This might be one of the most common questions writers get, swiftly followed by “Oh my god, you should totally write a book about me! My life is crazy!”
Where do ideas come from anyway? Sometimes they come from careful planning, and sometimes they just happen. To illustrate how random these moments can be, I wanted to share where some of my ideas have come from for my own work. First up in this series? My new novel, Home.
In this novel, a man named Matt is driving home along a forested highway. He drives past a sign that says, “Life is short. Eternity is not. –God” and at first, he doesn’t think anything of it…until he drives by it again. And again. And again. It’s up to Matt to then figure out why he’s stuck in this purgatory and, left with his own thoughts, he’s forced to consider some of his decisions that have led him to this point in his life.
So how did I come up with this? Easy–I drove home!
I used to live a little ways out of town and in order to get home, I had to drive along a highway with thick trees on either side of the road. One day, I drove home as the sun began to set behind the trees, and BAM! The idea of getting stuck on the highway in a loop just struck me. I thought about it as I drove, and I wondered how I’d be able to tell. Obviously, there needed to be a marker (such as a sign) that would indicate repetition. I’d just seen the sign for a local church that often has funny sayings on it (“God doesn’t watch football but the sign guy does–go 49ers!”) so the idea for the sign began to formulate in my head. I couldn’t say why exactly, but from there I saw a man in his early 30’s driving a pickup truck past a God sign over and over and over again.
Who knew that a simple drive home, a drive I’d made countless times over the years, could suddenly inspire a book? I can’t say why the idea hit me the way it did, but that’s where it came from. You never know when an idea will hit!
What inspired your latest project? Let me know in the comments!
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