Most of the ideas for my novels come from things I’ve been thinking about, things that I think are interesting, things I think are cool, and so on. A lot of times I’ll hear about something or read about something mysterious or unexplained, and my mind will start wandering and go to the “what if.”
The whole premise of Speculative Fiction is based on that “what if,” so I’m sure many other SpecFic authors have similar trains of thought. What if aliens invaded? What if we lived on spaceships? What if we went back in time?
My main novel, Dying for Dragons, is based on “what if dragons are real?” Another one I’m working on came from reading someone else’s novel where a character had been trapped for thousands of years and all it took was a few hours of TV for him to catch up on pop culture, and I couldn’t help thinking about how I would react to wake up in a completely different world, and so that’s what my character does.
Of course, even the greatest idea has to have some basis in reality if it’s to be plausible at all. You can’t have space travel without having some idea of life on a spaceship and the mechanics of it. Even if you break the rules, you have to have a general idea of what the rules are so you can break them in a plausible way. If you have werewolves or vampires, you have to give them flaws or have a pretty compelling reason why they haven’t taken over the world yet. And so, you have to do at least some research into your world in order to make it a world that people can get drawn into.
One of the greatest things about research is finding real-life occurrences that back up the premise you’ve already got. I recently came across two different resources that both pointed to the premise of the novel I’m currently working on. I had done tons of research into the subject matter already, mainly from a Christian perspective, and then without even trying, I happened upon these two sources, both of which are totally secular, that backed up my premise. One was my next door neighbor, who was reading a book that talked about it, and the other was a random Facebook friend who posted a random picture (the picture at the top of this page). Totally unrelated, both of these sources lend real-life credence to my fiction.
And no, I’m not going to tell you the premise I’m working from or how these resources backed it up, mainly because I’m still working on it and fitting it all in. But, I will be pitching this novel at the upcoming Realm Makers conference, so if I see you there, I’ll tell you all about it!