I use it to get into the dreams of other writers, steal their ideas, and make them forget;
- I’ve got to make some use of all these monkeys. The hardest part is getting the buggers to not constantly plagiarise Shakespeare;
- I’m a fictional character. I have a fictional wife. We make fictional children that I nurture into becoming my stories. (The wife isn’t too happy about me selling them on, but, being fictional, has no legal recourse);
- I’ve written a character that constantly comes up with story ideas. The stories in which she comes up with them a securely locked away, and I’ve already got enough to last the decade. But I think she’s starting to become aware of his nature as an artificial muse, so I’m waiting to see what she’ll do next.
All of these are entirely genuine sources of ideas for me. Honest.