Another common question I get asked is where I come up with the ideas for what I write. A few of my stories are loosely based on my life, but even more have nothing to do with it. Photographs that talk, an obsessive girl chasing down her missing ex, a private island the hero can disappear to at will... Those are not my life stories.
I love writing. I love creating new worlds where people don't have to live by the rules I do. It's the best feeling when an idea clicks with a plot, and I can see exactly how the story will turn out.
There is no way I could have one answer for this question. For my short story ever, "Picture Nightmares," I came up with the idea while brushing my teeth one night. My most recent short story idea sparked from a series of Instagram polls I had my followers vote on. They chose the character's gender, home, family life, personality... So it was easy to create a story around her. (Keep an eye out for that story coming out soon.;))
There are those that come from personal experiences, whether from my life or someone's close to me. This can get tricky, because I don't want my friends to feel like I'm exploiting them or preaching at them. So I try to change things so drastically that even they can't tell it's the same situation.
Most of the time, I would say my ideas come from some focused thinking about, "What if?" What if someone became deaf and could only hear one other person's voice? What if someone needed to cross her bucket list out in a summer? What if my main character is a villain?
A lot of what ifs, and not all of them work. So I have to ask it often. Sometimes the question will just be an interesting discussion topic with my husband, but other times, it sticks and becomes a full story. Either way, what ifs are fun to think about.
And finally, I always want to have a moral to the story. Some books are fun to read just for the sake of reading, but I like to learn something and feel that conclusion when it ends. So yes, my protagonist gets glasses that make her feel more positive and alive, but what does that mean to us? How do we become better people from reading this?
I know this wasn't one answer, but it's simple. We meet so many people who have crazy stories, and all we have to do is take them and change them into something unique and fascinating. And I think the #1 thing to do when you want to be a writer is to ask questions. Why do certain things work one way? How could they be different? Where would be a good setting for a story? Who could handle this problem? And what if this idea were possible?
Keep asking, keep running your ideas past people, and most importantly, keep writing!