One of the questions writers get asked quite often is ‘where do you get your ideas?’ I was asked while on a writing panel at a science fiction convention with Gene Wolfe, Tobias Becket and a few others.
This was a forum in which panelists sat at a buffet table in front of a room of audience members. Each of us had our answers – “I’m old, I use all my experiences”, “I use post-it-notes, they’re all over the house.”, author pulls one out of his pocket – “that way when I think of something I’m ready.”
During this panel, which was across the hall from the outdoor courtyard they were using an old oil drum to BBQ. Smoke drifted in dervish twirls, then puffed out obscuring the chef, but because of the building, no sound or smell came to us in the panel room.
When it got to my turn, at the end of the table. I made sure I had everyone’s attention before I asked – (pointedly staring out the door) “I wonder if they’re using sweet or spicy sauce on that kid they’re Bar B Queing out there?”
After the look of startlement died on their faces I smiled and said. “Got any ideas yet?”