My editor over at R.A.B. thought that some of you might like to know where my ideas come from. I try to be all cool in my emails, but my first thought was, "Fuck. Do people really want to know the crazy shit rattling around in my head?"
I decided to consult my friend, Dawn, about this. Did she care about what I thought? Did she think people would want to know the inner workings of my twisted little brain? I was surprised by her reaction. Dawn was all like, "Well, yeah. Readers will want to know this stuff. Why would you even ask?" (which isn't exactly what she said, but I know she thinks I am half-stupid sometimes. I've known her long enough to put words in her virtual mouth concerning this. I may or may not get a cyber kick for it.)
I've been trying to figure out where my ideas come from. If I must be perfectly honest - I don't know. One day I could be shopping and see a woman reach into the cooler for milk. Out of the blue a vision would pop in my head of a dead hand grabbing hers, dragging her into a dairy filled death. Gives new meaning to that ice cream, Death By Chocolate, doesn't it?
Stephen King once mentioned in a letter to readers that his brain was like a sieve that caught weird shit. He would kick around in it and cherry pick the nastiest bits. That's the best description I have ever read for people like me who write about the scaries.
I wrote about why I have this fascination with zombies. Because of that movie I'm also freakishly obsessed with eye safety. Remember the woman in the movie I mentioned who was impaled through her eye on a nail? YEAH, no. That is the one scene I have carried with startling clarity through my entire life.
Writers of all types have a system, whether they are aware of it or not. When a writer writes a story or an article, they will often find a different spin that they can use for another article. Writing about GMOs? Once the article is finished it might inspire the writer to work on another about heirloom seeds. This leads to an article about old fashioned farming methods which can lead to an article on how new farmers are using old methods to be organic/green.
See? Only for those of us with creepy imaginations, one of those freelance articles might inspire a story or novel about how the GMOs cause people to morph into flesh eating mutants. Those mutants eat only pure humans, sort of a Monsato induced-zombie. The only cure? Eating organic, non-GMO foods...but wait. Pollen spreads, so everything has been infected and suddenly you find yourself drooling over the thought of Leg of Grandma.
Everything in life has a kernel of horror in it. Some of us don't need to seek it out, that kernel finds us. I recently had a nightmare with one of the most horrible scenes I've seen - in movies, books, or my own dreams. My husband and I were moving a large mirror (which, we had actually done earlier in the day) and it shattered in the dream. Huge shards of glass impaled my husband through his throat and chest, all the way through his back. Small pieces had sprayed into my face, becoming caught in my lips and mouth. As I tried to remove my own, the dream husband began pulling these sword-like shards from his own body, slicing his body apart in the process.
It still makes my stomach tighten to think of it. That is why I have held on to that, I just know it will make a perfect horror scene in one of my books. Altered, of course. If it scares you to write a scene, if it causes you to feel physically ill, to cringe when you re-read that scene...you're doing your job. In the end, it doesn't matter where your ideas come from, only that you use them.
(Unless you're stealing ideas. Then that shit is wrong. Write your own stories! Also, don't write from personal experience if you're some sort of serial killer or psycho.)