When people ask this about my stories, I feel like they’re asking so they can wait for the next clearance sale and pop in line behind me. I can’t speak for everyone who writes for a living, but I can talk honestly for myself. The majority of my ideas come from dreams. How do I create these amazing adventures? Sure, I can wait around until some fantasy or nightmare erupts in my head for a incredible idea, or I can go to sleep with something pressing on my mind, and that’s a great generator. Whether it’s something from the media concerning a bizarre abduction, a tremendous invention, or a true-life experience manipulated a bit from a journal, resources are countless.
And in case you haven’t heard, writers always have a miniature notebook close by for sporadic ideas. Little $1 notebooks are everywhere. Carry one in your purse, glove box, leave one next to your bed, or anywhere you are for extended periods. Another fabulous idea is to keep an idea journal or even a personal journal of events in your life. Now, I’m not suggesting a diary type where you write how much you despise your neighbors, but consider writing a story about upper-level neighbors making so much noise in the early morning hours you can’t get any sleep. In a fit of rage, the whole story comes crashing in, swirling in a spectacular climax. (Your article’s climax, not particularly the neighbors’.)
Realistically, when someone asks you where you got an idea from, that’s a compliment. They’re intrigued. Your idea is provocative. If, instead, they nod and say, “That’s nice,” drink a cup of chocolate milk, watch an intense movie, and have a sugary snack before bed, and try tomorrow. Any idea ending with that’s “nice” is a bad one, and it's time to go back to the drawing board.