Where do ideas come from?

Where do ideas come from? Anywhere and everywhere.
A couple of days ago when I was driving home from Auckland story ideas began racing around inside my head. For almost half the journey I followed a late model Mercedes convertible. Now I don’t know much about cars but the twin exhaust, fat tyres and V12 prominently displayed on its rear suggested to me this was indeed a gutsy little sports model. What struck me as being so odd was that I was sitting right on its tail, driving a 15 year old Toyota Hiace van, for almost 3 hours. I wondered who was driving this vehicle in such a sedate manner? The opaque rear window and high seat backs blocked my view. While the road is often windy, I never caught a glimpse of the driver.
I decided it must be a woman. What guy would drive a car like this just below the speed limit, reduce to the exact speed directed at numerous road works, never drift a little across the centre line, even when visibility was hundreds of metres ahead? No, it had to be a woman. Then my imagination took off. I decided she never owned the car, mainly because if I owned a car like that, I’d be driving it a little more adventurously. If she wasn’t adventurous why would she fork out big money to buy such a car?
So who did own it? Was it her father, her brother, her lover? Her sugar daddy, a stranger, her significant other? Who had lent it to her and why? Had she stolen it? Was she driving so sedately because she was on the run, scared of attracting the attention of police?
Other people may have just applauded the care and responsibility of this driver but hey, I’m a writer. I couldn’t settle for something so inane and uninspired. For three hours I dreamed up scenarios to fit that little green car. My mind wavered between her having committed an horrendous murder to being subjected to an abusive relationship to being a runaway bride. I imagined owners for the car, from old and fat sugar daddy to handsome and successful businessman. What had caused her to steal the car and run away?
Could I use any of these thoughts in my WIP? Possibly not, they seem a long way from the “sweet” genre. The picture was a million miles from my current heroine so alas, they’ve been jotted down in my notebook of ideas and put away. Maybe I’ll never use them, but who knows? When you see something that spurs your interest, go with it, let your imagination roll, release the muse inside you. Don’t block it out if it doesn’t fit your current work, take down some notes and file it away for another story. I believe allowing the thoughts to flow when your muse strikes is very important.
Enjoy dreaming up exciting scenarios.
By the way – the Mercedes stopped in Raetihi and I spied the driver. I was very surprised to see it was a young man. All my great and exciting theories about the mystery woman driver where blown away in that moment but I sailed on realising that the equation – ‘young man’ plus ‘powerful car’ does not always equal ‘idiot’. A very encouraging thought.

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