Where do you get your ideas?

If you are a writer you have heard this question. I used to struggle with answering it. Ideas for stories are a dime a dozen. They are all around you, and even more so, they are so prevalent within you, they overflow, right out of you into a page.

Then one day I was talking with my mom about my son and his insatiable curiosity. From the moment he wakes up in the morning to the moment he falls asleep at night, he is full of questions. Some of them are reasonable. Why do I have to go to bed? Are we going to the park today? Can I have a cookie?

Some of them make no sense. Will the electricity come out of the outlet and chase me? If I fly up to the roof will I find an elephant up there?

It be exhausting answering these questions all day. My mom commiserated. When I was the age my son is now, I was full of questions too. Many of mine started with “What if…?”

What if there is a tiger under my bed? What if a unicorn came out of the TV into the living room? What if all my socks disappeared? What if our house had no windows? What if a monster is waiting in my closet?

It dawned on me then. At the heart of every idea is this question that I have been asking since I was three years old.

What if?

What if a nomad encountered a singing cat? What if someone inadvertently cut a hole into a hell realm? What if a spoiled selfish princess was the only person who could save her kingdom?

It all starts there. A spark of an idea and a question of what would happen if it came to be.

It’s so simple. A natural curiosity. An urge to work out a solution for improbable situations. What if?

So where do you get your ideas?

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