That’s the classic question asked of writers, so classic it’s the subject of numerous jokes. (There’s this mail order house in New Jersey — send ’em 10 bucks and they’ll send you this week’s list of ideas.)
The trick isn’t finding ideas. I had a great one only this morning, while reading one of my Christmas presents, Jane Mayer’s The Dark Side. A novel-length idea, complete with core plot and leading characters. And no, my idea doesn’t involve a thinly fictionalized story of torture and other outrageous actions by the Bush administration; it hares off in a science fictional direction based on one sentence in the book.
I’m not going to tell you about it now; you’ll see it if I’m able to pull it off. Because having a good idea isn’t the trick; people have good ideas all the time. It’s what you do with it that matters.
The idea for the flash fiction I have up on Book View Cafe today, “Alert,” came from the emergency warnings sent out by the Washington, D.C., government on such things as bad weather, water main breaks, nightmare traffic jams, and terrorist threats. Continue reading