A couple of days ago, I posted a bloggery about the question that so many writers hate to be asked: where do you get your ideas? I always thought it was a perfectly sensible question, and now that I am a writer, I know that it’s a perfectly sensible question. Sure, ideas come from our heads, but how? And why does one particular idea take hold when others don’t?
For me, a story usually begins with a series of ideas or a combination of events, but that initial idea is only the first of many. A novel is composed of thousands of different ideas — each scene, each description, each sentence is an idea separate from the original.
For example, There is a scene in my WIP where the hero kicks over a rock and a volcano is born. I’d like to take credit for being so imaginative, but it really happened. In 1943, in Michoacan State, Mexico, a farmer hit a stone with his plow and uncovered a small hole. Steam came out of the hole, the earth shook, and Parangaricutiro Volcano was born. In two weeks, it grew to two hundred feet high, and flames, rocks, and lava were erupting from it. In my story, it takes only minutes for the volcano to grow, and a day for it to grow to two hundred feet, but is that hardly more fantastic than the truth.
Another example: we have a lot of native roses around here, a flat yellow, or red, or red and yellow rose that smells like oranges. In one scene of my WIP, the hero is so dehydrated that when he smells the orange and goes in search of what he thinks is an orange tree, he is devastated to discover rose bushes.
Where do you find all the ideas that you need to complete your book? Do they all come from your head or do you buy them on Ebay (a joke, and one that I borrowed from someone else.). Do you integrate your real life experiences? Do you go searching for ideas, or do they come searching for you?