Where the Stories Live

I am often asked from where the ideas for my stories come. I wonder if those who ask assume that there is some sort of idea generator that I discovered in an attic or bought from Amazon. I find myself cornered at functions while the hopeful writer asks me the same question a dozen different ways, like I’m deliberately keeping the secret from them.

The truth of the matter is that ideas come from wherever they come. Dragonfaerie came from a doodle as I was watching TV. The Land That Holds Down the Sky was inspired by three spools of differently colored wire on a telephone pole in the middle of nowhere. There is no secret formula.

I think the difference between a fiction writer and everyone else is how a fiction writer’s mind works. A “normal” person walking from their front door to the bus stop a block away experiences a five minute walk. A writer watches a dozen stories blossom and die before they arrive at the stop. I once created and destroyed an entire universe waiting for a light to turn green.

The hardest part is getting those stories to behave long enough to get onto paper. I occasionally talk to my father on the phone and begin to tell him about all the stories I have written until I realize that they exist only in the asylum of my imagination.

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