Where Do You Get Your Ideas?

Where do you get your ideas?
Every writer has heard that question, usually asked by a non-writer.
I get my ideas from everywhere and every where.
The ideas are right there in front of me. In the newspaper. On a television program. In a movie. Something will trigger a “What if–?” in my brain and I’m off.
It’s like this:
We have a pond on the property. Frogs are “talking” constantly but in the spring there are “peepers” peeping. And sometimes it sounds as if there’s a conversation happening nearby, there’s just so much nature noises.
Enter the “What if–” What if those sounds aren’t nature? What if those sounds mean something else? What if someone thinks it’s a conversation and takes it seriously?
That was the beginning of my short story, The Pond.
I’ve been interested in the American Civil War for years. My short story, Southern Hospitality, started with a What if a Union soldier near the end of the war finds a Southern plantation and its female occupants looking as if a war had never happened? How did they survive when others starved?
Books seem to begin the same way but with a less clear view of where I’m headed. I’m not a plotter; I’m a pantser. I just write and let the characters tell me where we’re all going.
The Guardian Prophecy started with a single idea. I’d learned that “The Big Bad Wolf” of folklore never really existed and that they’d received a bad reputation over the centuries. Wolves are not killing machines and are more afraid of man then lusting after a taste. Yes, they take down deer and elk, usually the sick and the old in the herd, helping to maintain a balance. I learned that the most deadly predator in the woods walks on two legs, not four.
So, here comes the What if–
What if we were wrong about wolves, could we also have been wrong about werewolves?
Do werewolves kill for no reason?
Do werewolves only appear during a full moon?
Can werewolves only be killed with a silver bullet–if at all?
What if the werewolf was also a protector, a guardian like the werewolves in the legend of Ossory, Ireland.
And just who would the werewolf be guarding?
I added all of that to a scene I’d long had of a Lenape woman deciding it was her time to die and the center of The Guardian Prophecy was formed.
Oh, dear.
I just saw the vine that’s threatening to take over our deck.
Wait a minute!
What if–

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