One of the most frustrating questions authors gets asked - and they get asked this a lot - is "Where do you get your ideas?" The pat answer is "From everywhere."
While true, the reality is much more complex. We never know what may spark an idea. My best ones seem to come in the middle of the night - especially when I have neither paper nor pen (nor flashlight) handy. I've heard other authors say the same thing. They wake up in the wee hours of the morning with a brilliant idea. If they don't write it down immediately, by morning, it will be gone. Unfortunately, often we either don't write it down or, if we do, we can't decipher our handwriting or the idea by the time the sun rises.
I believe these middle of the night flashes of brilliance happen because our minds are busy processing what we've taken in during the day. That silly headline in the paper; the news blurb you caught at 6:00, something someone said while waiting in line somewhere. All the little snippets that encompass our lives become fodder for a story. As writers we pull everything we can from life and use it. We combine and mix up and cut and paste bits of our and others lives to give our characters a reality.
My suggestion for today is to put a pad and pencil (a lighted pen would be better) next to your bed. The next time middle of the night brilliance hits, you be able to jot down notes.
Good luck deciphering them the next morning. That I can't help you with.
Thought for the day: Dr. Seuss' first children's book "And to Think that I saw it on Mulberry Street" was rejected by 27 publishers. The 28th - Vanguard Press - sold 6 milliion copies.
Today's teaser: Your favorite candy maker is going to create a candybar in your honor. What would you like it to be? How would it look? What would you call it?