I think every author hears that at one point or another in her career, and it always makes me laugh. Where do I get my ideas? Where don’t I get my ideas? Sitting in the large jury selection room, I began to wonder what would happen if someone just didn’t show up for jury duty. I had this idea, you see, about an abused woman whose abuser doesn’t want her out of his control. Or a mobster’s wife who loves to gossip. So I asked the lovely gentleman in charge of our jury room and he tsked me and said I shouldn’t even be asking. But once I explained my reasons, he said practically anything could happen from nothing at all to a fine, to an arrest and incarceration.
“Oh, anything could happen” is, naturally, the best possible answer. It means that whatever I decided to do would be realistic. Within limits, of course.
Today, my wonderful RWA chapter, CoLoNY (Connecticut and Lower NY) had its monthly meeting. One of our members is a doctor, and today we all got to ask her the questions we were “dying” to get the answers to. But here’s the thing about answers…they just lead to more questions. We got into a simple question about a sprained ankle that ended up lasting half an hour. The epilepsy question went on for considerably longer. Not because she didn’t answer the questions, but because as soon as she did, you could practically see the ideas forming on the faces of the group and more questions popped out.
So the next time you wonder where an author gets her ideas, consider that she probably looks at life like a jeopardy game…the answers are there, but she is always thinking of the questions. Or maybe writers are just overgrown two-year-olds with the insatiable need to know “why.”