The age-old question, Where do you get your ideas? ; it's been asked of every successful author, and even of myself. There is an easy answer, but it's not very satisfying to the reader. It's I don't know. For most writers, that's true, but I'm going to explore the question a little deeper.
For myself, I think ideas come from a pattern of thinking; a mindset under which a brain has been trained to operate. I live life, doing errands, fulfilling obligations and responsibilities, and I will occasionally ask myself, "What if...?". That's where my ideas come from. I need to train myself to ask that question more often, because when I do remember to ask it, an idea pops out of the ethereal realm, and begs for life. Not all ideas are suited for life in this world, though, and in this case, murder must be performed. I am a serial killer. I have casually killed countless ideas, usually with no compunction. It's a valuable skill, because the good ideas will often... come back. I honestly cannot think of a better feeling than the cold, bony grip on my shoulder from an idea that I had cheerfully murdered, in one grisly fashion or another, months or years before. I can feel the presence of one or three of these ghouls at all times. Even now, there's scratching at the cellar door in my mind.
One such idea features a werewolf. I had killed this idea several years ago because werewolves have overpopulated the literary ecosystem for decades. There's not much room for just another werewolf story, anymore. This is where my What if...? habit comes in. What if an unknowing child of a werewolf witnesses his or her lycanthropic parent turn and savagely devour the other parent? Of course, now that I've given this idea a voice, no matter how small, it will now require nourishment and nurturing... or a tremendous exertion of energy to kill it again. For the time being, my nurturing instincts are taking over, and one source of nourishment has been found on a colleague's blog. This week, she discusses her development of werewolf society in her book, Real Meat. In coming weeks, guest contributors may offer their thoughts about werewolves in fiction, including yours truly. So, please check out https://cmrosens.com/2020/03/05/lets-talk-about-wolves/
Next month (April, 2020), my short story, A Hole in the Somewhere, is scheduled to appear on BlackPetals.net. The idea for this story came from a classic rock song that I've long misheard one of the lyrics to. Abacab, by Genesis, has a lyric near the end of the song about waking up covered in cellophane. The next line is, there's a hole in there somewhere... Comparing the title of my story to this lyric, one might detect my error in understanding Phil Collins's singing. That's all it took. A misheard lyric, and a series of What if...? questions.
I encourage you all to ask "What if...?" more often in your own lives, even if you don't write. It expands your world, opens your imagination, and colors your reality with what can often be a very odd paintbrush.