If there is one question writers hear more than any other it is the infamous "Where do you get your ideas?" Of course, there are as many sources as there are writers. Ideas can be found in snatches of overheard conversation, in newspaper headlines, in family lore and legends, and even in traditional fairytales. A person, an event, an intriguing sentence, an incident, a dream, and of course, a fantasy can trigger the idea for a story. Dislike someone? Kill them off–in a book. Love someone? Use them as the foundation for a central character. A story I’m currently revising appeared as a result of spending three weeks working with the camera crew during the production of an indepenent film. My first story came out of the infamous "what if" question. I missed my daughter’s first prom so years later I wrote a story about a mother and a daughter and the sacrifices they make for one another–a twist of O’Henry’s famous Gift of the Magi.
If you’re intrigued by the writer’s process, then you might enjoy M.J. Rose’s new blog Backstory. These are not postings by M.J. Rose. Instead, she’s lined up published authors to post their backstories. Today’s offering shows an author inspired by beauty and art and how she used the what if question in the development of her novel. Spend some time reading the stories and see if inspiration doesn’t soon take hold. What if . . . ?