Have you ever read a great book and asked, “How did the author think of that?”
The funny thing about that question is that there are as many answers as there are scenes written by authors. Every flash of inspiration comes from a different source–a snippet of conversation you overhear in a restaurant, a visceral reaction you have to a photo or an ad you see, or the what-if question you ask when you read a headline in a newspaper.
Sometimes, once you open yourself up to inspiration, you can barely shut it off. The dialogue, scene ideas, and exposition can overwhelm your brain.
That is why I typically watch TV while I fall asleep. It is much easier to shut my brain down when I’m hearing familiar dialogue from a favorite sitcom than when I’m surrounded by nothing but silence and snoring.
Readers, what was the last book you read that made you ask how the author could possibly have come up with that chain of events?
Writers, what led to your most recent stroke of inspiration? And, how do you flip the inspiration switch?