Shaun Hutchinson, the awesome PUBLISHED author among us. That's right people, his debut novel The Deathday Letter is out and available for purchase. Put down the mouse, get your butt to the nearest book store, pick up a copy, and then rush back. Or go here and get it ordered. I'll wait.
Okay, I know you're dying to peel open the cover and get to reading it, but please continue reading this post first. Or come back after you've made it all the way through the book (because you won't be able to put it down).
Now then, on to the question:
From where do you get your inspiration for stories? Give me the oddest, coolest, things that have inspired you.
For me, inspiration comes from all sorts of sources. I get inspired by the usual things, like music or movies. But sometimes my inspiration comes from odd moments or even out of nothing. The movie Stranger Than Fiction was what inspired me to begin writing again, after not being a writer since high school. I was just sitting there hearing the author narrate the story and it resonated with me. I thought, "I could do that. I could write stories like that."
My first attempt at a story involved a homeless woman. The inspiration for it came from all the homeless people I saw on street corners and my thoughts about how much I'd like to help just one of them - assuming they were the type to want to be helped, of course. Although I have yet to do the story justice, it's still there waiting for my writing ability to be up to the task.
Sometimes my ideas just come from thin air. I have another WiP that popped into my head while I was driving with my wife and kids. It involves a future where all genetics are streamlined and predetermined so that pharmaceutical companies can give humanity the medications they think everyone should have. They control society through genetic manipulation, but one of their own geneticists alters his son's genes before he's born. The result is Trevor, the first genetically normal human being born since the cataclysm that brought humanity to their current state of existence. The resulting story sprung from nothing, but it's been fun to explore.
The oddest inspiration I ever had though was while driving to work early one morning. There's a bowling alley near our home and their parking lot was empty except for one lone car. The street lights were casting pools of amber, and my mind began to build the story of someone sitting in that car. The car wouldn't start and everything around them was shrouded in darkness, except for these pools of light. Suddenly there was a strange fog spreading across the parking lot and an electricity in the air that the character could feel in their bones. They knew they had to get out of there. The story has morphed into something very different from where it began, involving otherworldly dimensions, god-like powers, and an indifferent hero. It's still percolating in the back of my mind and I honestly am not sure where it's going to end. But this was by far the oddest source of inspiration I've had.
My predecessor Sandra had a great answer to this question, and Michelle Hickman is all set to follow me tomorrow. Check 'em out; both are great sources of inspiration themselves.