Inspiration is everywhere and for me, it comes from all kinds of places. Most recently the Houston Writers Guild called for submissions for a crime anthology they were publishing. When I heard this I just sat down and tried to think of any crime I personally have been involved in or knew about. My mind flashed to a time when I was about 19 years old. I was working at a fortune 500 oil company downtown in the computer operations department.
They switched me working the midnight shift. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be but I didn’t stay on that shift for long because news broke that there was some guy going around raping girls’ downtown, where the office building was. The first rape was not anywhere near the building but in time authorities figured out the one thing all of these girls had in common was they all worked at this company. So management scrambled around to issue new security protocols and switched off as many females on the midnight shift as they could. I got switched to say shift and never gave the incident another thought. So anyway, I used that story to write my submission for the crime anthology.
But I don’t always draw from real life. Sometimes I get inspired by other books I’ve read or a movie I’ve seen, a dream and I one time I even got inspired by a story from CSI. A girl overheard a murder in a hotel room. I only saw about the first five minutes of the episode but that was enough to give me a great idea for a new story about an FBI agent investigating a string of high-profile murders and a witness he wants to protect by not letting anyone know she saw anything in the first place.
When I do think of a new story idea what I do is type up everything I can think of about the story idea, the world, the characters, whatever comes to mind. I then save the document and file it away and then when I have more time or something else about the story comes to me, I open it back up and start writing away.
When I’m really ready to commit to a particular story I’ll think about it before I lay down. I’ll picture the whole story in my head, from scene to scene. Then when I have a scene that works, I’ll write down the details of what I’ve already played out in mind head.