People ask authors all the time (yes, right now I am calling myself an author for the benefit of the post- just bare with me) where they get their ideas from. And I agree with them that there is no magical land we go to to get them.
For me at least there are 3 places I can visit to get more ideas/ better ideas/ general fun inspiration:
1. my dreams. Yeah- very Stephanie Meyer of me I know. But my best dreams make the best stories. It just works out that way.
2. The bathroom. I have NO idea why. Maybe because I feel that everything that takes place in the bathroom is boring and so I have to... spice it up with my own imagination. (Yes, this means I talk to myself on the toilet. Don't worry- not aloud.)
3. Running. Mostly because to be able to run long and well I have to have something to distract me. Music works to keep me going but after a while my mind starts to wander. So I write my books in my head. (And Blog posts- like this one :)
This all leads into the fact that yesterday before work I went to the Smithfieldhouse for a warm run, and I have a new book that I am working on (from a dream I had over the weekend). So, one mile in I start to put myself in my characters shoes, become her, wonder how she would act and what she would think if she were the one running.
Its a trick I learned in high school- to make good characters you imagine them in all of the situations you are in to get to know them better. AKA: become the character. Live vicariously through them. (This is how I was able to give up my imaginary friends in high school. Now I just take an hour to BE someone else in my head. Works magic. And yes I had imaginary friends all the way through high school. Stop laughing at me.)
The new heroine I am writing though, is much different than my usual character. I have written shy, spoiled, immature girls but not... well, lets just say that with this new heroine I am trying to invoke Kathy from Wuthering Heights and a little Scarlett O'Hara. Basically this girl is a *#@!%.
Three miles into the run I realize I am running like a snob- back straight, head straight, nose slightly in the air. And, in the effort to be more like Wren (the character) I am judging every single person that passes by me. Including the ROTC guys. What they are wearing, how they are running, what they are saying to their friends.
Even though I realize this- I keep going because well, a perfect new scene is evolving in my mind and I am not one to stop inspiration. It's gotta happen. So I spend the last two miles being the most judgmental, mean, horrible person inside of my head. I can feel a little bit less guilty about it now because it was for art. And I didn't say any of it out loud.
Basically looking back on it now, and after this fantastic scene has been written, I find the entire situation hilarious.
Moral of the story: if you ever happen to run with me, just ask me politely before you do to not invoke any of my characters. Don't worry- I wont be offended- I will probably laugh.