This was original going to be a post on a different blog, but that one appears to have fallen through. So I'll just keep the idea to myself.
Authors get asked where their ideas come from all the time. I've been told I'm so creative, and asked how I come up with my stories. If we were still a more spiritual or heathen society, I could easily say from the Muses, or that I'm just channeling the story of the universe.
But we can't really claim that unseen spirits inspire us, can we?
Ethereal voices might be easier for some people to understand, though. Because authors' inspirations come from everywhere; song lyrics, movies, overheard conversations, vivid imaginations. Anything can spark that moment of creativity, and send us careening down a potential story line. I'm especially prone to random moments of creativity.
Dreams are one of my most common sources for writing material. I have very vivid dreams, and they're quite often surreal, and usually pretty adventurous. Most of them are too weird in the way dreams can be, and don't transalate well to stories. But they serve as a starting point, and get the storytelling juices flowing. But that's not the only prompts I get.
Sometimes it's an obvious prompt. Like the movie Legion making me wonder where Lucifer was. With a title like that, I expected the first angel to be protecting his baby. What would another war be like, and how would he protect the Antichrist?
Other times, it's something more obscure. Like typing up role-playing rules for psionicists and finally clicking with a character. Going from "these powers are cool" to planning out five novels for Keila to endure.
In the end, a lot of it becomes a game of what if. What if Keil had all these cool powers, but was alone? What if she had the self-confidence and strength from her gifts, but were out of her elements? What if an elf came to Earth and became a drug addict? What if a dragon hunter underestimated a dragon's skills?
And it keeps going from there. It's really kind of crazy, when you look at it. Crazy, but undeniably fun. Awesome too, because no one really knows where the next idea is coming from.