Sometimes an idea will come to me as if someone has walked up behind me and started speaking. Usually it happens when I’m in the middle of work or doing some mundane household task. Whenever this strikes, I mentally build on it as I keep doing whatever work I was doing and then try to write it all down as soon as I can.
Other times, I’ll listen to a song and watch a scene unfold in my mind. I then try to mentally flesh out that scene into something hopefully resembling a story. Again, I find myself reaching for my computer when that happens.
Probably the most profound source of inspiration for me is my dreams. I often have, for better or worse, vivid dreams. They’re like movies.
While I can’t remember my dreams every night, vivid movie dreams have become so commonplace in my life that after waking from one, my immediate reaction is to run through a checklist I have in my mind for whether it would make for a good story.
I ask myself: 1. Is it interesting? 2. Can I build around the dream and turn it into a story or is this a one-hit note? 3. Is it something I’ve seen before somewhere else?
If the dream passes my checklist, then I’ll write it out. Dreams have given me an entire series of books before while also giving me short stories.
I’m writing another book (or maybe a novella? Maybe two books? I have no idea yet) based on a dream I had the other day. I don’t actually have a whole lot of time right now to be writing, but that’s never stopped me before.