Most people who know or meet a writer ask the same question at some time or another. Most writers have heard the question, and either welcome it or shake their head at it. There doesn't seem to be any middle ground to it, so we do our best to come up with an answer that sounds suitably literary or humorous, or sometimes actually have an answer because it was asked so specifically that it's a slam dunk.
"Where did you get the idea for [insert story here]?"
Generally speaking, the answer is usually the same, even if the specifics vary: something just clicked in our mind and we suddenly felt the urge to write about it. And sometimes, on the surface, the thing that clicked is so simplistic or so asinine that the person who asked the question leaves with serious concerns about our mental stability.
I'll admit, sometimes it seems like a valid concern. Here's one example.
I've wanted to do a "creature feature" for a while now. The classics have been done to death, and honestly, I just can't come up with a new idea for them, so things like vampires and werewolves and zombies are out, as are legendary things like mummies and Bigfoot, and even the Loch Ness Monster. So the idea went on the mental shelf with all the other things I'd like to write about at some point until such time as I could find my monster.
Well, I found it last night. And it grew out of a joke.
Wednesday nights are "friend nights" where we all gather and play whatever tabletop roleplaying game is up in the rotation. We just finished D&D, and now I'm running a horror-themed game (go figure). Last night, however, was just a chance to hang out and catch up. One of my friends is also trying his hand at writing, so naturally the conversation ended up going in that direction. He mentioned that once he accepted that he himself was from the south, and that his story and main character were southern, the story flowed better. Accept the southern roots, as it were. One aspect clicked in my head, too, but I didn't recognize it at the time.
I mentioned my desire for the creature feature, and we discussed that a bit. He mentioned how hilarious it would be if the killer was a giant hybrid catfish-man or something, barb moustache and all. We all laughed and moved on. Then I see the kids are watching some show on television about catfish and hear they can survive up to 30 minutes out of water. Then I discover that those fish you hear about swimming up into a man's... manhood... are part of the catfish family.
I can take a hint. Besides, what's more southern than catfish?
An idea clicked, so next up on my worktable, as soon as I finish Justicar, I'll be doing my creature feature. My own "B-Novel".
If you ever find yourself down south, beware. Mudcat lives!