The number one question

There is no doubt in my mind that the number one question asked of writers since the beginning of time is “Where do you get your ideas?”

A better question, I believe, would be “Where DON’T you get your ideas?”

For the writer – or at least this writer – it’s difficult not to come away from reading something and not have a tickle of an idea run across the brain, lodging itself into some nook to ferment. It may be something full-blown, capable of carrying itself from start to finish as prodded by the writer. It may be something tiny, to be used as a nail in the construction of the structure of whatever work is in progress. Either way, it gets filed away for possible use as fodder.

Take this, for instance: White supremacist blows his leg off while making bombs

Is it enough to carry its own water? I could see it, if the story was about the man. A literary work, perhaps, a tale of redemption. Or, a literary work without redemption of this particular man, whose life continues to spin out of control. On the other side of the fence, he could appear as a character, briefly noted in some supporting role. This latter option is one that appeals to me at this moment, as one of the ideas floating in my head to be written as it expands itself to fill the corners of a book that involves murder, white supremacists, Nazis, Holocaust survivors, and mistaken identity.

Answering the question “Where do you get your ideas?” with a simple “Everywhere.” is both accurate and succinct: the ideas are there. It only takes the ability to accept them as they flow past.

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