Where do ideas come from? This seems to be a question that a lot of writers get. For me, the ideas are the easy part. I have dozens of ideas bouncing around in my head. The project that has consumed an amazing amount of my free time for the past nine months or so started as an idea I got at least a decade ago from a news story about a dog walker who found a dead body. I like to walk my dogs down by the river, and I got to thinking, "What if we found something like that?"
After shuddering at the thought of what my dogs would probably do with a decomposing body if they found it (based on what they do with dead squirrels, fish, muskrats and so forth--it involves rolling and bounding back to me with huge, doggy grins on their faces), I diverted myself by asking, "What if they found someone who wasn't quite dead? Would I be able to provide first aid? Would I be in cell phone coverage so I could call 911?" Then I got to thinking about how things might happen in a fantasy world. At some point, I made up a character in my head...a healing student with a dog.Of course, I had to ask myself where and why she was studying healing and why she had a dog in the first place.
Then I started to wonder about the person she found. Why was he there and what kind of person was he? Then the deranged little wheels really started spinning, and I came up with a really twisted back story, but it revolved around the concept of a good person who had done some terrible things and had essentially hit rock bottom when his past caught up with him. The nucleus of my tale was in place.
And I sat on it for almost ten years, along with all the other ideas I'd gotten. Why? I suppose it was form of cowardice. Because I knew that nothing I could write would ever come up to my own standards or would be as perfect as what was in my head.
I was right, of course, but forcing myself to put pen to paper (in a metaphoric sense) has still been an amazingly gratifying experience.