I have far more ideas for stories written in my notebook than I will ever have time to write. Some are favorites for me to think about as I fall asleep or as I'm driving. I've tried to bring them into being a few times but so far it's not worked. They're fun but dont have enough conflict to move a story. The characters are my playmates, like the imaginary friends we have as children. Inspiration comes from many places, anything that raises a question of why, who, what, where, or how. It could be a snippet of song or a glimpse of an image from a movie, TV program, or an interesting or beautiful photograph. I usually say that music is my biggest inspiration because most of my ideas come from songs.
But not always. Once, while on vacation, I noted four boys crossing the street and something about them caught my attention--they were all dressed in white, but not in a uniform way. The image was incorporated into a story a few months later. Another story and character came from a T-shirt on someone walking across a bridge. It became a hobby to find a t-shirt for every occasion for that character.
I try to make a note of things that catch my attention for whatever reason. I never know when they might come in handy.The inspiration for my current work in progress came from the punchline of a joke: You're special just like everyone else. I wondered what would happen if young supernatural creatures, feeling alone and different, met other types of creatures feeling the same.
It's morphed into a story totally different from how it started. The original main character had no real arc other than dealing with his parents. Eventually, I changed the main character and made him older, which allowed a more interesting story arc. I kept my notes from the first version, however. Who knows when those ideas may be needed.